The agency responsible for regulating guns is dropping its proposal to ban a type of armor-piercing bullets after outrage from the pro-gun community.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on Tuesday scrapped its proposal to ban popular “green tip” steel core bullets after receiving more than 80,000 comments with a week to go in the review period. The decision came after gun rights groups took aim at the Obama administration and funded a campaign to build public opposition to the ban.
“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 in a statement. “Accordingly, ATF will not at this time seek to issue a final framework.”
Gun rights groups painted the ATF’s suggested ban as another executive overstep by Obama, this time aimed at stripping gun owners of ammunition typically used in the AR-15 assault rifle.
The new ban was proposed by the ATF and there’s no evidence it was initiated by the White House or the president in the same way Obama used his executive power to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.
The ammunition was exempted from the 1986 Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act, which banned armor-piercing bullets that could be used in handguns but not those used in rifles, which were seen as intended for sporting purposes. New handguns, though, can accommodate those same armor-piercing bullets exempted in the 1986 law and the ATF is concerned the bullets now put police officers at risk.
“This appears to be a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist,” said David Workman, the group’s communications director. “I can’t find — nor can anybody else find — any evidence that any of these bullets has ever been fired from a handgun that’s harmed a police officer.”
Instead, gun rights groups are taking the ammo ban as a “backdoor attempt” to clamp down on assault rifles, after gun control advocates failed to ban assault rifles.
Other types of ammunition that can’t pierce body armor would still be available for the AR-15 assault rifle under the new regulation.
“It’s not the need for the ammunition,” Workman said. “Why does anybody need to ban it? That’s the real question.”