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ATF bans more ammo.

(PHOENIX, AZ April 10) The BATF has declared that Russian 7N6, 5.45x39 rifle ammunition is "armor piercing handgun ammunition," and therefore illegal for importation into the USA. The ammunition, designed for the AK74, has been widely available--and relatively affordable--for decades. As has happened previously with rifle calibers, the "handgun ammunition" label arises from a company manufacturing a short-barreled, removable-stock model of a rifle that is technically labeled as a pistol.

Since this "pistol" is chambered in 5.45x39, that cartridge has been ruled to be included under the definition "may be used in a handgun," resulting in the 7N6 ammo, with its steel core, being forbidden for importation, sale, or manufacture in the USA under provisions added to the Gun Control Act in 1986.

This ruling is particularly significant to us because the law it is based on was at the heart of the creation of our organization, The. Firearms .Coalition. Back in 1982, an NBC News Magazine stirred up a huge controversy over KTW ammo which led to the whole, bogus "Cop Killer Bullet" hysteria--even though the ammo had been on the market since the 1960s and had never been used to kill a police officer by penetrating his vest.

By 1984, pressure was on in Washington to ban these bullets, which had almost never been used in crime, and wouldn't have even been known about by most criminals had it not been for the exaggerations in the media. Various proposals were introduced in Congress and the momentum for passage of one of them was very strong.

While the NRA was reporting to their members that they were strongly opposing all of this legislation--and calling for donations to help them fight it--they were in fact working with elements in Congress to develop language that they believed gun owners "could live with." My father, Neal Knox, was adamantly opposed to any legislation suggesting that some bullets are too dangerous for responsible Americans to possess. He was also outraged at the duplicity of NRA leadership for the way they were misleading their members about their position. Dad had been fired as NRA's chief lobbyist just two years earlier and the tensions between him and his former employer were high.

In these pre-Internet days, keeping gun owners informed about pending legislation was much more difficult. Then, as now, the primary source for firearm-related legislative news was the NRA, but their main outlet, the American Rifleman magazine, had an almost 3-month lead time; much too long to keep concerned citizens abreast of fast-moving congressional actions. The weekly newspaper that Dad helped to create in 1966, Gun Week, was timelier, but had limited circulation.

In response to the situation, Dad put together a list of gun rights leaders and activists around the country, and on July 4, 1984 he launched The Firearms Coalition with the first edition of his newsletter, the Hard Corps Report, informing people of what was really going on and inviting them to join The Coalition.

The mission of the new organization was to keep activists informed about what NRA and Congress were really up to, and urge them to lobby their elected representatives--and the NRA. For the next two years, he led the fight to stop the banning of hard metal bullets; pointing out that we had previously fought against attempts to ban bullets that opponents said were too soft, and that any ban would have no effect on criminals or police safety, but would interfere with, and potentially make criminals of, regular gun owners.

In the end a ban on the manufacture, sale, and importation of handgun ammunition made from several specific, harder metals, was passed with the NRA's blessing, and signed into law by President Reagan. The NRA assured its members that their definition had so watered-down the law that it would make no difference to regular gun owners, but Dad warned that the language adopted left the door open for future expansion of the ban, potentially covering military surplus and certain types of hunting and target ammo.

That prediction has proven accurate. Today, even as anti-hunting and "environmental" groups are howling for bans on traditional lead bullets, ATF is redefining rifle ammunition as handgun ammo based on a few chopped-down or built up firearms that are handguns only by technicality.

Specialized, solid brass hunting and target bullets have been banned along with inexpensive, military surplus products like 7N6. The fact that armor-piercing ammunition has never been a significant factor in crime makes no difference to the anti-gunners. Neither does the fact that virtually any rifle round will easily penetrate standard police body armor, regardless of bullet construction.

Legislation based on little knowledge and lots of hype results in bad laws, infringement of rights, and criminalization of non-criminal behavior.

As we at The Firearms Coalition prepare our 30th anniversary edition of the Hard Corps Report, we look back and acknowledge once again that, as usual, Dad was right.
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Title Annotation:THE KNOX UPDATE: From The Firearms Coalition
Author:Knox, Jeff
Publication:Shotgun News
Date:May 20, 2014
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