Miss. Senators Slam ATF Attempt To Limit Sporting Ammunition

Wicker, Cochran in Senate Majority Critical of Obama Administration Regulatory Affront on Second Amendment Rights

March 10, 2015

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Thad Cochran, R-Miss., today joined a majority of their colleagues in outlining why existing law should not allow the Obama administration to move forward with a new regulatory proposal to severely limit access to ammunition primarily used for sporting purposes.

Wicker and Cochran are among 51 signatories on a letter authored by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which questions the authority of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to establish a regulatory framework that would limit access to certain types of sporting ammunition.  The letter to ATF Director Todd Jones also expresses concern for the effect the proposal would have on Second Amendment rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.

“Nearly two years ago, we successfully defeated the White House’s plan to chip away at Second Amendment rights,” Wicker said. “It is clear that the Administration is now attempting to use the regulatory process to achieve its objective. This harmful regulation goes beyond anything authorized by the law and imposes unfair restrictions on gun owners. The ATF should desert its ammunition ban proposal immediately. I expect Congress to act if the agency fails to do so.”

“Every indication is that the ATF is barking up the wrong tree with this proposed regulation, which could have many unintended consequences for law-abiding gun owners.  It is an effort that should be abandoned for its blatant disregard for a long-standing law,” said Cochran, who raised his concerns about the rule with ATF last month.

The letter asserts that the AFT proposal is in defiance of the 1986 Law Enforcement Officer Protection Act that specifically exempts ammunition for sporting purposes from prohibition. The ATF plan would set arbitrary guidelines for determining whether certain ammunition meets the 1986 law’s “sporting purposes” exemption.  As a result, access to rifle ammunition long considered to be primarily used for activities such as target shooting and hunting could be limited.

“Second Amendment rights require not only access to firearms but to bullets.   If law-abiding gun owners cannot obtain rifle ammunition, or face substantial difficulty in finding ammunition available and at reasonable prices because government entities are banning such ammunition, then the Second Amendment is at risk,” the Senators wrote.

In addition to Wicker and Cochran, other Senators signing the Grassley letter include Mike Rounds (R-S.D.); John Thune (R-S.D.); Cory Gardner (R-Colo.); Tom Cotton (R-Ark.); John Hoeven (R-N.D.); Joni Ernst (R-Iowa); David Vitter (R-La); Michael Crapo (R-Idaho); Jerry Moran (R-Kan.); David Perdue (R-Ga.); James Risch (R-Idaho); John Isakson (R-Ga.); Steve Daines (R-Mont.); Dean Heller (R-Nev.); Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.); Richard Burr (R-N.C.); Roy Blunt (R-Mo.); Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.); Bill Cassidy (R-La.); John Boozman (R-Ark.); Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.); Ted Cruz (R-Texas); Thom Tillis (R-N.C.); Orrin Hatch (R-Utah); Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.); James Lankford (R-Okla.); Richard Shelby (R-Ala.); Deb Fischer (R-Neb.); Shelley Capito (R-W. Va.); Pat Roberts (R-Kan.); Pat Toomey (R-Pa.); Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska); John Cornyn (R-Texas); Ron Johnson (R-Wis.); Michael Lee (R-Utah); John Barrasso (R-Wyo.); Marco Rubio (R- Fla.); Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.); Dan Coats (R-Ind.); Bob Corker (R-Tenn.); Tim Scott (R-S.C.); Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.); Ben Sasse (R-Neb.); Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.); Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.); Rand Paul (R-Ky.); John McCain (R-Ariz.); Rob Portman (R-Ohio); and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska).