April 13, 2014
On Monday, BATFE issued a “special advisory” indicating the agency’s official position on 5.45×39 7N6 ammunition. The advisory states that “the ammunition is ‘armor piercing’ under [federal law] and is therefore not importable.” We previously reported on our efforts to determine BATFE’s official position on this issue.
Notably absent from the advisory is any mention of the “sporting purposes” exemption provided for in the federal armor piercing ammunition law. The law gives the Attorney General discretion to exempt certain projectiles from being considered armor piercing ammunition. This exemption already applies to 5.56×45 M855 and .30-06 M2AP ammunition. NRA has repeatedly encouraged BATFE to rule that projectiles originally made for rifles and any projectile not designed and intended to penetrate armor when fired from a handgun are exempt from the federal armor piercing ammunition law. Just last year, we sent comments to BATFE that explained how Congress intended for the armor piercing ammunition law to cover a very limited class of projectiles and provided BATFE with guidance on granting “sporting purposes” exemptions to projectiles.
NRA is also working with members of Congress to get more answers from BATFE on how the agency determines if a projectile is “armor piercing ammunition.” The efforts include inquiries as to whether BATFE considers 7N6 ammunition, which has been widely used as an affordable alternative for target shooting and rifle training, a candidate for a “sporting purposes” exemption. Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), and Howard Coble (R-N.C.) have already sent a letter to BATFE Director B. Todd Jones encouraging him to act on other outstanding petitions for “sporting purposes” exemptions.