Redmond arms importer P.W. Arms Inc. is suing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives over its decision to ban ammunition originally designed for AK-47 assault rifles.

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SEATTLE — A Redmond-based arms importer is suing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) over its decision to ban ammunition originally designed for AK-47 assault rifles.

P.W. Arms Inc. says ATF gave it permission to import more than 100 million rounds of the Russian- and Eastern European-made ammunition known as 7N6. But when the first shipments arrived early last year, ATF deemed them “armor-piercing” and barred their importation for civilian resale.

The company says the bullets had previously been approved for use in chambered bolt-action and semi-automatic rifles for sporting purposes.

The federal lawsuit says the ban was arbitrary because the legal definition of “armor-piercing” bullets refers only to ammunition that can be fired from a handgun, and no commercially available handgun can fire the 7N6 rounds.

The ATF did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.