The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’s (ATF) recently-declared and withdrawn intent to ban 5.56mm/.223-caliber ammunition is exactly why anti-commandeering legislation is so important. It’s also why we can’t rely on elected officials in Congress to protect our right to keep and bear arms.
After Republicans took over Congress in the last election, some gun rights supporters told us the 2nd Amendment Preservation Act didn’t need to get passed anytime soon. After all, if the gun control advocates couldn’t get any bills passed before the Democrats lost control of the Senate, there was no chance it would occur with the Republicans.
Those with such a mentality miss several important facts. One, SAPA is not intended to block merely unconstitutional federal laws, but any unconstitutional regulations, as well. Also, depending on the exact wording a state chooses to put into their SAPA version, the act could also apply to prior federal gun laws that have already affected our gun rights.
And lastly, federal law enforcement agencies don’t need new laws to violate our rights; the federal acts that created them also gave them the license to develop their own regulations.
That is exactly what the ATF is doing, in an obvious attempt to restrict our right to keep and bear arms through unconstitutional regulations. They are not looking to enforce a law passed by Congress, and even if they were, the Second Amendment expressly forbids this.
What makes this proposed ban particularly insidious is that the 5.56mm/.223-caliber ammunition, commonly used for sporting, is the most popular cartridge for the AR-15, a rifle that has been the focus of attack by gun control advocates for several years. Efforts to pass a federal ban on this semi-automatic rifle, however, have failed miserably.
Since they can’t control our access to firearms, and shoving them through Congress proved to be a futile endeavor, gun grabbers are trying to do the next best thing: Take away the ammunition necessary to operate the rifle itself.
States with SAPA, however, would either prohibit state law enforcement officers from assisting the feds in enforcing the ammunition sale ban, or it would allow the manufacturer to create and sell the cartridge as long as it operated entirely within the state. Enough states with these laws would render the regulation toothless.
We cannot, nor should we, wait until the “wrong” people get elected to office before pushing for these bills. Our opponents are not just elected federal officials, but any federal employee who has the ability to infringe on our right to keep and bear arms.
As President Jackson remarked during his farewell address in 1837, “But you must remember, my fellow-citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing.”
Please take action today.