M855 Ban: A Temporary, Tactical Victory

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The ATF has decided not to ban M855 “green tip” ammo for the time being.  Yay!  Sort of.

Click on the link to read the weasel-word press release.  To begin with, they’re discussing “proposed framework for determining whether certain projectiles are ‘primarily intended for sporting purposes.'”  It seems patently silly to think that ammunition that was designed by the military to penetrate steel helmets at long distances was “sporting,” which means that if that’s the standard, it OUGHT to be banned.  But who cares?  Since when did your Second Amendment rights depend on “sporting purposes”? Well, since Congress made it that way.  I believe the language comes originally from the National Firearms act, that bans any firearm with a bore diameter over half an inch unless it’s for “sporting purposes,” as most shotguns are (according to the Attorney General).  But that means that not only is M855 vulnerable, but so is every single 12-gauge in the country.

Furthermore, as Bob Owens discussed back in February, the issue here really isn’t “sporting purposes,” it’s whether or not M855 even qualifies as “armor-piercing” under the definition Congress adopted.  I don’t think it does, for the reasons Mr. Owens describes.  Don’t see anything in the ATF’s press release about that, do you?

Finally, notice what they say at the end.  They’re going to “process” the comments received (am I the only one who thinks that means “ignore”?) and then move forward with “additional proposals” before actually implementing a ban.  Oh, but we’ll have another opportunity to comment!

Congress created this mess.  Congress needs to fix it.  We’ve won FOR NOW, but the ATF itself says it means to come back and have another try, and of course they can just press forward if that’s what they want, comments be damned.  So instead of celebrating–or maybe after a brief celebration–let’s get on Congress to get rid of this dumb law so we don’t have to keep doing this every 6 months.

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