ATF to Suspend ‘Green Tip’ Ammo Ban, Reclassification

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The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives announced on Tuesday that it will be suspending its campaign to “reclassify” — or as the gun community calls it, “ban” — M855 rounds, also known as “green tip” ammo.

It appears that after receiving more than 80,000 comments on the proposed framework for determining whether certain projectiles are “primarily intended for sporting purposes” within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(C), the ATF decided that it needed more time to research and reflect on the matter.

“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,” said the agency in a statement.

“Accordingly, ATF will not at this time seek to issue a final framework,” the statement continued.

While gun owners may be quick to hail this as a victory, the ATF may come back to the issue in the future.

“After the close of the comment period [March 16, 2015], 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,” the statement concluded.

Yet, despite those words, it was viewed as a stinging defeat for gun control advocates. Ladd Everitt, for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, said the announcement was “very disappointing.”

“The ATF is undoubtedly cognizant that our Congress is under Republican control and they are dependent on that majority for funding,” Everitt surmised in an email to GunsAmerica.

“Perhaps they believed that the reprisals for ‘crossing’ the gun industry would put law enforcement in greater danger than delaying this proposal for further consideration,” Everitt continued. “It certainly now sends a dangerous message to the gun industry that anything goes when it comes to militarizing the civilian marketplace for firearms.”

Meanwhile, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade organization, released this Statement:

ATF announced today that it will not move forward with its proposed framework to ban commonplace 5.56 M855 “green tip” ammunition at this time while it reviews the record number (more than 80,000) comments it has received so far. ATF will continue to accept comments through March 16. NSSF, as the trade association for the firearms industry, looks forward to engaging in a dialogue with ATF to address this issue that led to the now withdrawn proposal. Our industry members hope to meet consumer demand in bringing alternative ammunition products to the market and to continue to sell the popular M855 rifle target ammunition. NSSF continues to strongly urge ATF to grant 32 long-pending petitions to exempt alternative rifle ammunition designed and intended for the h
unting market.

GunsAmerica also reached out to NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation for comment. Will update when those pro-gun groups get back to us.

UPDATE, 2:38 PM: Statement from Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation.

“This is a great victory but the battle is not over. The Obama administration will try to rework this ban proposal and we will see it back sooner than later,” said Gottlieb in an email to GunsAmerica. “Now is the time to double our efforts and drive a permanent stake in any ammo ban.”

UPDATE, 4:02 PM: Statement form Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox of the National Rifle Association:

“Today’s announcement proves what we have said all along — this was 100% political. President Obama failed to pass gun control through Congress, so he tried impose his political agenda through executive fiat. But every gun owner in America needs to understand Barack Obama’s hatred of the Second Amendment has not changed,” said Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association.

“Make no mistake, this fight is not over. We will remain vigilant and continue to fight against President Obama’s attempt to dismantle the Second Amendment,” concluded LaPierre.

Chris Cox, Executive Director of NRA-ILA criticized the dishonest campaign to ban this common ammunition: “The lies used to justify the ban were shameful. This proposal was never about law enforcement safety – it was about the Obama Administration’s desire to pander to billionaire Michael Bloomberg and his gun control groups. Since they haven’t been able to ban America’s most popular rifle, they are trying to ban the ammunition instead.”

“The NRA would like to thank House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and House Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Culberson for leading the fight against this unconstitutional attack on our Second Amendment freedoms,” continued Cox. “This was a significant victory for our five million members and tens of millions of supporters across the country.”

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Praedor May 26, 2017, 7:37 am

    Huh. I wonder if this would carry over to Alco steel-tipped bullets? Alco had to quit making steel-topped bullets because the ATF didn’t like the bullets having steel spire points, even though the bullets we’re NOT AP rounds any more than these green tips are.

    Maybe the Alco aluminum tops are super ballistically (have y’all checked it the Ballistics of Alco bullets? Puts the .308 on par with 6.5mm Creedmores…literally) but I’d certainly be interested to know. I wanted the steel tops because I like to chat my bullets with boron nitride and worry about the ability of the sharp aluminum tips surviving the process in a shaker (steel shot impact coating).

  • Steve April 1, 2015, 9:29 am

    The ATF needs to be disbanded. Just look at how they waste our money. There are too many federal agencies, and this one is trying to justify their existence WITH USELESS AND EXPENSIVE TACTICS. The enforcement is way to broad. Alcohol is handled well without this agency, and just what is wrong with local enforcement? Do we need repetitive enforcement by multiple departments, and can we afford it?. Do we need tobacco cops? Fire arms can be handled by the FBI. Too many questions surrounding you ATF.

  • Russ March 17, 2015, 3:51 pm
  • Mitch Holin Sr. March 16, 2015, 9:38 pm

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I oppose any ban on M855 5.56 mm ammunition that may be forthcoming pending government review of the cartridge. This ammunition is the second most popular ammunition used by American citizens owning firearms chambered in that caliber. Furthermore, this ammunition is readily available (other than during times when our citizens feel our government may ban it), and it relatively cheap since military surplus ammunition may be readily purchased. Americans use the M855 cartridge for recreational shooting, hunting and home defense.

    Our government’s position that this “armor piercing” ammunition is now being chambered in pistols (handguns) and therefore a danger to law enforcement personnel is misleading (apparently deliberately so). The M855 is primarily a rifle cartridge, but rifle cartridges have been chambered in handguns for decades. Furthermore, virtually all rifle cartridges will pierce personal body armor at handgun ranges. Significantly, no law enforcement officer has been harmed by a M855 cartridge. Finally, most law enforcement personnel oppose proposals to ban this ammunition.

    I believe that if a ban of the M855 cartridge is decreed, it will be a political decision to satisfy a few at the expense of the many. Additionally, such a ban could then be, arguably, justifiably imposed on all rifle cartridges that can penetrate personal body armor. Parenthetically, a paranoid argument could be made to ban all handguns that are capable of firing rifle ammunition. This entire matter appears to be an attempt by a politically motivated clique to deny Constitution rights to our nation’s citizens and snub our Congress – citizens want accessibility to the M855 cartridge and Congress chose not to impose bans on legal firearms that fire it. Banning the M855 cartridge would be an unacceptable violation of the principles of our great nation.

    Honor our Constitutional rights, respect our nation’s citizens and be guided by Congressional actions.

    Respectfully,

    Mitch Holin Sr. Combat Veteran
    6940 Seascape Drive
    Grand Prairie, Texas. 75054
    703-201-7964

  • Steve Turner March 16, 2015, 8:49 am

    SUGGESTED E-MAIL TO BATF by March 16th. 2015

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I oppose any ban on M855 5.56 mm ammunition that may be forthcoming pending government review of the cartridge. This ammunition is the second most popular ammunition used by American citizens owning firearms chambered in that caliber. Furthermore, this ammunition is readily available (other than during times when our citizens feel our government may ban it), and it relatively cheap since military surplus ammunition may be readily purchased. Americans use the M855 cartridge for recreational shooting, hunting and home defense.

    Our government’s position that this “armor piercing” ammunition is now being chambered in pistols (handguns) and therefore a danger to law enforcement personnel is misleading (apparently deliberately so). The M855 is primarily a rifle cartridge, but rifle cartridges have been chambered in handguns for decades. Furthermore, virtually all rifle cartridges will pierce personal body armor at handgun ranges. Significantly, no law enforcement officer has been harmed by a M855 cartridge. Finally, most law enforcement personnel oppose proposals to ban this ammunition.

    I believe that if a ban of the M855 cartridge is decreed, it will be a political decision to satisfy a few at the expense of the many. Additionally, such a ban could then be, arguably, justifiably imposed on all rifle cartridges that can penetrate personal body armor. Parenthetically, a paranoid argument could be made to ban all handguns that are capable of firing rifle ammunition. This entire matter appears to be an attempt by a politically motivated clique to deny Constitution rights to our nation’s citizens and snub our Congress – citizens want accessibility to the M855 cartridge and Congress chose not to impose bans on legal firearms that fire it. Banning the M855 cartridge would be an unacceptable violation of the principles of our great nation.

    Honor our Constitutional rights, respect our nation’s citizens and be guided by Congressional actions.

    Respectfully,

    Steve Turner

    204 Morningstar Drive
    Longview, TX 75605
    318-480-8895

  • Ralph Long March 16, 2015, 8:45 am

    The Congress and the federal courts have given federal agencies way too much power to “make law.” It’s time for the people to push for the adoption of the “REGULATION FREEDOM” AMENDMENT (RFA) to the U.S. Constitution. The RFA says, “Whenever one quarter of the Members of the U.S. House or the U.S. Senate transmit to the President their written declaration of opposition to a proposed federal regulation, it shall require a majority vote of the House and Senate to adopt that regulation.”

    The likelihood of getting 2/3 of Congress to propose a Regulation Freedom Amendment under current conditions is small at best. However there is an achievable legal and political strategy for empowering two-thirds of the states to force Congress to propose such an Amendment. In fact 11 legislatures are have passed or are considering the RFA and the “Faithful Delegate” laws right now.

    That strategy involves passing state laws in a majority of states, state constitutional amendments in 13 states, and a U.S. House Rule, along with obtaining a pledge by 41 U.S. Senators, to protect the Constitution from the risk of a so-called “runaway convention.” The state law would strictly limit the authority of delegates to the scope of the state’s Article V Resolution and replace and punish delegates who violated the law in the same way some states now punish faithless presidential electors. If the law were in effect in a majority of states with a majority of the population, a majority of delegates at any convention would be required to limit the scope of that convention.

    The state constitutional amendment would prohibit that state from considering or ratifying a runaway amendment, in other words any amendment from a convention that the states who called the convention did not authorize the convention to consider.

    Research the RFA and the Madison Coalition, write your Legislators at the State Capital and encourage them to reign in the power of these federal agencies, including the ATF. You may have to educate them, but isn’t our liberty worth it?

  • Tommy Wheeler March 16, 2015, 6:06 am

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I oppose any ban on M855 5.56 mm ammunition that may be forthcoming pending government review of the cartridge. This ammunition is the second most popular ammunition used by American citizens owning firearms chambered in that caliber. Furthermore, this ammunition is readily available (other than during times when our citizens feel our government may ban it), and it relatively cheap since military surplus ammunition may be readily purchased. Americans use the M855 cartridge for recreational shooting, hunting and home defense.

    Our government’s position that this “armor piercing” ammunition is now being chambered in pistols (handguns) and therefore a danger to law enforcement personnel is misleading (apparently deliberately so). The M855 is primarily a rifle cartridge, but rifle cartridges have been chambered in handguns for decades. Furthermore, virtually all rifle cartridges will pierce personal body armor at handgun ranges. Significantly, no law enforcement officer has been harmed by a M855 cartridge. Finally, most law enforcement personnel oppose proposals to ban this ammunition.

    I believe that if a ban of the M855 cartridge is decreed, it will be a political decision to satisfy a few at the expense of the many. Additionally, such a ban could then be, arguably, justifiably imposed on all rifle cartridges that can penetrate personal body armor. Parenthetically, a paranoid argument could be made to ban all handguns that are capable of firing rifle ammunition. This entire matter appears to be an attempt by a politically motivated clique to deny Constitution rights to our nation’s citizens and snub our Congress – citizens want accessibility to the M855 cartridge and Congress chose not to impose bans on legal firearms that fire it. Banning the M855 cartridge would be an unacceptable violation of the principles of our great nation.

    Honor our Constitutional rights, respect our nation’s citizens and be guided by Congressional actions.

    Respectfully,

    Name
    Tommy Wheeler

    216 Greenbriar Drive
    West Monroe, LA 71291

    318-396-1190

  • william massi jr. March 16, 2015, 5:51 am

    This Will Happen, When You Are Asleep, One Night, And The Guy In The WHITE HOUSE. Will Signe It In To , LAW. And Dont Care What You Think. Just Like He Is Doing With, What Every He Want’s. And Then Get’s Lot’s Of Help From. The Gasnge, In Hallewood, , To Help Him. And Then Have A BIG PARTY For All Of Them, On Our MONEY. GOD BLESS THE U.S.A., And All The Boy’s That Have Come Home, With No Arms, Or Leg’s, Or No Brain, To Think With. He Wount Go have A BIG, Party For Them. Will He. To Bad. I Will , Be There Till I DIE. And I Am 81, And Not Much Time To Go. And YES, An X-MARINE.

  • Will Drider March 11, 2015, 8:41 pm

    THIS IS STILL AN ACTIVE ISSUE AND PEOPLE SHOULD CONTINUE TO MAKE COMMENTS ON THE PROPOSAL!
    All BATFE said was they got 80K comments so far and they needed (time/delay) to review them. Even if they acknowledge 99% are critical of their “Framework” it does not mean BATFE/Obama won’t enact the restriction regardless of the public comments. This process which includes the required public comment period, will not be repeated as there is now a check mark in that box. BATFE will go through the required steps as all you celebrators move to other issues. BATFE WILL THEN MAKE THE “Framework” permanent changing the Codes, Regs, Laws and references as they origionally intended. STAY VIGILLIANT.

  • William D. Nielsen March 10, 2015, 6:50 pm

    SUGGESTED E-MAIL TO BATF by March 16th. 2015

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I oppose any ban on M855 5.56 mm ammunition that may be forthcoming pending government review of the cartridge. This ammunition is the second most popular ammunition used by American citizens owning firearms chambered in that caliber. Furthermore, this ammunition is readily available (other than during times when our citizens feel our government may ban it), and it relatively cheap since military surplus ammunition may be readily purchased. Americans use the M855 cartridge for recreational shooting, hunting and home defense.

    Our government’s position that this “armor piercing” ammunition is now being chambered in pistols (handguns) and therefore a danger to law enforcement personnel is misleading (apparently deliberately so). The M855 is primarily a rifle cartridge, but rifle cartridges have been chambered in handguns for decades. Furthermore, virtually all rifle cartridges will pierce personal body armor at handgun ranges. Significantly, no law enforcement officer has been harmed by a M855 cartridge. Finally, most law enforcement personnel oppose proposals to ban this ammunition.

    I believe that if a ban of the M855 cartridge is decreed, it will be a political decision to satisfy a few at the expense of the many. Additionally, such a ban could then be, arguably, justifiably imposed on all rifle cartridges that can penetrate personal body armor. Parenthetically, a paranoid argument could be made to ban all handguns that are capable of firing rifle ammunition. This entire matter appears to be an attempt by a politically motivated clique to deny Constitution rights to our nation’s citizens and snub our Congress – citizens want accessibility to the M855 cartridge and Congress chose not to impose bans on legal firearms that fire it. Banning the M855 cartridge would be an unacceptable violation of the principles of our great nation.

    Honor our Constitutional rights, respect our nation’s citizens and be guided by Congressional actions.

    Respectfully,

    Name
    Title if applicable

    Address: street, city, state and ZIP

    Telephone number

    • Robert Hayden March 16, 2015, 10:28 am

      I believe the Second Amendment verifies our right to self defense with any arm and ammunition. Including but not limited to any thing available to the military of any nation with no reservations.

      “The right to bear arms shall not be infringed”

      What is ambiguous about that statement?

    • dink winkerson March 16, 2015, 5:49 pm

      There have been several tests that have shown this ammo is stoppable with level 3 body armor, which is what law enforcement wears. Should this be doubted, search it out on youtube.

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