“Sporting Use,” “Sporting Purpose” – Ammo Terms to be Redefined

The Second Amendment is my gun permit

We all remember just a few months ago when the ATF caused a stir when it attempted to ban M855 ammunition. The effort was the result of laws from the 1980s, wavers and the meaning of terms such as “sporting purposes,” “sporting use” and “armor piercing.” The “sporting” terms do not have strongly defined meanings and in the case of the M855 ammunition, it does not actually meet the technical definition of armor piercing. However, that has all been covered.

.223 NATO Lake City M855 FMJ 62-Grain Steel Penetrator Ammo
Two decades ago the ATF issued a report stating M855 ammunition was not more dangerous than other types of ammunition and did not need additional regulation.

In an effort to protect our Second Amendment rights, and prevent another such debacle, Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT), chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources has introduced H.R. 2710, the Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act of 2015. H.R. 2710 seeks to revise the Gun Control Act of 1968, as amended. The purpose is to replace the “sporting purposes” and “sporting use” sections with modernized language that better defines whether firearms and ammunition can be lawfully imported, possessed and transferred.

There is good cause for the change. In 2008, the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller noted that the core purpose of the Second Amendment is self-defense. The language of H.R. 2710 will more accurately reflect this core meaning of the right to bear arms. As a result, H.R. 2710 would prevent the narrow interpretations of federal law, such as reclassifying certain rifle ammunition as “armor piercing” to keep it out of the hands of ordinary citizens. Due to a lack of clear definitions for “sporting purposes” and “sporting use,” the Obama Administration has exploited the murky waters in an attempt to circumvent Congress and attempt to ban a popular type of ammunition for modern sporting rifles, namely M855.

Sporting Purpose – Firearms

H.R. 2710 also seeks to remove the “sporting purposes” requirement as it applies to the importation of certain firearms—some of which are popular for use in 3-gun competition and have been arbitrarily and unfairly classified as not meeting the “sporting purpose” test. Unfortunately, the ATF does not consider 3-gun shooting a sport, even though it is the fastest growing shooting sport in the nation.

FNH USA Scar in Action
The Scar – Piston driven and specifically built for U.S. Special Operations command, but in the hands of an experienced 3-Gunner, it is a plate popping machine.

The Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act of 2015 (H.R. 2710), seeks to reform federal laws in the following essential areas:

  • Eliminate ATF’s authority to reclassify popular rifle ammunition as “armor piercing ammunition.” Federal law regulating armor-piercing ammunition was intended by Congress to regulate handgun projectiles, but recently the law was used to attempt to ban popular rifle ammunition, notably M855/SS109 5.56×45 ammunition.
  • Eliminate restrictions on importation of non-National Firearms Act firearm or ammunition that may otherwise be lawfully possessed and sold within the United States. Based on the “sporting purposes” test, firearms that would be legal to manufacture, sell and possess in the United States have been banned from importation.
  • Protect shotguns, shotgun shells, and large-caliber rifles from arbitrary classification as “destructive devices.” When classified as a “destructive device,” a firearm falls under the National Firearms Act and is subjected to registration and taxes, and, in some states, cannot be possessed.
  • Broaden the temporary interstate transfer provision to allow temporary transfers for all lawful purposes rather than just for “sporting purposes.”

“This is one of the most important pieces of reform legislation that the firearms and ammunition industry has seen come before Congress in recent years,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “We applaud Rep. Bishop for his support of this legislation and of the Second Amendment, and we urge other members of Congress to co-sponsor this bill.”

The NSSF urges you to contact your U.S. Representative to urge him or her to co-sponsor and support H.R. 2710.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (28)

  1. This dim bulb cannot figure out why anyone in the gun community thinks that exchanging a 2nd Amendment “RIGHT” for “New Laws and Regulations” will guarantee possession of guns in the future.
    If a nations populace are so fing ignorant as to not understand what form of government they now live under: IT SURE AS HELL IS NOT A CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC: then they already have lost sovereignty of the individual, and became no more than wards of the state.
    I am not one who believes in the IN YOUR FACE protest of open carry advocates but just as the slippery kiss their ass and do nothing but beg has allowed our gun rights to be turned to crap by laws made by sewer level elected and non elected bureaucratic serfs, somebody is at least keeping the doors open for discussion of just WTF the 2nd Amendment means.
    All your semper fi and military BS has not stopped this nation from going rogue upon its people.
    In fact it is the Federal payrolls that are the real pork in this nation, being an elected officer just means greater access to public funding and corporate bribes,, The bureaucracy that has been created by wealthy entitys, not by men of merit and Hon orable Character, is there to protect the poltical and financial interest over that of Nation, State, religion and Humane ideals, everything of the State is The States’ to use as it sees fit.
    Passing more rules will indeed be pork. For but a few individuals.
    The Clintonistas’ definition of what is isbhas become your peoples representatives excuse to hide behind.
    You play with words in order to not admit it is long time past, “The Time For Deeds”

  2. As a lifetime shooter coming from a family of them, I find myself very disturbed by the “in your face” approach to gun issues in the public domain. The NRA and the “what ever you do in any controversy” distortion of facts to maintain our position, tends to present we Shooters as rabid, foaming at the mouth less then sane citizens, who scare the heck out of non gun owning, non shooting people. We here in Texas just had an open carry law passed and signed, accompanied by prior sights of local idiots who had rifles, hand guns etc. draped aggressively in defiant and sometimes loud mouthed ways. Anybody out there think like I do , that this stuff works against our purpose and goals as law abibing gun
    owners.? We can defend our rights in less confrontive ways and make some allies by doing that. Easy does it and use sensible rhetoric and try to win others over instead of scaring them. Just saying.

    1. Ray
      As a fellow Texan, I agree 100% with you. The hard core gun rights advocates are a damage to their own positions with those kinds of displays. Sensibility seemed to be missing from those arguments.

    2. Yes, there are a number of “gun rights crazies” who think bringing 15 people with AR’s slung over their shoulders into a Chipolte restaurant is good for the furthering of 2nd amendment causes. While I bemoan the fact that many citizens of the State of Texas are frightened by displays of firearms, it is still a fact of life. While I would rather we had constitutional carry here in Texas (open, concealed whatever you want simply because you are a free citizen), I am happy we have what we have now. Move incrementally forward towards more freedom. Incrementalism is how the fascists in the US Federal government have slowly turned up the temperature of the water we are all up to our neck in.

  3. I have taken deer during Fire Arm Deer Season in Michigan years ago using a variety of imported military ammo 7.62×39 7.62x54r and 8mm Mauser and these were used in pre-ban weapons that were legal imported and sold in this country. 1 was a Steyer straight pull carbine that shot great, it took 8mm and I am pretty sure it would go through a couple car doors. This is just more bs from present administration. They want to scare people and drive up price of once cheap surplus ammo and by the way what do they do with the ammo that we the people paid for when they take out of service? I remember when you could go to Woolworths and buy a surplus .30 caliber M1 for $70. What the hell is happening in this country?

  4. When a government group seeks to disarm 60 – 80 million gun owners in a country, why would that not be considered treason. Surely tis helps our enemies more than us.

    No one can argue that a force of 60 – 80 million gun owners (many x- servicemen) are in our national interests to help protect this nation.

    1. As Admiral Yamamoto, the mastermind of Pearl Harbor said, “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass.”

      “I fear all we have done is awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

      The day Americans are disarmed is the day the country falls.

    2. @ Mikial.

      Unfortunately it did nothing in preventing the Japanese Imperical Navy from conducting Two Raids on the West Coast of the United States in 1942. First, was the Oil Refinery at Ellwood, California. Attack by Submarine I-17 in 23 February 1942. And the second, by Submarine I-25 using a Yokosuka E14 Attack Seaplane on Fort Stevens, Oregon in 21 June 1942.

      Cali B&M…

    3. @Secundius

      Very true, along with the balloon attack that killed a couple of civilians in Oregon, but raids with subs are a far cry from an invasion.

      The bottom line is that the Japanese, IMHO probably the only opponent in modern times who actually represented a threat to the USA homeland, never came ashore. If they had, no one can dispute that the American shooting population would have mounted asymmetrical warfare that would have probably stopped them cold and eventually driven them off.

      We must never lose this warrior spirit or allow ourselves to be disarmed by the domestic enemies the Liberals represent. We see what has happened to Europe, the place where most of us can trace to our roots, but has been emasculated by decades of Liberal, Socialist thinking. Look at the train incident. While the Europeans were hiding behind their seats, and the train crew and security had run and locked themselves away, it tool 4 Americans to stop the attack. The guy listed as french is in reality an American living France. There was one British citizen who did something, but the rest was those damn, white American males.

    4. @ Mikial.

      Ahhh, Yes! Archie Mitchell and his Pregnant Wife Elsie and 5-Children. Wife and 5-Children were Killed, Archie was lone Survivor (5 May 1945). But not the Worst Case, One landed in Wilderness Area with a Bio-Plague in the Sand Bags. Believed to have been produced by the Infamous Unit 731 in Pingfang, China. Could have been WORSE, 15 August 1945. Japanese Empire developed and Detonated One of Two Uranium U-235 Atomic Bombs, killing 70,000 Koreans in Manchuria, NOW in North Korea…

    5. It always gets me when these Lib activist say how immoral using the Bomb on Japan was. They just don’t get it.

      NOT using the Bombs would have meant we had to invade, and after the carnage of Okinawa for both the US and Japanese, no one wanted to invade the Japanese home islands. Estimates were that it would have cost 1 million US casualties and up to 20 million Japanese. So the casualties of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki were cheap by comparison.

      Second, what do these people think has prevented WWIII? The potential that someone would use a Nuke is all the prevented the Soviets from coming through the Fulda Gap. I was an Armor officer when this was a very real possibility and we trained to stop them. But we never had to because they knew that if they overran NATO, they would get nuked.

      So in reality, the invention of the atomic, and eventually nuclear weapons is all that prevented another world war that would have been even more devastating than the previous ones. But then, most of these whining Libs never spent a day in the military, so all that death and destruction is just abstract to them.

    6. @ Mikial.

      Hey Mikial, I know some on the Right that think the Same Way. But, if the People of the USA during WW2 were aware that the Japanese HAD an Atomic Bomb. The Only Japanese, Speaking Japanese in 2015, would be the Japanese that weren’t Living In Japan during the Atomic Bomb Bombings of Japan. Probably, American Japanese transplanted back to Japan, or Japan would have become a Territorial Protectorate (Fifty-something States) of the United States.

      Cali B&M…

  5. “Sporting purposes” has no validity in judging whether citizens should be “allowed” to possess guns or ammunition. It’s NOT the right to keep and bear sporting equipment!!!

    1. @ rl diehl.

      NOBODY registers “Sporting Equipment”. Sir. It’s an attempt to NOT REGISTER a Firearm, by calling it something else. Like a “Percussion Bow and Arrow”…

  6. I sometimes type faster than my brain works but I find no place on this site where I can go back and correct my mistake I realize I should proofread before sending but realization and acting as two different things in my particular domain would not take much just another small program.

  7. There are a large number of people out there that can see the tree for the forest. I live in a predominantly Republican area of Florida and believe me they are more against gun ownership than a Democrat ever were. Subject to pick a fight pickling you can win don’t disgrace a number of people in a region you know nothing about. Invite them into your way of thinking. I’ve been a Democrat all my life and have seen Democratic representatives in numerous states do more harm to gun control then the nuts you see on television. Make him part of the campaign to contact their representatives. I often said if it wasn’t for dumb people we could not have a Republican Party. Have every site list the names and e-mail addresses of every representative they only have to do it once and establish a hyperlink and change it every two years.

  8. Then a elected official understand how government works. Also was a United States Marine. You could do yourself a favor by somewhere on your site listing a hyperlink that would give the Congressional and Senatorial representatives, but I hate to use that word representatives, e-mail addresses many more people would contact their Congressional and Senatorial meatheads if it was easier for them to do so. I find very large majority of citizens have no idea who the Congressional representatives are. Just a hyperlink something you don’t have to reproduce just added to your page your mailing this everything you do an Internet the response will quadruple. Just an old Marines suggestion

  9. The very use of the term sporting use is a trap and should be avoided. Personal defense, common defense, hunting, target shooting, competitive sports are all legitimate uses for ammo and the types, construction and employment cross over and are interconnected.
    There is not such thing as sporting purpose when it comes to the Second Amendment unless you want to provide the anti-Second Amendment forces with a means to whittle away at the tree of liberty.

    1. Totally agree! We need to get laws that return us to the original intent of the 2nd Amendment which was to have weapons, not just pistols and rifles, to protect our homes our communities, our states and our country from all enemies of the Constitution, foreign and domestic.

      Banning armor piercing ammo just because some fool builds a pistol in .308 is ludicrous.

  10. Actually I don’t see what the Big Hullabaloo, is all about. People have been switching/swapping caliber’s, for as long as I can remember. I’f a .223Remington is not available, go to 5.56x45NATO, if a .22WMR, to .22TCM, to 5.7×28 or 8×57, to .303 British, to 6.5×55 Swiss or .308Winchester to 7.62x51NATO to .30-30Winchester. The list is virtually endless…

    1. I think the point here is to reduce the ways bureaucrats and their liberal patrons can twist the grey areas to try to screw us out of our rights in order to solidify their control over us all. In this case, it’s ammo, but as the proposed reforms point out, it could just as easily be something else next time.

  11. Are you kidding me

    We have already lost when we are happy

    a law may be passed granting us our RIGHTS !

  12. The next bill we need is to ban the use of bureaucracy to take away our rights and protect jobs and business from being destroyed by unelected people. This protects our rights to make arms and ammunition as well as protecting our farms and other businesses from being endangered by the EPA and other agencies for the sake of bugs and other critters that have more rights than humans.

  13. I’ve become so accustomed to Shooter’s Log reports about how liberals are once again meddling with our 2A Rights that I thought based on the title this would be another doom-and-gloom rally cry over another of their half-baked shenanigans.

    It is nice for a change to read something positive. The only problem I have is this opening a backdoor to undesirable liberal add-ons and pork, which usually always happens, in order to get the original bill passed.

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