It’s been nearly three decades since President Reagan signed into law a gun-safety measure intended to restrict “cop killer” bullets. But under the law, some ammunition, including armor-piercing “green tip” bullets, was exempted because they were “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes.”
As we recently discussed, the argument at the time was pretty straightforward: these bullets couldn’t be used in handguns, so there was no point in keeping them out of the hands of hunters.
But firearm technology has improved and there are now handguns that can fire these bullets. It led the Obama administration’s ATF to take a fresh look at the 1986 exemption. Is it time to adapt federal regulations to improve public safety, most notably for law-enforcement officials?
Apparently not – in the face of an overwhelming public response from gun enthusiasts, ATF scrapped the idea and left the ammunition alone. One Senate Republican has said that’s not good enough.
A budget amendment offered Tuesday by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) would prohibit the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from placing new restrictions on bullets that are popular with hunters.
The far-right Oklahoman said his proposal is intended to “protect popular ammunition.”
Remember, at this point, it doesn’t appear as if “popular ammunition” needs much protection. Officials considered restrictions on “cop killer” bullets, but then backed off. It’ll probably be a while before anyone even considers a similar effort to protect law enforcement from armor-piercing ammo.
But Inhofe’s making this a priority anyway, just in case.
We shouldn’t expect much in the way of pushback from ATF officials, who just lost their director.
Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the N.F.L., told the league’s 32 owners on Monday that he would soon appoint the departing director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as the new chief disciplinary officer.B. Todd Jones, 57, took over the top spot at the bureau in 2011. He was also a United States attorney in Minnesota. The bureau said Friday that Jones would leave at the end of March.
Getting Jones confirmed in the first place was a laborious, months-long process that barely succeeded in a Democratic-run Senate. Given the Republican majority now in place, there probably isn’t much of a point to President Obama even nominating a successor – GOP senators would almost certainly reject anyone the White House considers for the post.