Thursday, March 19, 2015

After ATF Ammo Ban Fails, Dem Leaders Double Down

Following ATF’s decision to delay a proposed ban on M855 ammo, Democrat legislators are trying to ban the ammunition on their own.

M855 ammo has traditionally been exempt from restrictions on “armor piercing” ammunition because it is primarily used by hunters and sportsmen. It is one of the most popular rounds on the market due to its widespread availability and accuracy.

Last month, the ATF announced plans to re-categorize the ammo and “armor piercing,” taking it off the general market. After receiving more than 80,000 complaints, ATF backed down and announced that the ban would be delayed.

The new bill, introduced to the House by Rep. Jack Speier (D-CA) and Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), expands on the ATF proposal by banning any ammunition that can be loaded into a handgun and “can penetrate the soft body armor often worn by police.”

As has pointed out, this would technically include any rifle round that can be loaded into a handgun.

Republicans fired back on Monday with their own bill specifically exempting M855 ammo and all other rifle ammo from the government’s definition of “armor-piercing.”

NRA Investigating Grover Norquist’s Alleged Ties To Muslim Groups

The NRA is investigating board member Grover Norquist’s alleged ties to Islamist groups, following Glenn Beck’s vow to resign his lifetime membership if Norquist is re-elected to the board this year.

Beck reported on Norquist's alleged ties to terrorist groups on his show last week. His report focused on an organization that Norquist co-founded, the Islamic Free Market Institute, which Beck says may have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Whether Beck’s claims have any merit will be determined by the investigation. Norquist himself welcomed the inquest, saying that he hopes the NRA investigation will “put a stake through the heart” of the rumors once and for all.

But the NRA’s investigation also raises another question – why is Grover Norquist on the NRA board in the first place?

Norquist is a professional influence peddler and establishment-type best known for using his “anti-tax” organizations to funnel money to Jack Abramoff. He has also lobbied for Fannie Mae, attacked Ted Cruz’ effort to defund Obamacare and, most recently, served as the public face of an advertising campaign for immigration amnesty funded by George Soros.

The NRA’s involvement with Norquist might be excusable if he were an uncompromising supporter of the Second Amendment. But he isn’t. In 2012, the Examiner reported that he had endorsed, campaigned for, and made a video on behalf of award-winning gun control advocate Robert Dold.

NRA leaders are doing the right thing in investigating Beck’s allegations against Norquist. But they put themselves in this position by allowing an establishment moderate – with no commitment to gun rights -- onto their board in the first place.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Supreme Court Judge Refuses To Stay California City’s Magazine Ban

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy rejected a request to block enforcement of Sunnyvale, CA’s new ban on large capacity magazines. The ban, which was passed in 2013, went into effect last week.

A group of gun owners has been challenging the ban in court, alleging that it violates their constitutional rights. Last week, an appeals court refused to issue a preliminary injunction to prevent the ban from going into effect while the legal challenges to the ban are still underway.

The appeals court ruled that the ban “applies only the most minor burden on the Second Amendment,” adding that “Sunnyvale’s interests in promoting public safety and reducing violent crime were substantial and important government interests.”

Following last week’s appeals court ruling, the plaintiffs turned to Justice Kennedy as a last resort. His refusal to issue an injunction is not all that surprising, given that the Supreme Court rarely awards emergency injunctions in cases like this.

In practical terms, though, this means that any resident of Sunnyvale who owns a magazine that holds more than ten rounds is now committing a misdemeanor punishable by six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.

While it is not clear how many Sunnyvale residents will be affected by the ban, research has shown that more than half of the magazines in the United States hold more than ten rounds.

The ongoing legal battle over the ban will continue in April, when the parties are due to submit their briefs.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Opposition Mounting To Obama’s Ammo Ban

Police officers, lawmakers and gun shop owners are coming forward to challenge an attempt by Obama’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to prohibit one of the most popular forms of ammo in the country.

Critics are saying that there is simply no evidence to support ATF’s claim that banning SS109/M855 ammunition – commonly known as “green tip” ammo -- will protect law enforcement from cop killers. In a letter protesting the ban, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlate writes:  “ATF has not even alleged -- much less offered evidence -- that even one such round has ever been fired from a handgun at a police officer.”

Police officer Jeffery Denning says the same thing, writing on “The truth of the matter is that all my friends in law enforcement that have been shot were NOT shot by armor piercing rounds.  They were shot—and unfortunately one of them was killed—by everyday ammo, so singling out green-tip ammo simply makes no sense to me.”

St. Louis gun shop owner Karl Schoenbeck agrees, telling that green tip ammo is used almost exclusively by hunters and sport shooters. He told CBS: “Most guys that I know who could buy green tip at gun shows years ago would lay in a supply of it simply because it shot so well. They weren’t going after armor, they were going after just the accuracy of the round.”

Other critics are pointing out that the ban is based on a false interpretation of the law. The legal basis for the ban on M855 bullets is the Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act of 1986, which prohibits so-called “armor-piercing” ammunition that can be fired from handguns. Yet M855 bullets ammo doesn’t fit the law’s definition of armor piercing – not even close.

The Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act defines “armor piercing” bullets as those constructed entirely of “one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper or depleted uranium.” The M855 bullet doesn’t fit that description, because it is made of a much softer metal – lead.

The real motivations for the ATF’s ban are unknown. But one thing is certain – the explanations they are giving just don’t add up.