The U.S. government temporarily pulled an attempt to ban armor-piercing ammunition on Tuesday after opposition from members of the Congress and gun rights supporters. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) said it will study more comments and conduct a review of its proposed plan to prohibit the 5.56 mm M855 “green tip” ammunition before proposing new changes.
ATF HQ (@ATFHQ) March 10, 2015
The ammo, which is commonly used in the popular AR-15 rifle, is capable of piercing body armor used by police officers. Similar armor-piercing bullets have been outlawed for handguns, but the green tip has not been banned because it is used in assault rifles, and comes under different laws, Reuters reported.
The proposal was criticized by the National Rifle Association (NRA), and Congress members including Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., who said the ATF’s proposed ban would have overreached. “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,” the statement read.
Goodlatte had also previously written a letter, which was co-signed by 236 other members of Congress, to ATF Director Byron Todd Jones, to express “serious concern” about the proposed measure.
"Under no circumstances should ATF adopt a legal standard that will ban ammunition that is overwhelmingly used by law-abiding Americans for legitimate purposes," the senators said in the letter dated March 4.
CNN reported a boost in sales ahead of the scheduled ban, with stores reporting a major increase in the amount of green tip ammunition being sold. "We are hearing and seeing reports that ATF's proposal has caused a run on M855," Larry Keane, counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an industry group, reportedly said.