My Comments Objecting to BATFE Proposed Ban on 5.56 Ammo

Comments to ATF must be received by midnight 3/16/15 and can be sent via:
Email comments to:
Fax: (202) 648-9741

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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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 [1] a specific type of armor piercing projectile does not pose a significant threat to law enforcement officers [2] because the projectile at issue is primarily intended” for use in shooting sports, and [3] 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.


Speaking Out Against Ellenville Gun Ban and The Tyrants Who Propose It

My Speech at Village of Ellenville Board Meeting on Banning of Firearms In Response to Newtown Shootings 12/20/2012


Times Herald Record reported:

“Ellenville Mayor Jeff Kaplan isn’t waiting around for Washington to take action in the wake of the Newtown shootings. He’s called a special meeting of the Village Board to discuss legislation that would ban possession of handguns, assault and semi-automatic weapons. Kaplan said in a press release he was fed up with the lack “of any meaningful attempt to prevent similar acts in the future.””It’s time for municipalities to take up the issue of gun control,” he told the Times Herald-Record. “We’ve got to get a local conversation going.”


Once again politicians look to punish and decrease the safety of law abiding citizens in order to make themselves feel good about doing something in the face of tragedy. I say this because gun-control and gun bans have been proven time and time again to harm the law abiding citizens and embolden the criminals, so there is no other reason to enact these laws, but to make oneself feel good.

14-year-old Phoenix boy shoots armed intruder while babysitting siblings June 23, 2012  By: Joe Newby

In June of 2012 a 14-year-old Phoenix Arizona boy shot a 37yr old armed man who busted in his front door in an attempted afternoon home invasion.  The kid was babysitting 3 siblings; ages 8, 10 and 12.
The incident began with a woman ringing the doorbell and the kid ignoring it because he did not recognize the woman. The 14 yr old then heard the door being busted in and grabbed his father’s gun and rushed the kids upstairs.
“While at the top of the stairs, he saw” the armed man break through the front door. The boy fired, wounding and stopping the home invader in his tracks. He took his siblings to the neighbors and called the cops.

If your proposed ban was in place in Phoenix this story could have ended in any number of ways. The beating, kidnapping, rape, and or murder of four children being the worse, but at the least it would have ended with this family being robbed of  their property. Instead, thanks to a gun and a trained and educated 14yr old, this family lost no property or life and saw no harm come to these kids.

Suzanna Gratia Hupp testified before congress how Texas legislation resulted in the death of her parents and 20 others. The law, alleged to make citizens safer, prevented her from carrying her revolver into the restaurant where she ate with her parents.
So when a lunatic crashed his truck through the window and began slowly and methodically shooting patrons, her gun was locked in her glove box and she and all the other law abiding patrons were left defenseless because people like yourselves thought it would be a good idea to prevent citizens from carrying their firearms.  20 more were injured and 20 or more escaped that day.
Can I guarantee that if Miss Hupp and even a few others of the more than 60 present had been in possession of their firearms there would not have been 22 dead. No. But I can guarantee they would have at least had chance to save themselves as opposed to sitting there like helpless targets.  And I can also guarantee that Victoria Soto and  the other teachers who died shielding their students in Newtown would have a much greater chance of being with us today if they had a gun in their hand.

18yr old single mother Sarah McKinley and her 3 month old in Oklahoma are alive, unbeaten, unmolested, and  in full possession of their property today because she had access to her firearms when two men, one wielding a twelve inch knife, busted into her home. She shot and killed the garbage with the knife and the other one ran. “ABC reported that McKinley was on the phone with 911 for 21 minutes.”

90-year-old Jay Leone of California stopped a home invasion by shooting the burglar even after he himself was shot  in the face by the burglar.

There are also video and data from the UK and Australia warning of the increase in crime on law abiding citizens because the criminals know that they are unarmed.

These stories are just a few that show teaching and training in proper gun use are the true  means of  deterring crime on, and saving the lives of, innocent law abiding citizens.
Whereas, gun bans and gun-control are the best way to increase crime against, and murder of, innocent law abiding citizens.

If you really want the community to be safer, then this board should advocate for family training and educational programs on the proper care, storage, and use of firearms.  This way we can all be as prepared as the 14yr old in phoenix.
You may also want to send home fliers to parents explaining what Proximal Abandonment is.

 On the Village of Ellenville website it say under:
“With the magnitude of the impact the Trustee’s duties have on the peoples’ rights and property it is essential that the trustee be accountable for his/her actions.”
You need to remember those words when you strip the right of the people to protect themselves.

During the recent drug seizure at least 3 of those arrested were gang members.  Is this board expecting gang members and the other criminals in this area to abide by a firearm ban?
If the answer is no, which it obviously is, then this board has no right to disarm the law abiding citizens and prevent them from protecting their families.

When you deny a person the means of self defense you deny a person the right to self defense.

If this board passes this unconstitutional ban of firearms it will leave me with 2 options.

 1st– I abide by the law and allow my family and propety to become helpless prey for the predators who will absolutely thank you for making their jobs easier.
2– I cease being a law abiding citizen and become a criminal because this board leaves me no choice but to purchase and/or possess firearms illegally in order to keep my family protected.

I will choose option 2 as I refuse to relinquish my right to protect my family and property to this or any other board.

 So your ban in fact:
Will not reduce crimes by criminal citizens.
It will increase crimes against law abiding citizens.
It will force normally law abiding citizens to become criminals in order to protect their families and properties.
 I’ll leave you with these words by Martin Luther King Jr.

One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws.
One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws.
Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

— Martin Luther King, Jr.,                    Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Tom Maerling

This is the link to my report on the meeting and the Mayor’s ignorant response.

See more by Tom on Yahoo