Republican lawmakers said that the Biden administration is attempting to essentially ban AR-15-style rifles by banning commercial production of AR-15 ammunition at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Missouri—a move the White House has recently denied.
The factory, which is owned by the Department of Defense, allows private firms to operate the facility to produce 5.56mm ammunition for most AR-15 firearms.
“Severely limiting the commercially available 5.56 ammunition, which is most popularly used in modern sporting rifles (MSRs), is effectively a politically sanctioned semi-automatic rifle ban. This blatantly infringes on the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution by limiting law-abiding gun owners’ ability to legally purchase or use lawful semi-automatic rifles,” lawmakers wrote in their letter on Monday to President Joe Biden.
The GOP representatives, led by Reps. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), added that the Missouri plant “currently produces a significant portion of this type of 5.56mm ammunition for the commercial market” and allows the operator to keep the factory at a high state of readiness. That factory, they continued, ensures that the U.S. “Army is ready to ramp up production in the event of a national emergency.”
“This decision will result in the immediate termination of up to 500 highly skilled employees and undermine the facility’s ability to hire and retain the skilled workforce needed to carry out the contract with the Department of Defense,” they wrote in the letter (pdf). “Additionally, the decision will exacerbate an already serious shortage of ammunition in the commercial market currently facing law-abiding gun owners.”
Hartzler said that the reported decision to ban the factory’s production of 5.56mm rounds is merely an attempt to quash Americans’ Second Amendment rights.
“This is a backdoor attempt by President Biden to bypass Congress and ban legal and highly popular commercial ammunition used by law-abiding Americans across the country,” Hartzler said. “The Biden administration has made their priorities clear: dismantle the Second Amendment, compromise military readiness, and push inflation to new heights. It’s time for the Biden administration to stop its attack on our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.”
The Epoch Times has contacted the White House for comment.
On Monday, White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates disputed a report on a firearms blog alleging Winchester Ammunition, which operates the Missouri plant, was told by the government that it can no longer sell M855 and SS109 ammunition “produced in excess of the military’s needs on the civilian market.”
In reference to the report, Bates wrote Monday on Twitter that the “story isn’t true,” adding that it wouldn’t allow the plant to close down.
The Republican letter comes as several Republican and Democrat senators are working to pass a gun-control bill that would expand funding to states that use red-flag laws, end straw purchases, and other measures in the wake of several high-profile mass shootings in New York, Texas, and Oklahoma.