by Matt Rosenberg December 20th, 2012
The Sunlight Foundation reports that the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is seeking public comment until December 31 on the possibility of loosening regulations stemming from a 1986 federal amendment which restricts the use of armor-piercing bullets in handguns. Body armor such as bullet-proof vests is typically worn by law enforcement personnel. The current law allows an exemption to the ban if the U.S. Attorney General finds the use of particular armor-piercing bullets in a handgun is “primarily intended” for recreational purposes.
The issue had arisen prior to the December 14 mass murder in Newtown, Connecticut, which has propelled a new and urgent national dialog about gun control, semi-automatic weapons, and mental illness. At issue here is that as the firepower of handguns has increased, more are now able to use such ammunition, which is already legally used in rifles if deemed for sport shooting.
An alert to members from the National Rifle Association advances arguments in favor of firming up the “sporting purposes” exemption, to allow for use of “rifle-caliber projectiles made of metals harder than lead” in high-caliber handguns.
The request for comment was published on ATF’s website. An ATF backgrounder found there explains the issue has actually been under review since at least August, 2011. ATF has been holding meetings with law enforcement groups, gun owners and others on the potential exemption.
RELATED: Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group