Just hours after Townhall’s Katie Pavlich exposed the fact that the Obama Administration had illegally banned some of the most common and economical ammunition for the best-selling rifle in the United States, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms was forced into a headlong, if temporary, retreat.
— ATF HQ (@ATFHQ) March 7, 2015
The agency’s “error” was quickly fixed.
Notice of Publishing Error
On Feb. 13, 2015, ATF released for public comment a proposed framework, including legal and technical analysis, to guide its determination on what ammunition is “primarily intended for sporting purposes” for purposes of granting exemptions to the Gun Control Act’s prohibition on Armor Piecing
Ammunition. This proposed framework is posted for public comment only; no final decisions have been made as to its adoption.
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for Armor Piercing Ammunition, and concluding that the absence of this listing indicates these exemptions have been rescinded.
Please be advised that ATF has not rescinded any Armor Piercing Ammunition exemption, and the fact they are not listed in the 2014 online edition of the regulations, was an error, which has no legal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 exemptions. The existing exemptions for armor piercing ammunition, which apply to
5.56 mm (.223) SS 109 and M855 projectiles (identified by a green coating on the projectile tip), and the U.S .30-06 M2AP projectile (identified by a black coating on the projectile tip), remain in effect.
The listing of Armor Piercing Ammunition exemptions can be found in the 2005 ATF Regulation Guide on page 166, which is posted here.
The 2014 Regulation Guide will be corrected in PDF format to include the listing of Armor Piercing Ammunition exemptions and posted shortly. The e-book/iBook version of the Regulation Guide will be corrected in the near future. ATF apologizes for any confusion caused by this publishing error
Bearing Arms helped echo the original Townhall article, which exposed that ATF’s “proposed” reclassification of common M855 ball ammunition as “armor-piercing” was already a fait accompli.
The Office of Management and Budget must review and approve ATF Regulation Guides, which again, come out approximately every 10 years. This can take months and changes to Regulation Guides are not easily or often made. Because of the lengthy amount of time it takes for OMB to approve a new ATF Regulation Guide, ATF’s comment period is just for show. ATF officials and the White House have (and never did) no interest in actually listening to or considering comments that are currently being submitted. The exemption for the ammunition in question has already been stripped out of the regulation handbook moving forward and “green-tip” has been reclassified as “armor piercing.” The rules have been changed. Further, because of local rules and regulations in different states across the country having their own “armor piercing” standards based on ATF regulations, thousands of people in possession of AR-15 green tip ammunition have essentially been turned into felons overnight.
The story hit the front page of the Drudge Report shortly after 4:00 PM on Friday, dominating the first two slots of the top right column. They still remain Saturday morning.
The Townhall report that revealed ATF’s backdoor M855 ban went viral on The Drudge Report.
I can only imagine that the Friday afternoon stream of expletives fired from the White House to the ATF was of legendary ferocity to get an immediate response after Pavlich’s exposure of the plot, which clearly indicates illegal behavior.
This warrants immediate oversight investigations in Congress, and the appointment of a independent special counsel to investigate whether or not there was a criminal conspiracy between the White House, ATF, and elements of the OMB who approved the illegal change which did illegally bypassed both the Administrative Procedure Act and Congress.
“Rogue” agencies don’t dare attack a target the size of the Second Amendment, going after the most common form of ammunition for the nation’s most popular rifle, without that risky order coming from the highest level of the Executive Branch.
Don’t expect this story to go away any time soon.