The ATF does not have the legal right to ban AR-15 ammo

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right or below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

The law is such an inconvenient thing: The Obama administration’s attempt to ban from public sale the most popular ammo used with AR-15 rifles is not based on any law on the books.

Even though the ATF currently claims that the round was always covered under the 1986 law defining armor-piercing ammunition and that the agency only temporarily exempted it from regulation and prohibition, that is also false. ATF never had that authority. It was the clear language of the statute, not the ATF’s good graces, that excluded M885 ammo from its definition. The ATF didn’t have the authority then, and the Obama administration doesn’t have the authority now, to ban this ammunition. It is a lawless power grab that should be treated as such by each court that is given an opportunity to review it.

The author does a careful analysis of the actual law, and finds the Obama administration in clear violation of it.



  • PeterF

    Of course they have the authority to ban ammunition!
    Because: a) the emperor has a pen
    and b) the emperor has a phone
    The ATF is merely acting in another move to extend the emperor’s control over the levers of power whether or not he has expressed his desire to do so. There will be no “smoking gun”.
    Besides, what recourse is there to oppose the emperor if the emperor cannot be impeached or defunded?

  • Max

    We did a wait and see and now we know the results… Something like 30,000 emails of hate and discontent did a nice job of changing their mind before it was too late. The order has officially been rescinded… for now.

    (they were actually surprised of how few supporters they had)

  • Edward

    Obama never put much store in the law. He ignores the inconvenient laws and enforces convenient laws (those that reward his friends or punish his enemies) and pretends that other laws exist or existing laws let him do whatever he wants to do.

    Despite his prestigious position on the Harvard Law Review, there is hardly any evidence that he has ever read a law. He seems to know about the US Constitution, however, as he has referenced it as a charter of negative liberties. Who is it negative for? Obama and his method of governance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *