Washington, D.C. – In response to a recent proposal by the Obama Administration to ban ammunition commonly used for the AR-15 rifle, Alaskan Congressman Don Young and 238 of his House colleagues sent a bipartisan letter to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Director H. Todd Jones to express their deep concerns for the proposed rule change.
“The Obama Administration’s actions to dramatically change the interpretation of the Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act (LEOPA) of 1986 will ban one of the most commonly sold rifle bullets in the nation and significantly interfere with the Second Amendment rights of countless Americans,” said Congressman Don Young. “In order to ensure the law remains intact, and law-abiding gun owners have the ability to find affordable ammunition, any changes of this nature must include serious discussions with Congress. The ATF is currently collecting public comment on this proposal until March 16, 2015, and I would encourage all concerned Americans to reach out and make their opposition known. I remain committed to working with my colleagues in the House to ensure the voices of law-abiding gun owners are heard on this and similar matters.”
The AR-15’s second-most popular round, the M855 or “green tip”, has been exempted under federal law for sporting purpose for more than 30 years, which has allowed for lawful manufacturing, importation, and sale on the civilian market in the United States. On February 13, 2015, the ATF proposed a “Framework” to determine new criteria for ammunition used for sporting purposes, which would effectively ban the manufacturing and importation of the M855.
In a letter to ATF Director, the lawmakers wrote that:
The ATF Framework “establishes an unduly restrictive standard, does not comport with the letter or spirit of the law, and will interfere with Second Amendment rights by disrupting the market for ammunition that law abiding Americans use for sporting and other legitimate purposes.”
The letter also questions the ATF’s reinterpretation of the LEOPA, which includes an exception for projectiles “primarily intended for sporting purposes” in order to protect ordinary rifle ammunition from being swept off the market.
“ATF has now rescinded that exemption because repeating handguns that fire the M855 round are commercial available. Yet, this round is amongst the most commonly used in the most popular rifle design in America, the AR-15. Millions upon millions of M855 rounds have been sold and used in the U.S., yet ATF has not even alleged – much less offered evidence – that even one such round has ever been fired from a handgun at a police officer. The idea that Congress intended LEOPA to ban one of the preeminent rifle cartridges in use by Americans for legitimate purposed is preposterous.”
In closing, the bipartisan lawmakers also shared their concern for the ATF’s failure to properly publish the proposed framework in the federal register, which is required of the Executive Branch when creating new rules.