As the timeline winds down for the commenting period on regulation changes, the National Rifle Association is running on all cylinders rallying its base and conservatives to fight a de facto ban on 5.56 “green tip” ammunition.
The gun lobby blames President Obama directly for a proposed ammo ban by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
“Obama said he would enact his gun control agenda ‘with or without Congress.’ He is now trying to make good on that promise,” said Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, who appeared on Fox’s The Kelly File with Megyn Kelly Wednesday night.
“This president hates guns, he always has. He doesn’t care for the constitution, he says he’s got a cell phone and his pen, and he’s gonna ignore it. We can’t do much about his hatred, but we can do something about his trying to dismantle the Second Amendment,” he told Kelly.
“This is a solution not to a problem, it’s a solution to Barack Obama’s gun control problem. He couldn’t get it through congress so he’s gonna go back door,” Cox added.
The NRA describes the ban as an executive action, referring to the president’s efforts following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The Obama Administration released a detailed plan in January 2013 to reduce gun violence in the U.S.
The plan included prohibiting the possession and sale of armor piercing ammunition, but efforts died down after the U.S. Senate failed to garner enough votes to push forth an expanded background check bill in April 2013.
NRA’s executive vice president and chief executive officer, Wayne LaPierre, doubled down on the rhetoric when he appeared on Fox Business earlier Wednesday.
“He’s grasping at straws. This is a president that hates the Second Amendment. Hates the constitutional right of Americans to own firearms. He can’t win at the ballot box. He can’t win in Congress, so he’s putting on his dictator’s hat and he’s gonna do it by fiat,” LaPierre said.
“If he can ban this ammunition under this false premise, he can ban all ammunition,” he added.
The gun lobby aided House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, to gather 238 signatures from congressmen on a letter opposing the ban. And the group said it is working with Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, on a similar letter from the U.S. Senate.
The White House press secretary addressed the 5.56 “green tip” ammo ban during a briefing with reporters on Tuesday. He said while the president supports prohibiting armor-piercing bullets, questions about the ban should be directed to the agency that proposed it.
The ATF said its proposal stems from meetings with representatives from law enforcement, the gun and ammo industries, and non-governmental organizations in November 2012 to discuss sporting purpose exemptions for armor-piercing ammo.
The 17-page proposal is not an explicit ban on a specific type of ammunition, but states changing the framework would give the ATF the legal authority to more easily exempt armor piercing rounds for sporting purposes. The agency suggests approving the changes would prevent a ban on green tip ammo.
The ATF opened a 30-day window for the public to comment on the proposal. It closes March 16.