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March 10, 2015

Is the Threat of an Ammo Ban Past?

A bit of good news out of The Swamp for a change. The ATF says it’s scrapping plans to ban a popular round of ammunition after loads of negative public feedback. The Associated Press reports, “The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says the agency received more than 80,000 public comments on the proposal to outlaw some types of 5.56 mm rounds, or .223 caliber. The agency says the comments were overwhelmingly critical of the proposal.” The ban was (supposedly) motivated by the “discovery” that “pistols” can now shoot armor-piercing ammo, but perhaps the ATF feared a successful court challenge to the National Firearms Act’s definition of “pistol.” Certainly, Second Amendment defenders think the NFA is in many ways incompatible with the Supreme Court’s Heller ruling.

But is this really good news, or just a tactical retreat? According to the ATF, “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. Accordingly, ATF will not at this time seek to issue a final framework [emphasis added]. After the close of the comment period, ATF will process the comments received, further evaluate the issues raised therein, and provide additional open and transparent process (for example, through additional proposals and opportunities for comment) before proceeding with any framework.” So it really isn’t over.

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