In a briefing with reporters on Monday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest defended the Obama administration’s support of a proposal to ban a common type of rifle ammunition. Last month the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) announced that it will be considering a ban on 5.56x45mm M855 ball ammunition, commonly called “green tips.” The ammunition is popular among recreational shooters and some hunters, and the ATF is seeking to reclassify M855 as “armor piercing” ammunition.
At the briefing, Earnest reiterated President Obama’s support for the BATFE proposal. He said that the administration is pursuing “common sense” gun control measures.
“It would be fair to say, as we are looking at additional ways to protect our brave men and women in law enforcement, and believe that this process is valuable for that reason alone,” Earnest told TheBlaze’s Fred Lucas during the briefing. “This seems to be an area where everyone should agree that if there are armor-piercing bullets that fit into easily concealed weapons, that puts our law enforcement at considerably more risk.”
Earnest added the ban fell under the “category of common sense steps the government can take to protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans, while also making sure that our law enforcement officers who are walking the beat every day can do their jobs just a little more safely.”
The news that a cheap and popular type of ammunition could soon disappear from the shelves did not sit well with gun owners. The National Rifle Association (NRA) opposes the ban, saying that it would not only reduce the availability of ammunition, but also set a dangerous precedent for further gun control actions.
“President Obama insisted that if Congress would not enact his gun control agenda, he would do so on his own, through executive action. Whatever else can be said of the president’s track record, he is doing his utmost to keep that promise,” The NRA stated last month. “Having failed to enact a federal ban on the AR-15, America’s most popular rifle, he’s now using the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to do the next best thing. BATFE is now proposing to ban a whole class of common rifle ammunition used in that overwhelmingly popular firearm.”
Erich Pratt of Gun Owners of America said that the proposed ban is another way for the administration to reduce the popularity of AR-15 style rifles.
“So the proposed ATF ban on M855 ammo is simply an attempt by the Obama administration to make an end-run around the Congress,” Pratt told TheBlaze. “After all, if it can ban a common cartridge that is used for the AR-15 rifle, then it can substantially drive up the cost of using the firearm.”
To learn about how you can help protect M855, visit SaveM855.com.
The BATFE will accept public comments through March 16. You can watch press secretary Josh Earnest speak about the ammo ban below.