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Legally Armed: V20N1

By Teresa G. Ficaretta, Esq. & Johanna Reeves, Esq.

In Vol. 19, No. 8, the authors published an article titled “ATF’s Proposed Framework for Armor Piercing Ammunition Exemptions: What Happens Next.” The article gave an overview of a document published by ATF in February 2015 relating to armor piercing ammunition, the public reaction, and the agency’s possible next steps. In a portion of the article headed “Where Will ATF Go from Here?” we included the following statement:

Another important fact to consider is that ATF did not “ban” the M855 5.56x45mm cartridge. (SS109). Congress banned this round when it enacted the armor piercing ammunition restrictions in 1986, as the round is made with a steel core.

Following publication of the article we were contacted by ammunition experts who advise the above statement is inaccurate, as the core of the M855 cartridge contains both lead and steel. These experts believe that ATF incorrectly classified the M855 as “armor piercing ammunition” because the core is not made entirely of steel.

The authors did not intend to endorse ATF’s classification of the M855 cartridge as “armor piercing ammunition” and recognize there are important arguments that can be made concerning the composition of the core. Thus, we should have qualified the language in the article to make it clear it is ATF’s view, and not the author’s, that M855 ammunition fits within the statutory definition of “armor piercing ammunition.”

GCA Firearms Restrictions— Who Is a Prohibited Person?

Part I: 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(n), 922(g)(1)-(4)

The Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44, makes it unlawful for certain “prohibited persons” to possess, receive, ship, or transport any firearm or ammunition if there is a requisite connection with interstate or foreign commerce. These Federal firearms disabilities apply to 10 different categories of persons, some of which are defined by statute and some by regulation. It is essential for Federal firearms licensees (FFLs) to have a working knowledge of this area of the law to avoid transferring firearms or ammunition to prohibited persons and aiding and abetting a prohibited person in unlawfully possessing these items. Caution must be exercised...

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