President Obama remains committed to “common-sense” gun regulations, even though his administration backed off a proposal to ban a popular type of armor-piercing ammunition.
“The president’s commitment to putting in place common-sense rules that will protect Second Amendment rights, but also prevent those who shouldn’t have firearms from getting them, is as strong as ever,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Wednesday.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) on Tuesday delayed a plan to ban 5.56mm M855 “green tip” bullets, which are used in AR-15 rifles. That prompted criticism from some Capitol Hill Democrats that the agency caved to the gun lobby.
Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) ripped the ATF, saying the decision puts police officers in danger.
“Our law enforcement officers and first responders risk their lives every day to keep our communities safe,” he said in a statement. “ATF should stop jeopardizing their safety by caving to the gun lobby and implement this common-sense proposal to save lives and keep our men and women in uniform safe.”
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said “it’s shameful that the gun lobby has, yet again, successfully worked to block an effort that would keep our communities safer from the threat of gun violence.”
The National Rifle Association (NRA) spearheaded a campaign against the proposed ban since it was announced last month, arguing that the bullets are commonly used by sportsmen. In announcing the delay, the ATF noted that it received more than 80,000 comments on the proposal, the vast majority of them negative.
Republican lawmakers railed against the rule, arguing that the administration was infringing upon the Second Amendment.
Gun control groups have argued that hunters and sportsmen do not need to use the specific type of bullet in question. And the ATF had said that the bullet could be loaded into certain handguns, which could endanger police officers because the bullets could pierce their body armor.
The ATF said it would re-evaluate the proposal after the comment period closes on March 15.
“After the close of the comment period, 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 agency said in a statement Tuesday.