The resignation of ATF boss B. Todd Jones does not signal the end of an effort by Democrats to outlaw ammunition for one of the most popular rifles in America, the AR-15.
The new director of the ATF, Thomas Brandon, plants to meet with New York Democrat Steve Israel about renewing a push to ban the M855 round, classified as a .223 or 5.56 mm cartridge.
Jones, who leaves office at the end of this month, said he tendered his resignation “to pursue other opportunities in the private sector.”
On Friday Israel said the effort to outlaw the ammo was handled “sloppily” by Jones and the ATF.
“This was sloppily handled and as a result the outcome was surprising, disappointing and even confusing,” Israel told The Hill. “I hope under the new leadership the ATF can have a more transparent and responsive process.”
Congressional Democrats say the bullet must be banned because it is armor-piercing and poses a threat to law enforcement. However, according to FBI statistics, no police officer wearing a bulletproof vest has been killed by M855 ammunition over the last decade.
“In 20 years, no .223 round has been used in a crime fired from a handgun platform to kill a police officer, or that penetrated a vest,” notes Chris Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action.
Democrats and the Justice Department are attempting to broaden the Gun Control Act of 1968. The law prohibits the import, manufacture and distribution of “armor piercing ammunition” for handguns.
Rich Smith, writing for The Motley Fool, argues that “the idea that rifle cartridges can be used as ammunition in any pistol that’s easy to conceal is just ludicrous.” He then compares the size of the M855 and standard 9mm handgun ammunition, which is about half the size of the rifle round.
“Fact is, the M855 is about twice the length of a standard 9mm pistol cartridge. Simply put, no ‘pistol’ that you’d recognize as such can hold a magazine big enough to accommodate such ammunition.”