Beset by criticism from the gun-owning public and facing bipartisan threats in Congress to undo its decision, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has reversed course and will no longer seek a ban on M855/5.56 “green tip” ammunition used in the popular AR-15 rifle series.
Last month, you may recall, President Obama’s ATF proposed a rule to effectively render AR-15's less effective by banning much of the ammo they use. The agency gave gun owners a short 30-day comment window to voice their concerns or support for the planned action; that window was scheduled to close March 16.
Then again, there was a bump in the road already. As we reported, it was discovered that ATF had “mistakenly” removed its armor-piercing exemption for the the ammo from its 2014 ATF Regulation Guide, which the agency later explained in a Facebook post was an error.
Sure. That's one hell of an error.
As we and others suspected, though, it turns out that the “error” was probably a back-door attempt to ban a popular ammo made for a popular rifle that the administration cannot ban. If you can't get the gun, go for the ammo, right?
As Gun Owners of America noted in an email, it was more likely that the agency's biggest mistake was telegraphing its intent before the end of the commentary period.
“It was like the bizarre world of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland: First the sentence; then the trial,” GOA said.
Cue the criticism, which led to this, the ATF's latest statement on the issue:
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.
“Good faith interpretation?” Who seriously believes that?
Anyway, for now it looks like the agency is tucking its tail and crawling back under the rock it came from. But you bet that, knowing this administration and this president, the issue will come up again. And if it fails then, it will come up again.
Barack Obama and most Democrats, despite paying lip service to the Constitution, couldn't care less about most of it and that especially includes the Second Amendment. It's much harder to control the American people if they are unarmed, after all.
So, GOA asks:
Is this a genuine retreat, or just a “tactical retreat,” as we saw with Operation Choke Point? In that case, the federal government removed gun dealers from its “risky business list,” but continue to persecute them under that program on a case-by-case basis.
And, finally, what about the ban on Russian-made 7N6 ammo, which is not reversed by ATF's reversal?
Both good questions. And as always, we'll keep you posted.