On Thursday, news of a proposal by the Obama administration to ban one of the most commonly used bullets for the popular AR-15 rifle was met with backlash by lawmakers.
According to FOX News, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives submitted a proposal to ban .223 M855 “green tip” ammunition, which prompted immediate criticism by sportsmen. Shortly after, both Republican and Democrat house members, as well as some law enforcement officials, expressed their disapproval.
A letter written by lawmakers and addressed to ATF Director Todd Jones read, “The ban will interfere with Second Amendment rights by disrupting the market for ammunition that law abiding Americans use for sporting and other legitimate purposes.”
Even certain police organizations disagreed with the ban. “The notion that all of a sudden a new pistol requires banning what had long been perfectly legal ammunition doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to many officers,” said William Jones, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations which represents nearly 250,000 law enforcement officers from all over the country.
The rifle ammunition was approved by ATF in 1986, even though it can pierce through bulletproof vests used by law enforcement. The proposal to ban the bullets came about because handguns have recently been designed that can also fire the ammo. It is the thought that police officers will have to deal with these firearms and thus the ammunition should be banned.
FOX News reported that the congressional letter noted that the ATF has no evidence that the bullet proves dangerous to officers. It read, “ATF has not even alleged, much offered evidence, that even one such round has ever been fired from a handgun at a police officer.”
While some do not agree with the ban, there are some law enforcement that support it. “I am definitely for the banning of these rounds. Officers worry about them all the time,” said former NYPD Detective Harry Houck.
Gun control groups also support the ban. Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence stated, “We understand why law enforcement has always been concerned about the threat of armor-piercing bullets.”
The ammunition has sold out at many stores in anticipation of the ban. The ATF proposed regulation would not prohibit owning the bullets, only from importing or manufacturing them.
Gun rights organizations are concerned that approval of the ban will not stop at just this one type of bullet. “Almost any hunting rifle bullet will go through body armor, so you could prohibit almost any rifle bullet with this. This is the administration redefining the law on its own,” said Alan Gottlieb with the Second Amendment Foundation.