Lawmakers Decry ATF's Proposed AR-15 Bullet Restrictions

Daines, shown here being sworn-in earlier this year, is jumping into the controversy over new bullet restrictions proposed by the White House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

An Obama administration proposal to prohibit certain bullets has been raising the ire of lawmakers on Capitol Hill this week, with senators on Thursday joining calls for the executive branch to back down.  

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., sent a letter Thursday to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Director B. Todd Jones opposing restrictions on M855 "green tip" ammunition for the AR-15 rifle. The ATF's draft framework proposes to roll back a 1986 exception granted to the bullets from a ban on "armor-piercing ammunition."  

"The Obama administration’s blatant disregard for the Second Amendment and efforts to restrict Montanans' right to keep and bear arms through unilateral action must be stopped. I will continue fighting to protect Montanans' Second Amendment rights and halt any efforts to infringe upon our Constitutional freedoms," Daines said in a statement.  

Sen. David Vitter teamed up with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a fellow Louisiana Republican in sending a similar missive. Vitter and Scalise contend the proposed change is not tied to any actual incidents of shootings of police.  

"The stated purpose of the LEOPA changes to the Gun Control Act are to protect law enforcement officers from the threat of easily-concealed handguns firing rounds capable of overcoming their bullet proof vests.  There's no evidence that a law enforcement officer has ever been fired upon by an AR-15 'pistol' shooting the M855 round.  This reversal of long-standing precedent seems to be a vindictive attempt to attack users of the most popular sporting rifle in the United States: the AR-15 series of firearms," the Louisianans wrote. "This is nothing more than an overreaching attempt at expanding gun control."  

Thursday's additional letters follow a Wednesday letter signed by 239 House members led by Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte of Virginia and Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin.  

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