After an unprecedented response, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms has temporarily pulled its proposal to ban common AR-15 M855 "green tip" ammunition.
"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," an ATF press release states (emphasis mine). "Accordingly, ATF will not at this time seek to issue a final framework. After the close of the comment period, ATF will process the comments received, further evaluate the issues raised therein, and provide additional open and transparent process (for example, through additional proposals and opportunities for comment) before proceeding with any framework."
Members on both sides of the aisle in Congress have also been highly critical of the proposal, along with the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation. The Bureau received extra scrutiny last week when it was discovered the new ATF 2014 Regulation Guidebook did not include an exemption for AR-15 "green tip" ammunition as "armor piercing." ATF has said the Regulation Guidebook will be updated to include the exemption.
ATF released the proposal in February for public comment, citing law enforcement safety as justification for the ban. A timeline for "further study" of the proposed ban has not been issued.
“After much pressure from a large, bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives, I am pleased that the Obama Administration has abandoned its attack on the Second Amendment. Congress will continue to steadfastly protect the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens and it is entirely inappropriate for President Obama to stretch his regulatory authority to implement partisan policies that Congress has refused to enact. Such an abuse of power would impact many law-abiding gun owners and restrict the American people’s ability to legally and responsibly exercise their Second Amendment rights," House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) said in a statement. “I and other members of the House Judiciary Committee will continue to keep a watchful eye on the Obama Administration so that we protect Americans’ constitutional rights. We cannot allow the President of the United States to infringe upon the Second Amendment rights afforded to all Americans.”
Despite the reversal, ATF will continue taking public comments about this proposal through March 16. "Green tip" ammunition is safe, for now.
This post has been updated with additional information.