Attorney General Ken Paxton joined 22 other state attorneys general are urging the Obama administration to permanently discard a proposed ban on M855 5.56 x 45mm ammunition. The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) had recently proposed the ban under the guise of police safety and then shelved regulating the ammunition after an overwhelming show off outrage.

“The right to keep and bear arms is guaranteed for all Americans and must be vigilantly protected and preserved,” said Attorney General Paxton. “I’m proud to be working with other attorneys general from across the U.S. to fight back against bureaucratic efforts to chip away at this fundamental, undisputable American right.”

The actions of the ATF would utilize a federal law imposed in 1986 prohibits the manufacture, importation, and sale by licensed manufacturers or importers, but not the possession, of “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.”

Though the rounds are mostly used in the popular AR-15, a small subset of handguns are also capable of firing M855, which would leave it liable for federal regulation as it “may be used in a handgun.” However, the M855 round does not even have a core made of the metals listed in the law; rather, it has a traditional lead core with a steel tip, and therefore should have never been considered “armor piercing” in the first place.

In an opposition letter submitted to the ATF, Paxton and the other attorneys general contend that the proposed ban is arbitrary, capricious, and could easily lead to bans on a wide range of rifle ammunition.

“We applaud your recent decision not to issue a final framework on this proposal, at least for now, and we strongly encourage you not to revive it,” the letter states. “We represent our respective states as each state’s Chief Law Enforcement Officer, and in that role we directly oversee or work directly with numerous federal, state, tribal, and local law enforcement agencies. 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.”

Paxton and the other attorneys general urged ATF “to reject this ill-advised proposal and uphold the Second Amendment rights of our citizens.”

The letter was signed by the attorneys general of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.

A copy of the letter is available for view here.

Cary Cheshire

Cary Cheshire is the executive director of Texans for Strong Borders, a no-compromise non-profit dedicated to restoring security and sovereignty to the citizens of the Lone Star State. For more information visit


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