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Proposed ammo ban empties shelves

JACKSON — When word began to spread about a proposed ban on a popular type of ammunition, the market responded faster than a speeding bullet.

“I think it was gone the day people heard about it,” Tim Sternberg of Dad’s Super Pawn in Gulfport said.

The buying spree resulted from a proposal by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms which would ban the sale of 5.56 caliber SS109 and M855 “green tip” ammunition commonly used in the modular AR-15 platform semi-automatic rifles.

Originally developed for military purposes and capable of penetrating body armor, the ammunition in question has been exempt from classification as armor piercing because it is primarily used and designed for rifles. Current armor penetrating regulations outlaw certain types of handgun ammunition, but it does not apply to rifle ammunition.

The BATF proposal explains that the firearm industry has now developed semi-automatic handguns designed to shoot what has been historically rifle ammunition. According to the BATF, that not only increases danger to law enforcement officers, it places “green tips” in the armor piercing category.

With its affordable price and popularity at shooting ranges, the supply disappeared. Sternberg said the 30-40 cases in his store sold within a week.

Jamey Ray at Van’s Sporting Goods and Deer Processing in Brandon witnessed a similar scenario.

“It only took a week once the word got out to sell what we sold,” Ray said. “We’re out now.”

And he does not expect to receive any soon.

“There is no distribution of it right now,” Ray said.

With that source of ammunition depleted, the demand for other 5.56 ammunition and its civilian counterpart, the .223 Remington, has also escalated.

“It’s still going fast,” Sternberg said. “It’s flying off the shelves also.”

Though selling at a heightened level, both Ray and Sternberg said alternative 5.56 and .223 ammunition remain available for now.

— Brian Broom, The Clarion-Ledger



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