In response to intense pressure from majorities in the House and Senate as well as a huge membership in the NRA and GOA, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms abruptly reversed its decision to ban 5.56 M855 “green tip” ammo, commonly and popularly used for home protection and sporting firearms.
The reversal is a short-term victory for gun owners.
ATF Headquarters sent the following tweet: “You spoke, we listened. @ATFHQ plans more study on the proposed AP Ammo exemption framework. See more http://ow.ly/Ka7iQ”
Gun owners argued the ATF had no legal or constitutional authority to ban the ammunition, and the Obama administration buckled under the more than 80,000 comments received. A majority in both the Senate and House – 52 senators, 238 House members – joined concerned citizens in opposing the Obama administration’s move.
The ATF argued the bullets can pierce police armor under certain circumstances and therefore should be banned under a 1986 law aimed at protecting police, despite admissions the round has not historically posed a threat to law enforcement.
As WND reported, the Second Amendment Foundation, the SAF, says the ploy is a backdoor attempt to do what the administration has failed to do through legislation — ban the AR-15.
SAF general counsel Miko Tempski informed ATF Director B. Todd Jones, “This proposal is just an attempt to limit firearms rights because the president’s other such attempts have been blocked through constitutional checks and balances on his power.”
Tempski’s letter notes the .223-caliber, M855 ball ammunition at the center of this controversy “is not armor piercing pursuant to the definition in the statute.”
The technical definition of “armor piercing” is a bullet with a steel core. The M855 ball round has a steel tip, but the core is made of lead.
Law enforcement sources said the agency didn’t realize that the proposal would face such widespread opposition. Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) executive director James Pasco said Obama’s proposed ban on M855 ammo is not necessary since the round was most commonly used for shooting targets.
Ammoland noted, “Pasco’s claims square with studies done on the types of weapons criminals most often use in crime.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley sent a letter to the AFT signed by 51 others.
“Second Amendment rights require not only access to firearms but to bullets. If law-abiding gun owners cannot obtain rifle ammunition, or face substantial difficulty in finding ammunition available and at reasonable prices because government entities are banning such ammunition, then the Second Amendment is at risk,” said Grassley’s letter.
They also raised new concerns that the administration appears poised for a much wider ammo ban, a charge made by the National Rifle Association last week.
“Second Amendment rights require not only access to firearms but to bullets,” the letter continued. “If law-abiding gun owners cannot obtain rifle ammunition, or face substantial difficulty in finding ammunition available and at reasonable prices because government entities are banning such ammunition, then the Second Amendment is at risk. An outright ban is an even more serious threat to the Second Amendment than the threat to the First Amendment’s protection of free press created by a TAX imposed only on voluminous purchases of paper and ink.”
The Washington Examiner noted the NRA and the other groups still plan to flood ATF mailboxes with opposition letters just to make sure they go through with their withdrawal.
“They’ve gone away for now. We know they’re coming back and we will be ready,” Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA, told the Washington Examiner.
“ATF’s poorly conceived regulatory ‘framework’ was restrictive and interfered with the Second Amendment rights of Americans who use certain ammunition for sporting and home protection,” said Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill. “Law enforcement has expressed that they aren’t threatened by the ammunition, and ATF’s backdoor ban lacked sound justification. I trust ATF will take care and do their due diligence when issuing future regulations on firearms and ammunition.”
“Although ATF endeavored to create a proposal that reflected a good faith interpretation of the law and balanced the interests of law enforcement, industry, and sportsmen, the vast majority of the comments received to date are critical of the framework, and include issues that deserve further study,” the ATF said Tuesday.
“Accordingly, ATF will not at this time seek to issue a final framework,” it added.