Friday, March 13, 2015

Billy Long: We must support the Second Amendment

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

The Second Amendment is engrained within Southwest Missouri culture from hunting and sporting to self-defense. Many folks raise their children with firearms safety in mind, teaching the proper way to use them and respecting the law. I remember going from my first BB gun to my pellet gun then to Grandpa Long's 16 gauge single shot and then to my Uncle Diemer Long's .22 cal. Ruger Single Six pistol that I still have. Many in the Ozarks went through a similar progression in their youth. For so many Americans, the Second Amendment is more than just self-defense, it's a way of life.

The ATF was forced to pull a proposed rule to re-classify .223-caliber M855 green tip ammunition as an "armor piercing bullet" after getting bombarded with negative comments on their proposed bullet ban.

The Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act defines "armor piercing bullet" as "projectiles constructed from specified material [such as tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper or depleted uranium] which may be used in handguns." The law provides exclusions for hunting, target shooting and sport. ATF has actually considered M855s a form of sport ammunition since 1986. Although .223s are most popularly used in AR-15s and not handguns, ATF cited concerns among the law enforcement community that the bullets could be used in newer versions of handguns as a weapon against officers- a concern that supersedes the hunting or sport exclusions.

ATF's proposed rule was incredibly concerning, and I am glad they pulled it. I saw this as a back door assault by the Obama administration on our Second Amendment rights through another-'simple fix' with his pen and phone. I strongly objected to the rule change because I saw it as an attempt to ban ammunition, rather than guns themselves, through market controls. That is why I, along with more than 235 of my House colleagues sent a letter to ATF Director B. Todd Jones to state our objections, demand answers and urge the Bureau's reconsideration of the rule.

Rest assured that I strongly oppose any new restrictions interfering with our Second Amendment rights and actively seek removal of those restrictions - whether they arise in legislation, an executive agency, or from the president's continual abuse of executive power.

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