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?
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.