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Posted: 9/14/2002 2:43:30 PM EDT
Seems like this comes up in just about every other ammo thread, so I thought I'd share some long-researched tax law info:

Under federal law, ammo (and firearms, for that matter) are subject to the Federal Excise Tax, paid by the manufacturer directly to the feds. This tax is due on all ammo which is destined for sale to the public.

However, FET does NOT have to be paid on ammo which is sold to the military or law enforcement agencies -- Congress specifically exempted them.

Ammo manufacturers have to pay this tax at the time of manufacture, NOT after it has been shipped to a distributor, then to a gunshop where it is picked up by either Joe Blow or John Law and carried to the cash register.

SO .... manufacturers mark the packaging of each run accordingly, and the ammo on which the FET has NOT been paid to the fed govt. is marked "FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ONLY."

When you buy a box of ammo marked LE only, you are not committing a crime, nor is possession or use of it illegal in any way. HOWEVER, it DOES mean that somewhere back up the line, someone is theoretically guilty of tax evasion.

As far as the spex of the ammo sold .....

Yes, some manufacturers do have types of ammo that they sell exclusively to LE. This is a policy decision (unless the ammo is AP), not a matter of law. But most makers also sell ammo that is ballistically identical, even though it's not in the much-more-desirable FOR LE ONLY boxes.

So while LE-only ammo is indeed a government conspiracy, it's a tax issue, not any intentional infringement of our Second Amendment rights (unless you equate FET with a poll tax).

HTH. I shall now leave the podium.....
Link Posted: 9/14/2002 2:54:21 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/14/2002 2:55:39 PM EDT by EddieG]
Thanks for the info. I always wondered if a regular citizen had to protect themself while using LE only ammo would some idiot lawyer try to nail them for it? Ed
Link Posted: 9/14/2002 2:55:03 PM EDT
Exactly - some (MOST) LEO marked ammo is done that way as a CYA policy.
Link Posted: 9/14/2002 3:29:39 PM EDT
A determined prosecutor (or, in civil court, a lawyer suing you) will do ANYTHING to convince a jury .... so yeah, I imagine they'd try to use it against you if you employed LE ammo in a self-defense situation.

Of course, they'd also come after you if you used handloads ("So regular bullets weren't deady enough for you?") and just about anything else they can twist into sounding evil.

In a SHTF scenario I'll use whatever I need to survive .... but for carry use, I stick to non-LE, +P+ ammo. If that's not enough, you need a bigger gun/more guns. Never bring a pistol to an SMG fight.
Link Posted: 9/14/2002 3:32:59 PM EDT
Can we add this to the Ammo FAQ?
Link Posted: 9/14/2002 5:42:04 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/14/2002 8:09:11 PM EDT
Good point Troy.....the ammo companies have to watch their backside. If Joe Blow goes out and buys some Ranger +p+ 9mm ammo and fires it through his ancient war trophy that was picked up on the battlefield by his grand-dad in WW1 or something, then the ammo CO's will be left to be sucked dry by the courts. I guess because of so many cases of poor decision making and operator error, as well as the out of control lawsuit craze, the rest of us are left to suffer as a result.
Link Posted: 9/15/2002 8:40:44 AM EDT
Does anybody actually know what the deifferences are between +P and +P+.

I think it is only offered in 9mm, I am not sure I have ever seen anything specific concerning the difference in velocity or energy. I suspect the differences are very small. I also question whether any manufactuer is allowed to load anything beyond SAMMI spec.
Link Posted: 9/16/2002 8:46:06 AM EDT
I think just the +

Loaded hotter, I've heard about 10+% over saami

Link Posted: 9/16/2002 10:06:02 AM EDT
Attention moderator: (TROY)

I might suggest that you also make another
addition to the FAQ. Go here:


and read my long posting, the 25th one.

It contains relevant information concerning LEO marked lower recivers and rifles built on them.

Seems like good info for the FAQ to me.


Link Posted: 9/16/2002 12:29:32 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/16/2002 5:49:23 PM EDT
You sound like you have a lot more knowledge about the subject than I do. It is just that I suspect the differences are a lot less than many people think.

If SAMMI is not a standard that they load to, then what is a reasonable standard for a national manufacturer to load to? How much liability is Federal, Hornady or Remington going to assume?

If you are LEO and a manufactuer sells you a round that goes KABOOM in your issue weapon are you not going to assume they have some liability?

My point was that I wonder if most people don't load to the conservative side and someone like CorBon loads to the high side of the SAMMI spec.

Link Posted: 9/18/2002 5:36:25 AM EDT
The fact is that when the ammo manufacturers sell us +p+ in any caliber we are required to sign a waiver assuming all liability for the use of the ammo. If an officer was injured due to a Kaboom with +p+ duty ammo, his recourse would be limited to workmens comp in our state. Our officers are required to maintain a weapon that is safe with that ammo.
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