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Ammo Ban End Run Plotted Months Ago? No, ATF Blames 'Publishing Error'

Image: Ammo Ban End Run Plotted Months Ago? No, ATF Blames 'Publishing Error'
Green tip, M855 5.56mm ammunition. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

By    |   Tuesday, 10 Mar 2015 01:04 PM

The ATF insists a "publishing error" removed the exemption for the popular M855 "green tip" bullets from its armor-piercing ban, and denies gun-rights advocates' claims that the absence foreshadows the agency's upcoming decision.  

 

"Media reports have noted that the 2014 ATF Regulation Guide published online does not contain a listing of the exemptions for armor-piercing ammunition, and conclude that the absence of this listing indicates these exemptions have been rescinded. This is not the case," the agency said in a statement released Friday on Twitter.

"Please be advised that ATF has not rescinded any armor-piercing ammunition exemption, and the fact they are not listed in the 2014 online edition of the regulations was an error which has no legal impact on the validity of the [current] exemptions."

According to Fox News, Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation was among those who thought the error wasn't so much of publishing mistake as it was a tip of the hand.

"This is either real incompetence or ATF got caught with their pants down," he said.

The episode is among the latest in a saga that began last month when the ATF released for public comment a proposed framework that would re-assess the ammo's exemption from the Gun Control Act’s prohibition on armor-piecing ammunition.

Traditionally, the M855 ammo has been given an exemption from the ban because it is "primarily intended for sporting purposes." The ammo is typically used in an AR-15 rifle, however the growing popularity of AR-15 pistols has led the ATF to reassess the sporting exemption.

Last week, Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte sent a letter to the ATF signed by 238 House members opposing the ban, and on Tuesday Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley sent a similar letter signed by 51 other Senate members. That made clear that a majority of representatives in both the House and Senate opposed the ban, The Washington Examiner reported.

On Monday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest advocated on behalf of the proposed ban.

"The president has long believed that there are some common-sense steps that we can take . . . to ensure that we’re protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans while also taking some common-sense steps to prevent people who shouldn’t have guns from getting them," he said.

"This seems to be an area where everyone should agree that if there are armor-piercing bullets available that can fit into easily concealed weapons, that it puts our law enforcement at considerably more risk."

The National Rifle Association responded forcefully to the claim that police are targets of M855 ammunition.

"The claim that this is done out of a concern for law enforcement safety is a lie," said Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action.

"The director of the Fraternal Order of Police has said this is not an issue of concern. And according to the FBI, not one single law enforcement officer has been killed with M855 ammunition fired from a handgun."

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The ATF insists a "publishing error" removed the exemption for the popular M855 "green tip" bullets from its armor-piercing ban, and denies gun-rights advocates' claims that the absence foreshadows the agency's upcoming decision.
ammo, ban, atf, armor piercing, bullets
502
2015-04-10
Tuesday, 10 Mar 2015 01:04 PM
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