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RE: Proposed AP Ammo Ban Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Monday, March 16, 2015 To whom it may concern,
From this point forward “we” refers to, Thomas and Tammy Maerling of Greenfield Park, N.Y., our sons, and anyone else who may wish to associate with these comments.
The word “framework” to which I will refer to throughout this comment refers to the BATFE notice, titled, ATF FRAMEWORK FOR DETERMINING WHETHER CERTAIN PROJECTILES ARE “PRIMARILY INTENDED FOR SPORTING PURPOSES” WITHIN THE MEANING OF 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(C)
We are writing in objection to the announced action to “withdraw the exemptions for 5.56 “green tip” ammunition.” On the following grounds:
- The Firearms Alluded To In The “Framework” Are Not Handguns
We would like to first bring your attention to section IV, pages 14 and 15 of the ATF “framework” stating that:
“Specifically, 5.56mm projectiles loaded into the SS109 and M855 cartridges are commonly used in both “AR-type” rifles and “AR-type” handguns. The AR platform is the semi-automatic version of the M16 machinegun originally designed for and used by the military. The AR-based handguns and rifles utilize the same magazines and share identical receivers. These AR-type handguns were not commercially available when the armor piercing ammunition exemption was granted in 1986. To ensure consistency, upon final implementation of the sporting purpose framework outlined above, ATF must withdraw the exemptions for 5.56 mm “green tip” ammunition, including both the SS109 and M855 cartridges.”
It is our belief that the ATF has gravely erred in defining the AR platforms as handguns and based on this incorrect definition we implore you to rescind your decision to withdraw the current exemptions for the 5.56 ammunition in question as the AR platforms cited by the ATF are indeed NOT handguns at all. The correct definition for these AR platforms as found in the “Definitions” of 18 U.S.C 921(a)(8) and cited below is in fact a “short-barreled rifle”.
18 U.S.C. 921(a)(8) “The term “short-barreled rifle” means a rifle having one or more barrels less than sixteen inches in length and any weapon made from a rifle (whether by alteration, modification, or otherwise) if such weapon, as modified, has an overall length of less than twenty-six inches.”
Furthermore, the AR platforms defined as handguns in the ATF “framework” is again evidenced as being incorrectly defined by the “Definition” in 18 U.S.C 921(a)(29)(A) and cited below.
18 U.S.C 921(a)(29) “The term “handgun” means—
(A) a firearm which has a short stock and is designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand;…”
By no means, whatsoever, are the AR platforms cited in the ATF “framework” “designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand.” In fact the short-barrel, AR platform, rifle is no more a handgun than is the short-barreled shotgun ~18 U.S.C. 921(a)(6) and the shotgun is the shorter of the two.
So, we again ask that the ATF rescind their decision to withdraw the current exemptions afforded the 5.56 ammunition in question because the AR platforms cited are indeed NOT handguns at all.
- The Ammunition in Question is “Primarily Intended to Be Used for Sporting Purposes.”
Throughout the “framework” it states that ammunition can be exempt from being considered armor piercing if that ammunition is: “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes.”
We feel the M855 and SS109 have thus far correctly been exempt, as they are indeed “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes.”
With that in mind we would strongly urge that this same exemption continue unimpeded because, other than the ATF’s incorrect defining of the AR platform as a handgun, no circumstance(s) has(have) changed to warrant withdrawing the current exemptions.
In fact, where previously this ammunition warranted exemption it now warrants even stronger exemptions, as today its sporting purposes have increased further with the growing popularity of match shooting competitions and the introduction of the short-barreled AR platform rifles used in match competition.
- The Ammunition in Question Does Not Pose “Extreme Safety Risks to” LEO’s
As for the misconception in the “framework”, page 2, Section II, that this particular ammunition poses “extreme safety risks to police officers when used by criminals”, we would direct your attention to the recent comments of James Pasco. Mr. Pasco is the “Executive Director of the Washington office of the Fraternal Order of Police, the world’s largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers, with more than 325,000 members.”
“Any ammunition is of concern to police in the wrong hands, but this specific round has historically not posed a law enforcement problem,” ~ James Pasco
Please note E.D. Pasco made his statement in response to the ATF’s decision and thereby contradicts the ATF’s finding that the withdrawal of exemptions are warranted for officer protection.
- Criteria to Qualify for Exemption in Section III of “framework” Have Been Met
In section III, pages 7 and 8, of the framework it says:
“… the Attorney General must determine that  a specific type of armor piercing projectile does not pose a significant threat to law enforcement officers  because the projectile at issue is primarily intended” for use in shooting sports, and  is therefore unlikely to be encountered by law enforcement officers on the streets.”
We believe public testimonial from the Executive Director of the largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers stipulating that,
”this specific round has historically not posed a law enforcement problem,”
in addition to the ATF providing zero evidence contrary to the Executive’s expert testimonial confirms that criteria 1,
“a specific type of armor piercing projectile does not pose a significant threat to law enforcement officers”
and criteria 3,
It “is therefore unlikely to be encountered by law enforcement officers on the streets.”
have both been satisfied.
Therefore, with criteria 2, “because the projectile at issue is “primarily intended” for use in shooting sports,”
already being confirmed via common knowledge throughout the sporting industry and again confirmed within the ATF’s own “framework”, it has now been proven that all 3 criteria have been met and we feel the Attorney General (AG) and or the person(s) delegated by the AG should rescind the decision to withdraw the exemptions.
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Maerling (and sons),
These 2 sources were not sent with comment to ATF, but are included in this blog post for the readers knowledge and study.