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Senators: “Second Amendment rights require not only access to firearms but to bullets”

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 1.27.43 PMWASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) today joined a group of senators challenging the Obama Administration’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ (ATF) proposed ban on the M855 cartridge, an ammunition commonly used in the nation’s most popular rifle, the AR-15. This ammunition has been exempt under the 1986 Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act (LEOPA) due to the AR-15’s classification as “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes.” Now ATF is seeking to remove this exemption and make it unlawful to purchase the ammunition.

Charles Grassley
Charles Grassley

In the letter, led by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the senators detailed, “Earlier, ATF recognized the proper scope of LEOPA. ATF has always granted an exemption to the M855 5.56 x 45mm cartridge from the LEOPA ban because it recognized that this ammunition fell squarely within the ‘sporting purposes’ test. It did so because factually, as well as legally under the legislative language, such cartridges were and are widely used by millions of law-abiding gun owners for ‘sporting purposes.’ These cartridges are prevalent for one of the most commonly possessed rifles, the AR-15. Congress did not, and did not intend to, ban this form of ammunition.”

Joni Ernst
Joni Ernst

The senators added, “Second Amendment rights require not only access to firearms but to bullets. If law-abiding gun owners cannot obtain rifle ammunition, or face substantial difficulty in finding ammunition available and at reasonable prices because government entities are banning such ammunition, then the Second Amendment is at risk.”

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