A popular Russian-made ammunition called “7N6” could soon disappear from the shelves of American stores thanks to action by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATF).
Widespread reports about the ammo move have even prompted a US Congressman to launch an inquiry.
“I am troubled that such a reliable, cost-effective, and popular choice, such as the ‘7N6’ offering of the 5.45 x 39 cartridge would be banned for import by the BATFE after years of trouble-free import and use,” U.S. Representative Matt Salmon (R-Arizona) wrote in a letter to the bureau’s director. “Furthermore, I am concerned that decisions such as these pertaining to a popular choice of ammunition that Americans have chosen to purchase and use are being made as a matter of bureaucratic policy.”
Salmon’s letter was prompted by reports that some ammunition dealers had paperwork to import 7N6 cartridges from Russia put on hold by the BATFE in late March. Even though it is widely used for sporting and target shooting in the US, 7N6 ammunition is actually manufactured for military use in Russia.
Popular Ammo Could Be Banned As ‘Armor Piercing’
The BATFE might be delaying the paperwork because it considers 7N6 ammunition armor piercing, the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action reported. It is illegal to sell armor-piercing ammunition under federal law.
The NRA issued a Freedom of Information Act request to determine if the reports are true. The association also prompted Rep. Salmon to make his official inquiry. The NRA is encouraging its members to complain to Congress.
“We encourage you to contact your representatives in Congress and ask them to urge BATFE to reconsider its classification of 7N6 as armor piercing ammunition or to grant 7N6 a ‘sporting purposes’ exemption, as it has been imported and safely used for lawful purposes for many years,” an NRA press release stated.
The law at issue gives federal official too much latitude, the NRA said.
“NRA strongly disagrees with BATFE’s view of this matter, and we have long sought clarity on BATFE’s widely-varying approach to this issue,” NRA said. “We have attended meetings with BATFE, submitted written comments, and issued FOIA requests, all in an attempt to better understand the process by which BATFE exercises its considerable discretion under this broadly-worded federal law. We have also worked with members of Congress to draft legislation to simplify the underlying federal statute and remove BATFE’s broad discretion in this area.
“If this situation illustrates anything, it is how freedom and the rule of law are imperiled when government bureaucrats are given free reign over constitutionally-protected conduct.”