The proposed M855 ammo ban for the AR-15 rifle has been dropped at least temporarily by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
ATF received more than 80,000 comments, apparently almost all opposed, to the proposal that would have outlawed the green-tip, armor-piercing bullets.
Members of Congress also weighed in on what the ATF referred to as a “proposed framework.”
The proposed ammunition ban also caused 5.56mm ammo to fly off the shelves.
In a statement, ATF indicated in bureaucrat-speak that the agency won’t be moving forward, for the time being anyway, and is instead heading back to the drawing board.
“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. Accordingly, ATF will not at this time seek to issue a final framework. After the close of the comment period, ATF will process the comments received, further evaluate the issues raised therein, and provide additional open and transparent process (for example, through additional proposals and opportunities for comment) before proceeding with any framework.”
In a letter to the ATF sent yesterday by U.S. Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and co-signed by 51 other Senators, Grassley noted that the M855 green tip cartridge is exempt from the relevant statute, the Law Enforcement Officer Protection Act of 1986, as it is used for gun sports purposes. “These cartridges are prevalent for one of the most commonly possessed rifles, the AR-15. Congress did not, and did not intend to, ban this form of ammunition.”
“The ATF sought to strip the ‘green tip” ammo of its exemption because of the development of AR-15 handguns that could fire the bullets,” the Washington Post noted.
“The premise for the ban was that since the round could be fired from a handgun holding more than one round it inherently put police at risk because the projectile could penetrate body armor. There are no known instances of the M855 round being fired at police with the newly targeted type of handgun,” The Daily Caller claimed.
Added Grassley about the possibility of a backdoor effort at gun control by the Obama administration: “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.”
Some 238 U.S.House of Representatives members under the leadership of U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) also formally opposed the ATF ammo ban.
Earlier, ATF claimed that the omission of the M855 cartridge from its ammo regulation guide was merely a publishing error and not an indication that the ban had already taken effect.
[image via Twitter]