The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Tuesday dropped — at least for now — a proposal to ban certain ammo used commonly in AR-15 rifles.
In a notice posted Tuesday afternoon, the agency said it “will not at this time seek to issue a final framework” on the proposed ammo ban. ATF took the action even before the end of its public comment period, saying it had received more than 80,000 responses, mostly opposed.
“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.
The agency said after the public comment period closes Friday, it will “further evaluate the issues raised” and provide “additional open and transparent process” before proceeding with any further action. It did not specify what action that might be.
Rep. John Culberson, Texas Republican and chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that oversees the ATF, said the agency “made the right call by reversing course on a misguided plan that would have trampled on Americans’ Second Amendment rights.”
Mr. Culberson said he had a meeting with ATF officials last week that resulted in “a consensus on how to best move forward.”
“This is an example of how regulators and Congress should work together,” Mr. Culberson said. “All of us in Texas love law enforcement and want to help ATF officers stop gun smugglers, drug smugglers and other criminals — not law-abiding American sportsmen who use this ammo every day for target practice, shooting competitions and hunting.”
A group of 53 Republican senators sent a letter Monday to ATF Director Todd Jones objecting to the proposal to outlaw .223-caliber M855 “green tip” ammunition commonly used by sportsmen. The Obama administration maintains that a ban would help to save the lives of law-enforcement officers because the armor-piercing bullets can now be used in modified “handguns.”
A majority of House lawmakers also were on record opposing the proposal.
Mr. Culberson commended the agency for listening to his constituents’ concerns.
“The slippery slope of federal overreach impacts every aspect of our daily lives, and this issue is just another example of how we must be constantly vigilant in protecting the Constitutional rights of law abiding citizens,” he said.