Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told The Washington Times that the White House won’t follow through on a plan to suspend production of AR-15 ammunition at the federal Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Missouri.
“The contract’s been in place like it is for most of post World War II America. … I’ve been assured there will not in the near future, or in this administration, would there be a change in that contract,” Blunt, a member of the Senate leadership, told the paper on Tuesday evening.
The Lake City plant has allowed private contractors to operate the plant and produce 5.56 mm ammunition, often used for AR-15-style rifles and other weapons for commercial sales that exceed the needs of the military. Earlier this month, however, a report indicated that the federal government may block contractors from using the plant, although it was denied by a White House spokesperson this week.
It comes after a number of House lawmakers said that the Biden administration was attempting to place a ban on AR-15s by making it harder to obtain commercially available ammunition.
‘Blatantly Infringes’ on Gun Rights
“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,” Republican lawmakers wrote in a letter on Monday to President Joe Biden.
“The administration is not going to restrict production/sales of excess ammunition currently available for sale to the public,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates wrote on Twitter Tuesday.
Larry Keane, general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told the paper that the Obama administration attempted to place a ban on commercial ammunition at the Lake City plant. He argued that the Biden administration may have backed off plans to ban commercial ammo production at the plant because it would likely scrap a gun-control bill that is currently being advanced by Republicans and Democrats in the Senate.
“My understanding was there was an internal discussion at [Department of Defense] … about this issue towards the end of last week. But, as of now, we have not heard anything definitive that they are not going to do this now,” Keane said, adding: “The Obama ATF [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives] tried to declare the ammunition coming out of Lake City to be armor-piercing. It is not by definition, armor-piercing ammunition, which is a defined term in the Gun Control Act.”