2015 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Watson, McDaniel, Burton, Hill, Sojourner, Gandy, Jackson (15th), Lee, Montgomery, Massey, Harkins, Tindell, Parker, Moran, Carmichael, Hudson, Ward
A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION URGING THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS TO TAKE IMMEDIATE LEGISLATIVE ACTION TO PREVENT THE BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO AND FIREARMS FROM BANNING COMMON RIFLE AMMUNITION AND TO AFFIRM THAT MISSISSIPPI LAW WILL CONTROL THE DEFINITION OF ARMOR-PIERCING AMMUNITION.
WHEREAS, the State of Mississippi is aware of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) recent actions to restrict importation of 5.45 x 39 ammunition. These actions are based on ATF's determination that the availability of a handgun in this caliber triggers so-called "armor-piercing" ammunition provisions of federal law, which generally prohibit manufacture and importation. This controversial new move by the ATF is to ban further production and sale of some very common rifle ammunition by classifying it as "armor piercing," which by statutory definition it is not; and
WHEREAS, the law at the basis of this debate is the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA). As amended, the GCA prohibits the import, manufacture and distribution of "armor-piercing ammunition" as defined by a few terms Attorney General Eric Holder's Department of Justice (DOJ) is attempting to broaden. The definition for what constitutes "armor piercing" reads: "a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium." However, the M855 ball ammunition the ATF wants to ban as "armor piercing" doesn't have a core made of the metals listed in what legally makes a bullet "armor piercing." The M855 actually has a lead core with a steel tip. Also, the M855 is traditionally a rifle cartridge and the ban only covers handgun ammunition; and
WHEREAS, the ATF allows a "sporting exemption" for certain ammo that would otherwise be legally considered armor piercing, but they are withdrawing that exemption for the M855; and
WHEREAS, the State of Mississippi strongly disagrees with ATF's view of this matter, and we are asking Congress for clarity on ATF's widely varying approach to this issue. We are requesting members of Congress to draft legislation to simplify the underlying federal statute and remove ATF's broad discretion in this area; and
WHEREAS, this situation illustrates how freedom and the rule of law are imperiled when government bureaucrats are given free authority over constitutionally protected conduct:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby urge the United States Congress to take immediate legislative action to prevent the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) from banning common rifle ammunition and to affirm that Mississippi law will control the definition of "armor-piercing ammunition" used in rifles.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be transmitted to the members of Mississippi's congressional delegation, the President of the United States and the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, and be made available to the Capitol Press Corps.