House Republicans seek to limit ATF guns and ammo rule changes

A group of over 30 lawmakers introduced a measure last week that would bar the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ ability to some restrict ammunition and guns via reclassification.

The “Lawful Purpose and Self-Defense Act,” has been entered as H.R. 2620 and would neuter the ATF’s regulatory authority to ban some types of firearms and ammo used for self-defense.

“The Founding Fathers were clear when they drafted the Bill of Rights. The 2nd Amendment is about security and self-defense,” said bill sponsor, U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, in a statement. “Vagaries in today’s legal code pose a real threat to the right to keep and bear arms. The Obama Administration exploited this ambiguity to forward its agenda of restriction. It’s time to ensure no future Administration tramples on these freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution.”

In its present form, the measure it would protect large caliber rifles and shotguns from being reclassified as “destructive devices” under the National Firearms Act. In several states, rifles chambered in .50 caliber BMG have been banned and Bishop’s legislation would prevent such a curtailment on the federal level.

Next, the bill would remove ATF’s ability to reclassify ammunition as being armor piercing. This could derail past rule changes such as seen with the 5.45mm 7N6 loading as well as the attempted reclassification of “green tip” ammunition.

Further, the legislation would remove import restrictions on any firearm or ammunition that is compliant with the National Firearms Act, which would knock down regulatory changes over the past two decades against the import of guns that did not qualify under the ATF’s “sporting purpose” guidelines.

The measure has the early support of the National Rifle Association, with Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s lobbying arm saying it “sends a clear message that Congress will no longer allow federal bureaucrats to infringe on our Second Amendment right to self-protection.”

House Resolution 2620 has been referred to House Ways and Means Committee.

Bishop introduced a similar measure in 2015 and, despite the backing of gun industry trade groups and the NRA, never left committee.