Matt Vespa - NRA's LaPierre: 'If You Care About Your Freedoms... You Belong In The National Rifle Association'
Posted: 3/3/2015 2:30:00 PM EST

At the Conservative Political Action Conference, the National Rifle Association’s Executive Vice President, Wayne LaPierre, addressed the crowd with the typical red meat, highlighting the pernicious agenda of Washington elites and distortions in the media. LaPierre had a message for the media as well.

“Your First Amendment right is not a license to kill the Second Amendment with lies,” he said.

He also touched upon how women in America are consistently being pigeonholed as a class of victims by Hollywood elites and the anti-gun/pro-gun control wing of liberal America. LaPierre asked what have they done to empower women?

He then went on to say how the NRA teaches women how to defend themselves with or without firearms. Moreover, it signals that the nation’s oldest civil rights organization knows that women will play a major role in the future of the gun manufacturing industry. More women are lining up for concealed carry permits and boosting rates of ownership; they’re the fastest growing demographic of new gun owners.

LaPierre also voiced his support for national reciprocity for concealed carry permit holders, noting that as states recognize carry rights, crime rates have dropped.

Yet, the most important part of his address was featured towards the end regarding the defense of the Bill of Rights. The first ten amendments in our Constitution should be defended with equal fervor, whereas liberals tend to put them on a graduated scale.

“One right depends on another; they’re all cut from the same cloth of what it means to be free people,” he said. “That’s why the NRA fights for free speech, assembly, and the right to privacy because we believe in protecting the entire Bill of Rights. It’s all connected.”

Lastly, LaPierre made it very clear that you don’t need to be a gun owner to become a member of the National Rifle Association. They’re 5 million strong, and await new members to fill the ranks every day.

Even if you don’t own a gun, or don’t care about the right to do so; if you care about your freedoms in any of its forms, you belong in the National Rifle Association. Just look at history. By the last decade, by every measure, the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms has gotten stronger than ever. Even as our other freedoms have been progressively diminished. The credit for rescuing firearm freedoms goes to the five million members of the National Rifle Association.

Leah Barkoukis - This One Photo Proves Fetuses Aren't 'Blobs of Tissue' in Early Stages of Pregnancy
Posted: 3/3/2015 2:14:00 PM EST

In the last 40 years, the advent of the ultrasound, electronic fetal heart monitoring, and a host of other medical technologies have greatly helped the prolife movement change hearts and minds when it comes to abortion. And while we would like to think the “blob of tissue” argument is nothing more than a relic of the 70s, sadly, it’s still used today to convince women that abortion is no big deal since it’s not really a baby yet.

Now, thanks to one mother’s decision to post a photo of her 7-week-old baby that she miscarried, we have one more photo to help convince women otherwise.

“I wanted to share this beautiful image and story with you,” writes Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director turned pro-life advocate, on her Facebook page. “We are indeed created in His image. Thank you to this beautiful mother for courageously sharing her story with all of us.”

"I had a miscarriage on Palm Sunday last year,” the mother begins her story. “We think he was a boy and named him David Raphael. My only prayer when the doctor told me at 11 weeks that my baby had died a month earlier (at 7 weeks gestation), was that I would have something to bury. The doctor said he would either be too small to find or that his fragile body would be crushed in the miscarriage process and there wouldn't be anything left. On Palm Sunday afternoon he came out. The entire sac was in tact and there he was still floating in the amniotic water. I took a picture so I wouldn't forget that moment and how God answered my prayer. I think it would be an amazing photo to show people contemplating abortion. Even though he was only 7 weeks when he died, you can see his little arms and legs forming. My 4 year old was looking through my phone when I wasn't looking one day and found the picture. He came up to me with it and asked me whose baby it was. Even a child can tell that at 7 weeks, the fetus is a little person."

At the time of this writing the photo has been “liked” more than 517,000 times and shared by more than 173,000 others. A number of commenters prayed the photo would help others.

Of course, there were pro-choice advocates that took issue with the post, saying it was “gross” and “disgusting.” Johnson took the time to respond to her critics, and let's just say she didn't mince any words in doing so. 

“Abortion supporters have been up in arms because of the picture I posted of a 7 week old miscarried baby. They have said it's "gross" and "disgusting" and that no one should have to look at something like that,” she wrote on Monday.

“Well abortion supporters, here's something you need to know. Inside of every abortion facility across this country, aborted babies are reassembled by a POC technician (products of conception).

“So if you don't support people looking at these images, then maybe you shouldn't support abortion. If it's not okay for you to look at, then you should also be concerned for the abortion facility workers who look at this every day.

“If you work in an abortion facility and want to get out, we can help.” 

Cortney O'Brien - 'He Can Go Home': Dems Decry Netanyahu Speech
Posted: 3/3/2015 1:20:00 PM EST

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered a nonpartisan speech today in Washington, DC, asking for Congress’s support in preventing a nuclear Iran. He pledged his desire to protect his people, while thanking America for her unrelenting support of his state – from Presidents Harry Truman to Barack Obama. Nevertheless, congressional Democrats decided it would be appropriate to bash the prime minister’s appearance during a press conference directly following his passionate address.

Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) decried the Israeli Prime Minister’s speech as ‘condescending’ and was offended that Netanyahu was ‘telling us how to operate.’ He even invoked the name of Dick Cheney, “This is right out of the Dick Cheney playbook” and bluntly told the prime minister, “He can go home.”

Congressman David Price (D-NC) then dared to say that House Speaker John Boehner should ‘never’ have invited Netanyahu to speak in front of Congress at this time.

The Fox News "Outnumbered" cast was shocked and outraged by the Democrats’ response. Andrea Tantaros called them ‘arrogant’ for such comments and Harris Faulkner likened their words to ‘vocal flame throwing.’

In all, 57 Democrats boycotted Netanyahu’s speech – with reports that number could have been even higher. Their decision to skip the speech was largely due to claims that Netanyahu’s timing in Washington was too close to Israeli elections. Netanyahu has repeatedly pledged, however, that visiting DC for political purposes was ‘never his intention.’

As for President Obama and Vice President Biden, they were no shows as well.

Netanyahu’s speech was apolitical, focusing instead on the threat of a nuclear Iran. He urged the White House to ditch an arms deal with Iran, which he warned would only pave the way to a more dangerous country.

“Its rapid appetite for aggression grows more every year…This deal will not change Iran for the better, it will change the Middle East for the worse.”

Shame on Democrats for ignoring Netanyahu’s important warnings and for turning their backs on Israel at this fragile time.

Daniel Doherty - Little Doubt Remains: Ben Carson Is Running for President
Posted: 3/3/2015 1:00:00 PM EST

Dr. Ben Carson announced today that he has formed an “exploratory committee” to test the 2016 presidential waters. As part of that process, he has also released an accompanying video delineating the reasons why he is seriously thinking about taking the plunge:

“If I run it will be because it is not acceptable for us to be dismissed and ignored by Washington politicians who we entrusted to lead this country. While I don’t claim to have all the answers to every question that plagues us, I do have a passion to reach out, listen, and build common sense solutions.”

In other words, if Carson goes through with this, he will seek to win over voters as the anti-establishment, anti-politician, non-traditional candidate in the race. As a distinguished neurosurgeon and public speaker, he has already amassed a strong and devoted following. But he is making the right decision?

After all, now that longtime Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) will give up her seat in 2016, one wonders if he is. Jonah Goldberg, for his part, suggests Carson might have a greater impact on the direction of the nation as a senatorial candidate. He writes,

If he ran, I doubt he would get a majority of the black vote in Maryland. But I also suspect he’d do quite well in that regard. Certainly many black voters might just opt to stay home rather than vote against him. And I’d expect Carson to do fantastically well in western Maryland and other more conservative parts of the state. He could raise money nationally (maybe even roll over his presidential campaign money?), not just on his star status but also on the promise of flipping a safe Democratic seat in what will be a tough election year for Republicans. Virtually every Republican star in the country would happily campaign for him.

But there’s just one problem: he's not interested. His announcement today all but confirms this. It seems as though running for Senate hasn’t even crossed his mind.

Parting thought: Dr. Carson has never held political office before, and therefore it is very unlikely that he will win the nomination in 2016. This is just simple math and political reality. On the other hand, many candidates have run for a U.S. Senate without ever serving in government—and won. Elizabeth Warren is but one recent example. Just three years after she defeated incumbent Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), she’s already considered by progressives to be a serious presidential contender in 2016.

Perhaps this is something the good doctor should at least bear in mind.

Katie Pavlich - Netanyahu Slams White House Deal With Iran: “Even If Israel Has to Stand Alone, Israel Will Stand”
Posted: 3/3/2015 12:25:00 PM EST
Capitol Hill - Despite rumblings of boycotts ahead of his speech to a joint session of Congress Tuesday morning, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was met with roaring applause and standing room only attendance as he entered the U.S. Senate Chamber.

Before addressing the threat of a nuclear Iran, Netanyahu tried to clear up the misconception his visit was political after the White House condemned his invitation from House Speaker John Boehner, which was extended without President Obama’s consent. He also thanked Congress for their support of Israel’s Iron Dome.

“My friends, I am deeply humbled by the opportunity to speak for a third time before the most important legislative body in the world, the US Congress,” Netanyahu said. “Some perceived my being here as political, that was never my intention.”

“I want to thank Democrats and Republicans for your support for Israel, year after year, decade after decade,” he continued, saying the relationship has always been above politics and should remain there. “I know that no matter which side of the aisle you sit, you stand with Israel.”

During his address, Netanyahu described the failure to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon as a “countdown to a nuclear nightmare,” and said he has a “profound obligation” to warn against the current deal the White House is working on with the Iranian regime.

“This is a bad deal, it’s a very bad deal, we’re better off without it,” he said. “We’re told that the alternative to this deal is war. That’s just not true. The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal.”

Netanyahu said he does not believe the current deal being negotiated will do anything to change Iran’s long held violent behavior and called on Congress and the White House to demand Iran stop its aggression against it’s neighbors in the Middle East, stop supporting terrorism around the world and to stop threatening the annihilation of Israel. He also reminded lawmakers of Iran’s responsibility in maiming and killing thousands of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country,” he said, arguing Iran’s nuclear program can be rolled back more significantly than what’s being proposed in the current deal between the White House and the regime.

“I don’t believe Iran’s radical regime will change for the better after this deal,” Netanyahu said. “Its rapid appetite for aggression grows more every year…This deal will not change Iran for the better, it will change the Middle East for the worse.”

Just as he did in his speech to AIPAC yesterday in Washington D.C., Netanyahu hinted that Israel will take on Iran by itself, if necessary, to prevent the regime’s nuclear program from moving forward, but expressed hope America wouldn’t force the Jewish State to do it alone.

“The days of the Jewish people remaining passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over,” Netanyahu said. “Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand.”

“I know that Israel does not stand alone, I know that America stands with Israel,” he added.

Conn Carroll - How Obama Will Bypass Congress On His Iranian Nuclear Arms Deal
Posted: 3/3/2015 11:15:00 AM EST

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave up trying to change President Obama's mind about a nuclear deal with Iran long ago. He knows Obama is determined cut a deal with Iran on nuclear weapons, at any price, on the belief that Tehran will then become a reliable ally in the region

That is why Netanyahu chose to speak to Congress personally Tuesday. He know Congress is the only institution in America that has a chance of stopping Obama's Iranian plans. But, as The New York Times' David Sanger first reported in October, Obama has already decided to bypass Congress on his Iranian arms deal entirely.

But doesn't Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution read, "The President ... shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur."

How can Obama sign a nuclear arms deal with Iran without submitting that agreement to the Senate?

The same way that Obama has rewritten federal immigration and education law without Congress: by expanding executive power.

Obama will claim that his deal with Iran is not a treaty but a "sole executive agreement" that requires no approval from Congress. Sole executive agreements have been used by presidents since the early 1800s, but the exact scope of this power has long been in question. The Supreme Court has allowed many such agreements to stand (e.g. Dames & Moore v. Regan or American Insurance Ass'n v. Garamendi), but the Court has always required at least some evidence that Congress at least acquiesced to those policies.

The sole executive agreement power has also been used to end formal arms treaties, most recently by President Bush in 2001 when he unilaterally exited the Anti-Balistic Missile Treaty with Russia. However, new arms deals have almost always been submitted to the Senate for approval, including Bush's 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty with Russia. 

Obama's nuclear arms deal with Iran would be an unprecedented expansion of this sole executive agreement power.

But the Treaty Clause of the U.S. Constitution is not the only congressional hurdle Obama must clear. There are also existing sanctions regimes that have been passed by both chambers of Congress and signed into law by the president. One was even signed by Obama himself.

But each of those laws also contains generous waiver provisions that allow Obama to suspend enforcement of the sanctions for up to six months at a time.

Also, remember that Obama's agreement will not only be with Iran, but many other countries that are currently enforcing sanctions against Iran as well. Those countries could lift their sanctions up front, while the U.S. sanctions would not be scheduled to be lifted till then end of the agreement, which is rumored to be up to ten years. Here is how White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest explained how the deal would work Monday:

What we envision is an agreement that puts in place a series of steps where Iran takes some steps to demonstrate their compliance with the agreement, and a little bit of sanctions relief is offered, and that that is the process that continues until we can have a lot of confidence in Iran’s willingness to live up to their end of the bargain. And once they do, then we will ultimately get to a place where we want to start to make changes to the statutory sanctions regime that was passed by Congress.

And, yes, removing those sanctions, as passed by Congress, would require an act of Congress and I do think could plausibly be interpreted as Congress signing off on the deal. ... And it’s why as we move forward in this process -- ultimately it’s closer to the end than the beginning -- that we're going to need Congress to weigh in on this. And again, the reason for that is that the administration does not envision a scenario where substantial sanctions relief is offered right away.

(emphasis added) So what Obama will do is announce his agreement, let other countries lift their sanctions for the first few years of the agreement, and then, years from now, long after Obama has left office, the next president will have to deal with Iran's nuclear program.

Cortney O'Brien - New Yorkers Propose New Amendments to ‘Chip Away’ at Anti-Gun SAFE Act
Posted: 3/3/2015 10:45:00 AM EST

Gun-toting New Yorkers who feel burdened by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D-NY) anti-gun New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, have introduced new amendments to get rid of some of the law’s most unpopular provisions.

As opposed to repealing the entire law, which has proved to be unfruitful, Sen. James Seward (R-Milford) and Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) are launching a bipartisan effort to bid farewell to a few of the most ‘onerous parts’ of the SAFE Act. Here are the specifics of their three proposed amendments:

· Allow gun owners to load 10 cartridges into 10-round magazines. The Safe Act put that maximum at seven cartridges in some circumstances, at 10 in others. A federal judge in Western New York in late 2013 struck down the number as arbitrary; the state is appealing that decision. The proposed legislation would make it clear that shooters could legally fill 10-round magazines.

· Make it easier for owners of long guns to gift those guns to family members or people who hold a pistol permit.

· Cancel the requirement for background checks for all ammunition sales. New York State Police have not yet created a system, Superintendent Joseph D'Amico told lawmakers late last month.

Gov. Cuomo signed the SAFE Act into law a month after the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2013. Although the liberal governor claimed the bill would help keep New Yorkers out of danger, the law was unpopular from the moment Cuomo set down his pen. Among other heavy regulations, it banned the use of “assault weapons” – this was the state’s definition of guns such as AR-15 semi-automatic rifles – and demanded stricter registration requirements. These rules created an environment in which almost 1,200 felonies were documented against gun owners in just one year after the law was enforced.

New Yorkers who cherish their Second Amendment rights have refused to let the state turn them into criminals, organizing large scale protests to give Cuomo a piece of their minds. Unfortunately, however, their demands have not carried far past Albany. The SAFE Act is still very much reality.

While protesters and legislators have failed to get rid of the entire law, this new baby step strategy just might work.

Guy Benson - WH: Why Yes, Obama is Looking into Raising Taxes by Executive Order
Posted: 3/3/2015 10:35:00 AM EST

I'm re-upping Conn's report from yesterday because it deserves amplification. We already knew that President Obama was happy to continue waging war in Libya even after his lawyers told him he needed Congressional approval. We already knew that he was willing to alter and delay major portions of Obamacare, regardless of the statutory language. And we already knew that he was eager to indefinitely suspend deportations for millions of illegal immigrant adults -- and proactively give them legal work papers, making them eligible for billions in tax credits -- despite years of explicitly arguing that he didn't have the authority to do so.  In an effort to illustrate the consequences of this lawlessness for liberals, some conservatives have argued that the "Obama precedent" may well be exploited by future Republican chief executives to justify highly dubious end-runs around the Constitution's separation of powers to achieve conservative goals.  Many liberals don't seem too bothered this, alas, secure in the knowledge that such an attempt would be treated by the press as full-blown national crisis, as opposed to an interesting Beltway process fight. One idea that's been floated is that a GOP president could issue an executive action ordering the IRS to cease enforcing all tax collection over a certain percentage of income, thus implementing a flat tax by fiat. If the media rules were equal for both sides, Congressional Democrats would complain bitterly, file lawsuits, and try to use the power of the purse to defund or reverse their nemesis' actions. Republicans would respond by calling Democrats unhinged and hyperbolic, the lawsuits would drag on, and Congressional push-back would be filibustered or vetoed.  It now looks like the Obama administration is looking into to beating hypothetical future power abusers to the punch:

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest confirmed Monday that President Obama is "very interested" in the idea of raising taxes through unilateral executive action. "The president certainly has not indicated any reticence in using his executive authority to try and advance an agenda that benefits middle class Americans," Earnest said in response to a question about Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) calling on Obama to raise more than $100 billion in taxes through IRS executive action. "Now I don't want to leave you with the impression that there is some imminent announcement, there is not, at least that I know of," Earnest continued. "But the president has asked his team to examine the array of executive authorities that are available to him to try to make progress on his goals..."

In the new season of Netflix's House of Cards (no spoilers), one of the major plot conflicts revolves around President Underwood's illegal decision to direct federal appropriations for purposes that suit his political interests, but for which Congress did not approve them.  What's cute about the fictionalized depiction of this Constitutional power struggle is that Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill angrily push back against Underwood's overreach, uniting in an effort to block his designs.  On principle.  Back in the real world, Congressional Democrats are writing letters to Obama imploring him to arrogate more power.  Since the Republican Congress is opposed to tax increases, they say, Obama must use executive orders to find ways to increase the tax burden on corporations, which would help pay for other initiatives Obama wants.  This anti-Constitutional cheerleading isn't just coming from a self-described Socialist outlier from Vermont; a top member of the party's leadership, and the Left's current Senate darling are also on board.  Senators Durbin and Warren must believe that if our current president decides he has the power to increase taxes through executive order, future presidents surely can use "enforcement discretion" and other such fig leaves to justify cutting taxes by decree, yes?  This is the path President Obama is establishing as acceptable, with minions in Congress egging him on.  As for Congress' specifically enumerated spending powers, surely this administration isn't quite brazen enough (yet) to simply appropriate funds that weren't approved by Congress, right?  Wrong. Sometimes the ends just justify the means:

The U.S. Treasury Department has rebuffed a request by House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R- Wis., to explain $3 billion in payments that were made to health insurers even though Congress never authorized the spending through annual appropriations. At issue are payments to insurers known as cost-sharing subsidies. These payments come about because President Obama’s healthcare law forces insurers to limit out-of-pocket costs for certain low income individuals by capping consumer expenses, such as deductibles and co-payments, in insurance policies. In exchange for capping these charges, insurers are supposed to receive compensation. What’s tricky is that Congress never authorized any money to make such payments to insurers in its annual appropriations, but the Department of Health and Human Services, with the cooperation of the U.S. Treasury, made them anyway.

And before you ask, yes, this is part of Congressional Republicans' Obamacare lawsuit, which Democrats are amusingly decrying as a waste of taxpayer money. I'll leave you with a golden oldie of our Constitutionalist-in-Chief diagnosing America's biggest Bush-era problem:

Katie Pavlich - Surprise: Hillary Clinton Went Around Federal Law, Used Her Personal Email Account For Official Business as Secretary of State
Posted: 3/3/2015 8:20:00 AM EST

What difference does it make if you conduct your entire State Department career as secretary on personal email? A huge difference. 

According to a new report in the New York Times, (yes, the New York Times), Hillary Clinton used her personal email account to conduct pretty much all of her official government business during her time at the State Department. 

Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.

Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.

It was only two months ago, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, that Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department. All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the department. Mrs. Clinton stepped down from the secretary’s post in early 2013.

Her expansive use of the private account was alarming to current and former National Archives and Records Administration officials and government watchdogs, who called it a serious breach.

This isn't the first time the Obama administration has been caught evading federal records laws by using personal email, which ultimately allows officials to escape scrutiny under the Freedom of Information Act and Congressional investigation. During Operation Fast and Furious, former Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer got caught fowarding and editing official information about the scandal to his personal email account. Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano claimed she didn't have an email account. IRS officials caught up in the targeting of conservatives, including Lois Lerner, used a personal email account to conduct official government business. Former DOJ Civil Rights attorney and current Labor Secretary Tom Perez used his personal email account during his time at DOJ for official business. Just yesterday, a federal judge ruled the EPA lied about transparency in response to FOIA requests, and in the past, EPA officials have been caught violating federal records laws by using personal email to conduct government business. 

But back to Hillary. Here's another interesting and very telling nugget.

The existence of Mrs. Clinton’s personal email account was discovered as a House committee investigating the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi sought correspondence between Mrs. Clinton and her aides about the attack.

The Benghazi Select Committee, headed by Congressman Trey Gowdy, is continuing its investigation. In the meantime, Clinton will certainly have to answer for her non-transparency and years of federal law violation should she announce a run for the White House in April. 

Katie Pavlich - House Judiciary Chairman: ATF Attempt to Ban AR-15 Ammo By Executive Order is "Preposterous"
Posted: 3/3/2015 7:50:00 AM EST

Last week on behalf of the bipartisan House Judiciary Committee, Chairman Bob Goodlatte sent a letter to ATF Director B. Todd Jones demanding answers about a pending ban on commonly used AR-15 ammunition, better known as 5.56 M855 ball ammunition. ATF recently proposed the ban and broadly cited law enforcement officer safety as its justification, saying the ammunition is "armor piercing," but provided zero evidence to back up their endangerment claim. 

In the letter, Goodlatte points out ATF's efforts to broadly claim legal jurisdiction over commonly used sporting ammunition. Here's some legal background from the letter about ATF's conclusion: 

As you know, the ban on “armor piercing” ammunition was created by the Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act (LEOPA) of 1986. The Act was conceived to protect police officers from the hazards presented by so-called "armor piercing" projectiles–originally designed for law enforcement and military use—that can be fired from handguns and penetrate the sort of soft body armor typically worn by police officers.

To do this, LEOPA bans various sorts of non-lead projectiles or projectile “cores” that “may be” used in handguns. As LEOPA’s authors realized, however, bullets fired from most common rifle cartridges can penetrate soft body armor, and some rifle bullets can be loaded into ammunition for handguns. Congress therefore incorporated an exemption into LEOPA for projectiles “which the Attorney General finds [are] primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes” to protect ordinary rifle ammunition from being swept up in the ban.

The “Framework” is intended to answer the question of how the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) will make “sporting purposes” determinations. It creates a two-prong test. First, ATF will exempt a “.22 caliber projectile … if the projectile weighs 40 grains or less AND is loaded into a rimfire cartridge.” Second, ATF will exempt other projectiles if they are “loaded into a cartridge for which the only handgun that is readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade is a single shot handgun.” Even then, ATF –under this supposedly “objective” test – “retains the discretion to deny any application for a ‘sporting purposes’ exemption if substantial evidence exists that the ammunition is not primarily intended for such purposes.”

"The proposed “Framework” purports to establish an “objective” test for determining whether certain projectiles otherwise considered “armor piercing” under federal law qualify for an exemption allowing them to be lawfully manufactured, imported, and sold on the civilian market in the United States. The 'Framework,' however, 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," Goodlatte wrote in the letter. "The effects of these restrictive interpretations are untenable. For example, since 1986 ATF has considered the M855 5.56 x 45mm cartridge to be “exempt” under the sporting purposes test (although its core contains a substantial amount of lead, raising questions about its classification as “armor piercing” in the first place). ATF has now rescinded that exemption because repeating handguns that fire the M855 round are commercially 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 purposes is preposterous."

"The “Framework” does not comport with LEOPA’s meaning and intent and should be abandoned. ATF should refocus its efforts on serious threats to law enforcement officers from specially designed armor piercing projectiles that are intended for use in the sort of handguns commonly carried and concealed by criminals. Under no circumstances should ATF adopt a standard that will ban ammunition that is overwhelmingly used by law-abiding Americans for legitimate purposes," Goodlatte concluded.

ATF is taking public comments through March 16, 2015 about the proposed ban through email at and by fax at (202) 648-9741. Comments can also be sent through the mail to: 

  • Denise Brown, Mailstop 6N-602, Office of Regulatory Affairs, Enforcement Programs and Services, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, 99 New York Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20226: ATTN: AP Ammo Comments

The National Shooting Sports Foundation has requested ATF extend the commenting period for an additional 60 days. 

"Given the breadth of the impact this new framework will have on the industry and the number of calibers in question, we believe the 30 days allotted by the ATF is not sufficient for companies in the industry and the general public to provide meaningful comments and suggestions," NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Larry Keane wrote in a separate letter to ATF Director Jones last week.

Lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle are decrying ATF's efforts.

The bottom line: This is a backdoor attempt by the Obama administration to make AR-15 sporting rifles, which the President and gun control zealots in Congress have tried to ban for a decade, inoperable. Guns are no good without ammunition and you can bet the Obama administration is fully aware of that fact.

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