What Russian ammo ban? Loophole keeps it on US shelves, splitting gun rights groups

What Russian ammo ban? Loophole keeps it on US shelves, splitting gun rights groups

The Shooters Shop in West Allis, Wis., has Russian-made 7.62 x 39 mm ammunition for an AK-47. On March 16, the Russian army advanced on Chernihiv, Bucha and Irpin, Ukraine – firing steel-cased ammunition from the military’s AK rifles. On the other side of the globe, a cargo ship carrying the same type of ammo from St. Petersburg docked in Philadelphia. A container with pallets of shrink-wrapped boxes slowly made its way to warehouses in Florida, South Carolina and Ohio and onto store shelves nationwide. All Russian ammo was banned for import to the U.S. as of Sept. 7, 2021, but the cheap 7.62 x 39 mm bullets – favored by many Americans for target practice with semiautomatic rifles – kept flowing because of a State Department loophole allowing existing and pending import permits to stand. Russian brands such as Wolf, TulAmmo and Barnaul are easy to find at gun shops and U.S.-based online retailers. The sanctions and the grandfathered Russian imports have split the top firearm lobbies and gun owners: Some take a hard-line Second Amendment view, some fall on the side of democratic support for Ukraine, some seem to be torn between the two. The Biden administration announced the ban in August 2021 in reaction to the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny the year before. The ban also came as intelligence agencies reported Russia amassing 100,000 troops at the Ukrainian border. Once President Vladimir Putin attacked Ukraine in February, U.S. sanctions were extended to virtually […]

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