TBA: Another ATF proposal to change armor piercing ammo regs

The commenting period for proposed changes to regulating armor piercing ammunition ended earlier this month, but federal regulators will submit another proposal at some point down the road.

The commenting period garnered more than 310,000 comments, which breaks down to one form letter with more than 67,000 signatures, 135,000 form letters with individual signatures, and more than 108,000 individual comments received either through email, fax or mailed letters, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told Guns.com.

The agency backed down from implementing the changes six days early due to negative feedback. Pro-gun groups inspired followers to take aim at the possible ban of specific type of armor piercing ammo rather than proposed changes.

In the proposal, the ATF aimed to change the process for exempting armor piercing ammo for sporting purposes and suggested that 5.56 “green tip” ammo — composed of M855 cartridges and SS109 bullets — would technically be prohibited under federal law even though it has been exempted for roughly 30 years.

Moving forward, the ATF must sift through comments from the public and possibly even maneuver through newly imposed laws before writing another proposal. Several lawmakers and politicians have addressed the ATF’s efforts, some by introducing laws and others by writing letters.

Legislation to combat future ammo bans in whole or in part has advanced on both the state and federal level. In the U.S. House, Rep. Tom Rooney recently introduced a bill to prohibit the feds from issuing or enforcing a new restriction or ban on the manufacture, importation or sale of ammunition.

In the Republican-dominated Mississippi legislature, the state Senate voted by a whopping 115 to 1 margin to adopt legislation that will, among other things, delete references in current state law referring to ammo classified as being “armor piercing.”

Montana’s attorney general penned a letter, signed by 22 other state attorneys general, urging the ATF to permanently discard an attempted ban on green tip ammo in the future.

Democrats on the other hand, citing public safety concerns, introduced legislation to create a mandate that only military and law enforcement officers are permitted to use the suddenly-controversial 5.56 rounds.

The ATF’s proposal stems from meetings with political, industry and law enforcement groups in the winter of 2012 and then introduced its proposal last month.

Whenever it does introduce another proposal, the ATF said it will again open it up for public comment.