OKLAHOMA CITY – Several attorneys general around the country are fighting against a bill that would ban M855 ammunition from being sold.
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has joined 22 other state attorneys general to urge the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to stop a proposed ban on M855 ammunition.
“The ATF’s ammo ban is less about safety and more about imposing the administration’s anti-gun agenda. In Oklahoma, we have a profound and deep respect for the Constitution in general and the Second Amendment in particular,” Pruitt said.
The proposed legislation, called the Modernize Law Enforcement Protection Act, would require the U.S. attorney general to modify the definition of armor-piercing ammo to make it illegal in the United States.
M855 is used in assault rifles, which are referred to as modern sporting rifles by the gun industry because they can be used in hunting.
In 1986, President Ronald Reagan exempted them from a ban on armor-piercing ammo that has been in effect since 1968.
That exemption was based largely on the fact that the M855 ammo couldn’t be used in handguns.
In February, the ATF announced a proposal to lift the M855’s exemption, which would list it under the 1968 ban.
After thousands of negative responses, the ATF backed away from the proposal.
“The ATF’s decision to cave to the gun lobby and allow life threatening armor-piercing bullets to remain on the streets is not only reckless, but cowardly,” Steve Israel, a co-sponsor of the act said in a statement. “This legislation is an important step to protect law enforcement from ammunition that may penetrate body armor.”
The act would ban M855 because it can pierce through a police officer’s body armor.
However, critics say it is unnecessary.
“We, as much as anyone, want to do the utmost to ensure that our brave men and women that serve in law enforcement are safe. The proposed ATF ban on M855 5.56 ammunition, however, does not advance that goal. Instead, it threatens Second Amendment freedoms and deprives shooting sports enthusiasts of a popular cartridge for a popular rifle,” a letter by the attorneys generals said. “As law enforcement organizations such as the Fraternal Order of Police have recently described, the 5.56 M855 cartridge does not pose a particular threat to law enforcement. Indeed, we are aware of no examples in our states in which this round has been used against law enforcement in a concealed weapon.”