What’s the Law: Items marked “Law Enforcement Only”

WHAT’S THE LAW?

BY DARRYL CHOY

TOPIC: Items marked “Law Enforcement Only”

Question: I have a number of items, such as ammunition, in a factory box marked “Law Enforcement Use Only.” Is it legal for me to possess this?

Answer: There appears to be no law that prohibits possession of any item marked “Law Enforcement Only” (LEO) unless the item itself is illegal. The markings do not make a legal item illegal. Ammunition marked LEO isn‟t subject to federal tax* and is restricted by the manufacturer for sale to law enforcement agencies, such police departments. But once the ammunition is out there, it is beyond the control of the manufacturer. However, if the LEO marked item is illegal, it is still illegal; e.g., Teflon-coated projectiles and more than 10- round handgun magazines (including AR 20 and 30+ magazines). These items are illegal with or without the LEO marking. Those items marked “Government Property” may or may not be illegal. They could be recent items that have not been released for sale to the public and may have been stolen. But if the item is from the Vietnam War era or earlier there is a good chance it has been released or, as they say, “surplused” out.

*Note: The Federal Ammunition Excise Taxes (FAET) of 11% is levied on all commercial ammunition available to the public. This tax is paid for by the manufacturer and passed on to the consumer. The United States created the tax in 1919. This law also covers tires, gasoline, coal, vaccines, sport fishing equipment, and bows and arrows. LEO marked and USGI ammunition are not subject to this tax and, therefore, are not for retail sale. I have yet to hear of any circumstance where someone was asked to pay this tax if they came to possess LEO or USGI surplus ammunition.

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