ATF Waves the White Flag (For Now)

NRA-ILA is announcing ATF is waving the white flag of surrender, for the time being.

The announcement that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) will suspend its proposed framework to ban M855 ammunition validates the NRA’s assertion that this effort was nothing more than a political maneuver to bypass Congress and impose gun control on the American people.

I think we can all pat ourselves on the back here. Gun owners seem to be more effective at standing up to the Obama Administration than the GOP. Punch back twice as hard.

33 Responses to “ATF Waves the White Flag (For Now)”

  1. Patrick H says:

    AWWWW YEAH. We have power, and we keep demonstrating it over and over again. Maybe we can funnel this into something good.

  2. HappyWarrior6 says:

    Take note… 238 (House) and 52 (Senate) on the letter. Now is the time to advance a bill to finally strip the ATF of the “sporting purposes” regulatory language.

    • Matthew Carberry says:

      Exactly. It is past time for Congress to start acting.

      Even if the changes are vetoed it demonstrates when the issues come up in Court the “intent of the Congress” and thus the “will of the people.”

    • eric says:

      THIS^^^^ time to go on the offenseive. DESTROY THE ATF. REPEAL THE HUGES ACT, GCA, NFA. ALL OF IT MUST GO

  3. RAH says:

    238 House and 52 Senate is not enough to overcome a veto However Obama may sign the bill to strip the language . He won’t sign a bill getting rid of the ATF

    • Matthew Carberry says:

      Agreed. But passing legislation even knowing it might get vetoed is part of Congress’s job.

      I didn’t elect my representatives to wait for “sure things” or compromise to get “passable legislation” just so they can claim nothing but wins. I elected them to express my will.

      If they lack the spine to go on record win or lose, I’ll hire someone else.

      • Archer says:

        “I didn’t elect my representatives to wait for “sure things” or compromise to get “passable legislation” just so they can claim nothing but wins.”

        Bingo. I think it’s part of the popular definition of “effective” or “productive” Congress being “one that passes a lot of bills that get signed into law”. But if they want to measure productivity by the sheer number of bills passed and signed, all they have to do is cease writing omnibus funding bills and fund each department separately. That’d be a LOT of bills, but I wouldn’t call it especially productive or effective.

    • ctd says:

      Obama signed the bill removing the ban on carry/possession in national parks. Was attached to a bill about credit cards; take the hint and start adding “thousand cuts” riders to everything.

  4. divemedic says:

    I’m starting to think that Obama owns stock in ammo and firearm companies.

    • HappyWarrior6 says:

      I’ve got to say it. It really astonishes me the morons who hoarded this time, paying .80 a round for M855… SURPLUS AMMO that costs less than XM193.

      Really? How many of these folks put all that money they suddenly have to hoard toward NRA-ILA to advance something useful? Like a bill that gets attached to a PASSABLE piece of legislation… just like how we got park carry and probably how we are going to get national reciprocity.

  5. Shawn says:

    They will just wait, just like they did with the multiple long arm reporting in border states. And they will probably go through with it in the same way.

    • Dave says:

      This did not pan out the way BATFE expected it to pan out. 80,000 public comments on something that either is, or is not in the federal register is astounding. Especially in as short a public comment turnaround as we had. This is vastly different from the registration of rifle sales but we still got concessions on that and the shotgun imports ban.

      The rifle registration scheme was originally proposed Dec 17th, the Friday that Congress left on the Christmas break, and was proposed for implementation on January 5th; the day after the new Congress convened. Public comments to that proposal successfully beat back the so called “emergency implementation”. An ensuing 90 day comment period was undertaken, in which Bloomberg’s paid group absolutely KILLED the pro-gun side, by somewhere north of 2 to 1. So called grassroots gun rights groups sat on their hands and let it happen. Where was your state gun rights group pushing for public comments on the rifle registration scheme? By you, I mean all of us.

      Even so, it was originally proposed applying to all 50 states. it was implemented in border states.

      This public comment period was about as good as gun rights groups could expect but still, some gun rights groups did nothing at all and there is no excuse for not acting. None. Groups like VCDL and similar groups from NC, TN, NY, and many more were pushing for public comments, sometimes more than once. This in addition to GOA & NRA-ILA.

      If you’re in a state with a grassroots gun rights group and they did not push for public comments on this issue, that group needs new leadership. Yesterday.

      As for Congress? if we’re smart, we’ll be following some of GOA’s advice and putting heat on Congress to curtail ATF’s power – and yes, voting to get rid of BATFE is a great idea. So what if it doesn’t pass or gets vetoed? Maybe we can negotiated back to revoking their cabinet status. This, along with pushing for FOPA reform and national reciprocity should be on the front burner now, while our side is still engaged.

      • Sebastian says:

        It was probably the threat of Congressional action to take away ATF’s toy that convinced them to back down.

        • Dave says:

          Many of the grassroots groups have been working behind the scenes to get some traction on the bills in Congress aimed at ATF. This was more likely the cause of their change of heart.

      • Alien says:

        I’d like to see the timeline on comment volume; Limbaugh brought the ammo ban up on his show two days in a row last week. I suspect that helped a lot to reach people who might have had an interest but were unaware of the ban.

      • ctd says:

        “Rifle registration”? did I miss something?

  6. Sebastian says:

    Verizon has been having problems all day. If it took a while for your comment to appear, this is why.

  7. N.M says:

    How does this validate the NRA’s claim? What I want to know is why have RPGs been banned! Like armor-piercing bullets, there is no evidence that they have actually been used against police officers! Therefore, we shouldn’t ban them.

    • Sebastian says:

      The assertion, and it’s a correct one, is that M855 are not armor piercing.

      And RPGs haven’t been banned. Machine guns are more banned than an RPG. The reason people don’t have them is that they are a) expensive, b) difficult to aquire, and c) not terribly useful for the kind of self-defense situations a typical person would reasonably encounter.

      • HappyWarrior6 says:

        Ultimately, the next fight is “cop killer bullets.”

        How people USE ammo is not what within the purview of the law. It comes down to people control once again. This is the fight we face every day from gun control activists. It seems to me this is an easier one to fight. It’s absolutely maddening that 1986 and 1968 come up to biteus again, and we hear time and again LEOs hold that “we’re okay with M855 and a ban on that isn’t necessary, but we’re fine with a ban on armor piercing ammo.”

        Well we’re NOT fine with it, and last time I checked we don’t consult cops as arbiters of whether or not it’s fine to restrict fundamental constitutional rights. All that, plus the whole sporting purposes BS needs to go as long as any regulatory agency can manipulate the language. I’m sick of hearing about this. When will we get congress to tie this bill to something that will PASS once and for all?

  8. N.M says:

    It says in the quotation that this was a political ploy and that’s what I was responding to. So the ATF realized that these were not armor-piercing and then dropped their proposal? That doesn’t mean that it was a political ploy.

    The Second Amendment Foundation argues that the M855 needn’t be banned because it’s never been used against police enforcement. Are they arguing that it is not armor-piercing and therefore still protected against by the kevlar vests police enforcement wear? Because that is not true. I guess sometimes it doesn’t penetrate steel plates … therefore it’s not armor piercing?

    Thank god RPGs are not illegal! Good sense just seemed to dictate that they should be illegal since they have neither sporting nor defensive purposes … but I was wrong, yet again.

    • ctd says:

      If you cannot articulate what the legal definition of “armor piercing” is, you do not have a valid opinion on the subject. Hint: it has nothing to do with being able to pierce armor.

      Upshot: the “armor piercing” projectile ban (based solely on bullet composition and intended use in handguns) was intended for handgun ammo ONLY, not rifle ammo, and not rifle ammo that can be used in the absurd-but-exists obscure category of short-barreled no-stock colloquially-termed “sawed-off” rifles that are, by obscurities of imperfect legislative definition, legally categorized as handguns. The BATFE for decades explicitly exempted M855 ammunition from the ban to respect the spirit of the law, and now – for absolutely no articulable reason – sought to remove that exemption. There was never a problem with M855 ammo being legal, and there is no reason to believe it will be. There’s no reason to ban something that has been legal, was intended to be legal despite imperfections in legislative language, has been declared exempt to ensure it remains legal, has never been abused in an illegal manner, and no change in circumstance dictates changing its legality.

      If your concern is about cops getting shot with straining-the-definition handguns firing rifle ammunition, banning M855 isn’t going to address your concern, as _all_ rifle ammo can pierce body armor – it’s about as sensible as declaring “cocaine is bad” and then banning only a form of cocaine cut with baking soda, leaving all other kinds legal.

      You’re insulting something you don’t understand, and look like a fool in the process. Really, you don’t know the legal meaning of “armor piercing”; I suggest you get educated about the subject before you rant about it.

    • HappyWarrior6 says:

      Did it ever occur to you that body armor can be worn and purchased by anyone? This bullet poses no more a threat to a cop than to anyone else, and then we’re in the realm of people control again.

      Last time I checked there was only one politician (in California) that had even proposed banning armor for everyone except cops. Does that sound like a stupid idea to most folks except for you?

  9. N.M says:

    @CTD. Dare I speak without your tremendous knowledge about firearms?

    My point is just about the argument that the Second Amendment Foundation made, namely, that it should not be banned because it has never been used against law enforcement. The argument is specious. That is all.

    But the wild thing about the SAF is that they use this specious argument to then make more specious argument, such as, this was a “political ploy” to ban ammunition for the assault rifles that they cannot ban (because NRA and gun rights zealots). That argument is equally false.

    This is the principal problem with the gun rights movement, that it cannot accept any form of regulation whatsoever, or any debate about gun rights. Everything, even research into the issue, is merely a “political ploy” to ban weapons, were you to believe them. It’s madness, and anti-democratic, dogmatic madness at that.

    And it really is anti-democratic, because it will not allow debate or “questioning” … that is frightening.

    • HappyWarrior6 says:

      “Anti-democratic.” Like rulemaking by administrative fiat, for example?

      Please, describe a “reasonable” regulation on a protected right to reduce crime without sticking to the talking points. And we are of course talking about all crime, not just that which concerns you because GUNS.

    • Sebastian says:

      Why is it invalid to argue that a regulation is intended to solve a non-existant problem? M855 can go through soft body armor. So can any other .223 rifle cartridge, including the standard .55 grain loading, which is actually more deadly (because it fragments). ANY rifle cartridge goes through soft body armor. Soft body armor is rated to stop handgun bullets, and only handgun bullets. To stop rifle bullets you need armor plates. These are not often worn by police because they are heavy and uncomfortable, and rifles are atypical threats. The Level IV armor plates worn by soldiers will stop up to .30-06 armor piercing rounds. They are quite effective.

      Understand what M855 is: it’s an enhanced penetration round. That does not mean it’s armor piercing. It means it’s designed not to fragment into pieces when it hits its target. For the military, it means it’ll shoot through some cover that the standard .55 grain loading will fragment on. For this reason, M855 it’s not all that useful for civilian self-defense situations because you generally want fragmentation, so you don’t have to worry about shooting through a target and hitting something else you did not intend to.

      M855 is used pretty exclusively as cheap practice ammo by target shooters, and the reason it’s cheap, is usually because it’s been surplused. Governments have to rotate ammo stores because ammo doesn’t stay viable forever. Civilian target shooters are a ready market.

    • ctd says:

      Your point is still invalid due to gross ignorance about the subject.

      First, there isn’t a problem. If M855, in its BILLIONS of rounds bought and fired by civilians, has never been used against police, then why is the argument “there isn’t a problem” what you call “specious”?

      Secondly, if for sake of argument we pass by the nonexistence of a problem, we move on to your implication that it is at least a threat and a _partial_ ban on .223 ammo is warranted, why would you choose the one popular category of ammunition which, as others note, objectively cause officers LESS harm? All rifle ammo penetrates police body armor, but “armor piercing” (as legally defined) actually does not fragment like most other .223 ammo tends to (causing tremendous internal damage), leaving wounds which are more survivable. That puts you in the awkward position of wishing officers greater harm by (in reasoning akin to the absurdist _Raich_ SCOTUS ruling) _prohibiting_ a product whose presence in the criminal market _decreases_ harm.

      Thirdly, I have to side with the notion that the proposed ban IS a “political ploy” – for what else can you call a bureaucratic body’s action, under direction of a Leftist administration, to prohibit by decree something which has been legal for decades and has zero history of criminal harm?

      Sure we’ll entertain debate. Nobody is “not allowing debate or questioning”, for here you are parading your ignorance and we are addressing it (quite politely actually, and trying to educate you with objective facts), rather than being deleted/banned (as most Leftist forums are fond of doing). It’s just unfair to do so against someone who is clearly unarmed in a battle of wits.

  10. N.M says:

    I’m afraid that you have so much faith in your exhausting knowledge of guns and ammunition that makes you believe in turn you know all there is to know about argumentation or reasonable supposition. We depend on the latter in the legislative and judicial arenas, and hope for it, as much as possible, in the journalistic arena.

    Sure the M855’s been used time and again in rifles. The ATF knows this. Their concern is that they are now being used in handguns, increasingly, and therefore may pose a threat.

    There is nothing in this that suggests “political ploy”: the world changes, there are new uses for old things, those new uses can have increased dangers, those dangers need to be considered and maybe regulated. Or perhaps we should just let those exploding airbags that lacerate people be!

    It sounds like the real problem is that this comes from a bureau under the Obama administration. But, as I said before, and no one has responded to, the gun rights movement is reactionary in its response to any type of regulation, such that everything becomes a “political ploy.” Or show me some piece of regulation or even suggestion for research that the movement has encouraged? There is nothing. It’s a scary paranoia of sorts.

    But from a psychological point of view, this is not terribly surprising from a group of people that honestly believe they are safer when they carry a gun. If they need to feel safer, then they are frequently afraid.

    • Sebastian says:

      Any rifle round will shoot through soft armor, and so will a few powerful handgun rounds. The problem is, if you banned ammunition for any round that could penetrate soft armor, it would make all rifle ammunition and some handgun ammunition illegal.

    • Patrick H says:

      Except the prime issue in argumentation or reasonable supposition is actually knowing the facts. You don’t seem to know them.

      Everything about this suggests political ploy- from ignoring the plain text of the law, to not understanding the difference in armor piercing ability of different rounds, to the nonexistent threat to cops, to the ATF director today coming out in favor of banning all 5.56 rounds. So its not “scary paranoia” when the head of the ATF is saying exactly what we feared they would be doing.

      We are not reactionary except when we have to. There is no other alternative in this case because the ATF made the first move. We suggest regulation and research all the time: constitutional carry, national reciprocity, removing SBRs, SBSs, and suppressors from the NFA, and removing regulation to concealed carry. Oh but wait- that’s not what you meant, is it? You want more regulation, and of course that’s the only thing you want from us.

      Its not about feelings for us- its about facts. We don’t just feel safer, we KNOW we are safer. We aren’t scared, we are prepared. Its clear your side is the scared one- because everything they say is about fear. Not us. We use facts.

    • Stuart the Viking says:

      “the world changes, there are new uses for old things”

      That’s odd. There have been handguns that chambered and fired .223/5.56×45 ammunition since somewhere in the 1967 to 1970 time frame. Coincidentally, this is also around the time that the M855 came out. In 1986 when (I believe) this AP ban was put in place, Contenders chambered for .223/5.56 were quite common. That hardly qualifies as a “new use for an old thing” does it?

      The AR 15 “handguns”, likewise have been with us for quite some time. I must confess that I don’t know exactly when they were first made, because I find them large and unwieldy and have never wanted one, so I pretty much ignored them. I believe late 1990s or early 2000s. A quick google shows me pictures of one from 2003, so at very least they’ve been around for 12 years. I don’t really think that qualifies as a “new use” either.

      The argument over if this proposed ban is a “political ploy” or not is a red herring. Although I would agree that it does have the earmarks of one, there are more important considerations:

      1) In spite of the fact that someone decided to needlessly provide an “exemption” for it, M855, quite literally, does not fit the definition of an armor piercing round as per the wording of the statute. It does not have a core that is made up entirely of any of the materials listed, and it’s jacket does not make up anywhere near 25% of the weight of the projectile. I’m not making this up, I actually went and checked because my argument against the ban on M855 would, by necessity, be different if it did fit the definition.

      This should be enough, but wait! There’s more!

      2) The Second Amendment. Like it or not, the 2A is part of the bill of rights. Like it or not, the Supreme Court has ruled that the right to arms is a constitutionally protected right. As such, to pass constitutional muster, a law restricting that right has to be narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling government interest. So, let’s look at what compelling government interest the ATF is claiming. Officer Safety. SOUNDS compelling, let’s investigate:

      First, the Government must actually PROVE that they HAVE a compelling government interest, rather than just state it. That should be easy, we’ll just look into the FBI statistics on Law Enforcement shootings and see… wait… Apparently not only have there been no law enforcement officers killed by M855 rounds from a “handgun”, no law enforcement officers have been killed by ANY .223 or 5.56 rounds from a hand gun at all! Not so compelling. FAIL!

      Second, the Government must prove that their solution, banning M885 because it MIGHT be used in a “handgun” to defeat LEO body armor (AKA “Officer Safety”), actually does solve the compelling government interest that they are claiming. Here is where some knowledge of ballistics comes in. The claim is that M855 is “armor piercing” and puts LEOs at risk because it is likely to pierce their body armor when fired from a small concealable handgun. We’ll ignore for the moment that an AR-15 handgun is HUGE and only concealable in someone’s fever dream. The reality is that ANY .223/5.56 ammunition is likely to defeat the kind of body armor that law enforcement officers wear. LEOs generally wear body armor that is only rated for handgun ammunition. Pretty much any rifle round, and even some of the more stout handgun calibers, routinely sail right through body armor. Will this ban save Officer Friendly if someone decides (to be the first) to shoot him with an AR-15 “handgun”? No. It won’t. Just because Mr. Sumdood can’t buy M855 isn’t going to keep him from getting ammo for his AR-15 pistol, and whatever ammo he does get is just as likely to pierce Officer Friendly’s vest. FAIL on this regard also!

      If I have missed some evidence that 1) there is, after all, a compelling government interest in banning M855 that I have not considered, or 2) that the banning of M855 really does solve that compelling government interest, feel free to let me know.

    • ctd says:

      Reactionary? Nearly all gun control regulations are “reactionary”, trying to solve a perceived problem via gross ignorance. If the gun rights crowd is “reactionary” against anti-gun legislation, it is because such legislation is consistently absurd and misguided (as demonstrated by your continued support of a M855 ban notwithstanding your inability to articulate the legal definition of “armor piercing” and the objective consequences thereof).

      Yes, there has been plenty which the gun rights movement has researched, encouraged, and proposed – alas, the opposition is so paranoid and ignorant that they hysterically dismiss anything shown viable. Concerned about gun safety regarding children? teach them hands-on how guns work, how to use them safely, and consequences of mistakes & malice; this works well within the “gun culture”. Concerned about violent crime? people willing to get weapon carry permits are demonstrably much more law-abiding than the population at large, even far moreso than off-duty police, and deter (without harm!) an enormous number of violent crimes from happening; seems those you’re trying to disarm are the very ones you should _want_ armed. Maybe you should listen to those who actually understand the objective facts of the issue, rather than reacting to scary terms & concepts which you can’t objectively discuss.

      Yes, we honestly believe we are safer when carrying a gun. Violent crime exists, and usually happens when police are not around. Upstanding citizens with weapons are, if you’ll actually look at the cold hard facts, beneficial to society, and rarely a problem. Ignorance of crime rates is not a valid measure of fear. Indeed, we do not fear – for we can stop violent harm against us and ours, unlike those who find their safety subject to the whims of the criminally violent.

      To address your new point a different way: your preferred regulations would be enforced thru threat of violence – yes, you would have us imprisoned (by heavily armed agents acting on your behalf) for making/owning M855 ammunition, among other harmless activities. That is, in fact, a THREAT – FROM YOU. We seek to do none harm, only to enjoy our hobbies and to stop those who WOULD cause us harm. We have no malice. Yet, your “reasonable regulations” would IMPRISON US (and worse, should we not comply) for engaging what has a long history of harmless behavior. Yes, in this case we _are_ reactionary: YOU ARE THREATENING US – FOR WANTING THE ABILITY TO STOP YOU FROM THREATENING US.