Following an unprecedented response from Second Amendment advocacy groups, Congressional and industry leaders as well as average firearms owners and users, the Obama Administration has—at least temporarily—pulled its proposal to ban widely used AR-15 M855 green tip ammunition.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) announced March 10 it would not advance with its proposed framework to ban the common ammunition while it reviews the record number (more than 80,000) of comments it has received on the proposal since it was first announced. The agency said it would continue to accept comments through March 16.
In late February, ATF revealed its intentions to ban commonly used M855 ball ammunition while depicting it as "armor piercing ammunition." Commonly available steel-core, green tip M855 and SS109 rifle ammunition has been exempt from federal law banning armor-piercing ammunition for decades. It is readily available at a reasonable cost, and is widely used for sporting and practice shooting.
Congressional members from both sides of the aisle were united in their criticism of the proposal, along with the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, representing the firearms and ammunition industry.
Since the announcement, the NRA rallied its five million members and tens of millions of supporters across the country in strong opposition. In addition, the NRA worked with congressional leaders in both the U.S. House and Senate to oppose this misguided proposal.
A Twitter message originating from ATF headquarters and posted at 11:21 a.m. March 10 read: "You spoke, we listened. @ATFHQ plans more study on the proposed AP Ammo exemption framework."
Response to ATF's latest action was generally positive, though with cautionary ambivalence.
"Our industry members hope to meet consumer demand in bringing alternative ammunition products to the market and to continue to sell the popular M855 rifle target ammunition," said the National Shooting Sports Foundation. "NSSF continues to strongly urge ATF to grant 32 long-pending petitions to exempt alternative rifle ammunition designed and intended for the hunting market."
Leadership at the NRA took the opportunity to suggest that the proposal itself was a political maneuver that failed.
"(The) announcement proves what we have said all along -- this was 100 percent political," said Wayne La Pierre, NRA executive vice president. "President Obama failed to pass gun control through Congress, so he tried to impose his political agenda through executive fiat. But every gun owner in America needs to understand Barack Obama's hatred of the Second Amendment has not changed."