Falls Township Rifle and Pistol Association

354 Newbold Road, Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania


Category: Legislative

March 2015 Legislative Report


ATF Proposes Ban on M855 Ammunition

In the preceding month, ATF announced a proposal than would remove the “sporting purposes” exemption for M855 “green tip” ammunition, classifying it as armor piercing handgun ammunition, effectively banning the round for civilian use. There was some question as to whether M855 meets the statutory definition of armor piercing ammunition under federal law, as its core contains lead, with a steel penetrator at the tip. Federal law defines armor piercing ammunition as:

  • 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
  • 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.

It should be noted that M855 is considered an “enhanced penetration” round by the military, and is not classified as armor piercing. NRA has argued ATF exceeded its authority in its classification of M855 as an armor piercing round in the first place.

It’s pretty clear that the purpose of the proposed ban is to eliminate a cheap source of surplus target ammunition for AR-15 shooters, and drive ammunition prices even higher. Thanks to pressure from 238 members of Congress, writing in opposition to the proposal, ATF has decided to back down for now. It is worth noting that our representative, Mike Fitzpatrick, was not among the signers of the Congressional letter. He was the only member of the Pennsylvania Republican Congressional Delegation who did not sign.

ATF is still taking public comment on the proposal up through March 16, 2015. I would like to make a motion to send a letter both to ATF, outlining the club’s objection to the proposal, and to Rep. Fitzpatrick, expressing disappointment that his name did not appear on the letter.

National Reciprocity

There are several reciprocity bills working their way thorugh Congress. The bills that look to have the most traction are H.R. 986 and Senate bill, S.498. Both bills would protect the right of individuals with concealed carry permits from their home state, to carry in any other state which does not prohibit concealed carry (which at this point, no state does). There are two other house bills, H.R. 923 and H.R. 402, which would largely do the same thing, but these bills have fewer co-sponsors as of now.

Senator Toomey is a cosponsor of S.498, however Senator Casey is not.

Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick has not signed on to any of the House Bills.

Please write Senator Casey and Rep. Fitzpatrick and ask them to support all of these bills.


Sunday Hunting

NRA is making a big push to get Sunday Hunting passed in the Pennsylvania Legislature. This has been surprisingly difficult to get passed. It is hoped that this might be a measure that Governor Wolf would sign if it passes out of the legislature. Please write your state legislators to get Sunday hunting approved. Pennsylvania is one of the few states that still restrict Sunday hunting.

February 2015 Legislative Report


Significant Win in Federal Court

Today, in the case of Mance v. Holder, Judge Reed O’Conner pronounced a key portion of the Gun Control Act of 1968 unconstitutional. This ruling in the Northern District of Texas enjoins the federal government from enforcing several key provisions of the act, which relate to purchasing firearms out of state. Under the original Gun Control Act of 1968, only Federally Licensed Dealers were permitted to conduct interstate transfers. The Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986 allowed individuals to purchase long guns from out of state FFLs, but handguns remained restricted to in-state purchases only. Judge O’Conner did not find the law narrowly tailored enough to justify its burden on the Second Amendment right, and struck the handgun provision down. This ruling is certain to be appealed by the federal government.

Despite today’s ruling, most Federal Firearm Licensees are not likely to begin selling handguns to out-of-state buyers until they have guidance from ATF, which is not likely to come until the case has been fully litigated. Enforcement of the law may be enjoined today, but that does not mean it will be enjoined tomorrow. The Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit may decide to stay the injunction while the government’s appeal is pending.

While private person transfers (PPTs) were not specifically challenged in this case, so even if higher courts uphold this ruling, it would remain unlawful for unlicensed individuals to transfer a firearm interstate. But individuals would be able to purchase a handgun out of state.


Municipalities and cities all over the Commonwealth continue to repeal their illegal ordinances in the face of a new state law that strengthens our preemption statute. The new statute makes the municipality responsible for legal costs, and also gives any PA resident, or a group representing PA residents, standing to challenge an illegal ordinance. So far the only holdouts are Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, and Harrisburg. NRA is involved with lawsuits against the first three of those cities to force compliance.

NIJ Report from Obama Administration’s DOJ

The NRA managed to get a copy of a National Institute of Justice study, the research branch of Obama’s Department of Justice, which details that current gun control proposals will be ineffective without more draconian measures than the ones being proposed. See this article appearing today in the Washington Times that details the findings. The study notes:

“Since assault weapons are not a major contributor to US gun homicide, and the existing stock of guns is large, an assault weapon ban is unlikely to have an impact on gun violence. If coupled with a gun buyback and no exemptions, then it could be effective.”

“Buyback” is the new euphemism for confiscation. The document makes numerous references to the Australian buyback program. When Australia banned all semi-automatic rifles in 1997, gun owners were forced to turn them all in, but received $200 dollars in compensation from the government. The alternative to taking this payment and turning over the guns was jail time. See this NRA video on the DOJ memo here:

Attention Lower Makefield Residents

UPDATE: On February 20, the Lower Makefield Township Supervisors voted unanimously to rescind their previous resolution to lobby for more power to ban the possession of lawfully carried firearms in common public areas like parks. If their resolution had gained traction, and resulted in weakening of state preemption for firearms regulation, law-abiding gun owners would face certain legal pitfalls if they were forced to memorize carry or possession restrictions for each of the 56 cities, 958 boroughs, and 1,547 townships in Pennsylvania.

Thank you to all of the residents and club members who came out to the meeting, with little notice, to make sure that this mistake was corrected and the resolution rescinded. We truly believe your presence in the audience, and at the podium for those who spoke, made a difference. The supervisors seemed to understand that the gun issue was not relevant to the ordinary function of Township business, and will hopefully refrain from pursuing more gun control resolutions in the future.

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