By Dean Weingarten
Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- The BATF has backed off of the attempt to ban M855 and SS109 5.56×45 ammunition.
The ban never made any sense as a means to protect police, because virtually all 5.56×45 ammunition will pierce normal police body armor. The only excuse for the ban was that the bullets in the ammunition mentioned have a bit of steel in the tip.
Let me emphasize this important fact: virtually all of the ammunition fired in the firearms that chamber this ammunition will penetrate the common body armor worn by police officers.
The importance of that fact is to point out that the ban was purely political in nature. I do not think that the administration expected the firestorm of opposition that they ignited with this move. I think that is why the online edition of the regulations was changed, and I have a difficult time believing that it was done in error. These sort of regulations are not changed lightly. I have seen how lesser regulations are changed in my 30 year bureaucratic career in the Department of Defense. The changes are vetted 7 ways from Sunday. All changes are tracked. All drafts of the changes, and the people who signed off on them probably have a great digital and email trail.
The common wisdom is that political outrage from the public and Congress caused the BATF to back off. This administration has not allowed such outrage to stop it in other circumstances. As a retired bureaucrat, my interpretation is that the BATF management is doing this as a purely self-protective measure.
With the discovery of the change in the BATF manual online, that eliminated the exception for M855 and SS109 ammunition before they made the announcement, the ATF management understood that it was hanging way out in the wind, with very little protection or support.
The digital trail might well show that they approved of the ban before there was any public comment or due process.
Then there is the little matter of Hillery’s emails. The heightened interest in emails and accountability for them must be giving the BATF management grave concern. They face the real possibility that a congressional committee would actually follow the digital and email trail of who approved of the modifications to the manual. Backing down reduces that possibility enormously.
They have seen that President Obama is willing to kick almost anyone under the bus if it is convenient for him. Consider what the BATF says in its “publishing error” “correction”. Here is the BATF “publishing error” statement:
Please be advised that ATF has not rescinded any armor piercing ammunition exemption, and the fact they are not listed in the 2014 online edition of the regulations was an error which has no legal impact on the validity of the exemptions. The existing exemptions for armor piercing ammunition, which apply to 5.56 mm (.223) SS 109 and M855 projectiles (identified by a green coating on the projectile tip), and the U.S .30-06 M2AP projectile (identified by a black coating on the projectile tip), remain in effect.
Notice the important phrase: “an error which has no legal impact” . It is the BATFE's way to say: We did not do anything wrong; we did not really mean it; and anyway, we have corrected our error, so there is no reason to look further. It is implied that no one actually vetted the “error” or approved of it. If that is indeed the case, it should be easy to show.
This is a perfect opportunity for a freedom of Information act request, or better yet, a congressional investigation. And that is why I believe that the BATFE has backed down. It is a way to cut their losses. If the email trail shows that the changes were vetted and approved by the current BATFE management, they have been caught with their hand in the cookie jar. Bureaucrats in such a case hope to escape with their pensions intact, let alone being forced to retire. The legislative proposals in Congress must be terrifying to the BATFE. There is a good chance that their protectors in the Congress will not be there in two years, and there *will* be a change in the administration.
Perhaps Judicial Watch will craft a freedom of information act request. The BATFE has said that this was an inadvertent error. If that is the case, it is hard to see that they could claim “executive privilege” to shield them from such a request.
c2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch
About Dean Weingarten;
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.