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Ammo Ban

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If you can’t enact gun control through Congress, then perhaps you can achieve the same effect by banning certain types of ammo. That seems to be the strategy being used by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

A spokesman for the National Rifle Association put it this way: “The Obama Administration was unable to ban America’s most popular sporting rifle through the legislative process, so now its trying to ban commonly owned and used ammunition through regulation.” The ATF has established a framework for evaluating certain types of ammunition used in the AR-15 rifle.

A little history is in order. Back in 1986, Congress passed the Law Enforcement Officer’s Protection Act. It was intended to protect police officers from “armor piercing” projectiles. The focus was on banning bullets that could be fired from a handgun. The authors of the bill realized that bullets fired from most common rifle cartridges could penetrate soft body armor. So Congress incorporated an exemption into the bill in order to protect ordinary rifle ammunition.

The ATF is now arguing that since these bullets can be used in semi-automatic handguns, they pose a threat to police and must be banned. Last week that was the argument made by the White House spokesman. “We are looking at additional ways to protect our brave men and women in law enforcement, and believe that this process is valuable for that reason alone.”

A number of members of Congress have written to the Director of ATF challenging the assertion that this ammunition poses a danger to law enforcement. “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.”

I think gun owners and gun groups have a point when they say this is merely a back-door gun control effort by banning certain ammunition.

Viewpoints by Kerby Anderson

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