March 10, 2015
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on Tuesday formally announced it would delay its proposed controversial ban on certain ammunition used in the popular AR-15 rifle.
The ATF indicated it wasn’t scrapping the idea completely, and said it could revisit it later. Still, the announcement is at least a short-term victory for gun owners and Republican members of Congress who strongly opposed the ATF’s plan.
The ATF proposed a framework in February that was likely to lead to a ban on M855 cartridges. The ATF was mounting an argument that because these bullets can pierce armor in certain circumstances, they should be banned under a 1986 law aimed at protecting police.
But gunowners and Republicans in particular argued that the ATF had no legal right to take a step in this direction, which would have required a ban on a widely popular round that has been exempted from the ban for decades. The ATF itself indicated that there was widespread opposition to the idea in the more than 80,000 comments it received.
“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,” the ATF said Tuesday.
“Accordingly, ATF will not at this time seek to issue a final framework,” it added. The ATF did, however, say it would review the comments and that it could revisit the issue at a later date.
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