Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Worth a Laugh: ATF 7n6 5.45X39 Official Statement

We have seen a lot of talk concerning the latest ruling from the ATF regarding 7N6 5.45X39 ammunition. The official explanations are always so much more funny than speculations and communal discussions. We have provided the ATF's official statement on the matter below for those of you who haven't had a chance to have a good laugh for the day. If you don't like reading, the essential statement can be summed up as,"It may take us 3 years to solve an algebra problem piecing together legalities, ammo, and random imported firearms. While you may find the punchline quite funny, in the end the joke is on you." Clearly the A is for Arbitrary. 


On March 5, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) received a  request from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) to conduct a test, examination and classification of Russian-made 7N6 5.45x39 ammunition for purposes of determining whether it is considered  “armor piercing ammunition” as defined by the Gun Control Act (GCA), as amended. Since 1986, the GCA has prohibited the importation of armor piercing ammunition unless it is destined for government use or testing.  The imported ammunition about which CBP was inquiring was not destined for either excepted purpose.

The Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), as amended, defines the term “armor piercing ammunition” as:
“(i)      a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium; or
(ii)        a  full jacketed projectile larger than .22 caliber designed and intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile.”  (emphasis added) 
When ATF tested the 7N6 samples provided by CBP, they were found to contain a steel core.  ATF’s analysis also concluded that the ammunition could be used in a commercially available handgun, the Fabryka Bronie Radom, Model Onyks 89S, 5.45x39 caliber semi-automatic pistol, which was approved for importation into the United States in November 2011.  Accordingly, the ammunition is “armor piercing” under the section 921(a)(17)(B)(i) and is therefore not importable.  ATF’s determination applies only to the Russian-made 7N6 ammunition analyzed, not to all 5.45x39 ammunition.  Ammunition of that caliber using projectiles without a steel core would have to be independently examined to determine their importability.