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Email insights: Tom Rooney takes on ATF

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Federal regulators took it too far when they tried to ban the popular M855 sporting ammo, says U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney.

Now, in a new email blast, Rooney is promoting the steps he is making to ensure government overreach as that does not happen again.

Public pressure forced the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to withdraw plans to ban M855. That close call drove the Florida Republican – as well as 40 cosponsors — to press the ATF, among other agencies, to approve H.R. 1180, known as the “Protecting Second Amendment Rights Act.”

Rooney’s bill seeks to prohibit any federal agency from taking away gun rights by executing any new regulation to limit or ban any legal ammunition. The .223-caliber, M855 ball ammunition, which is legal, is not armor piercing as defined in the statute.

The ATF claimed those bullets could pierce police armor – under certain circumstances. As such, the agency requested they should banned under a 1986 law intended to protect police, despite an apparent history that the M855 never posed a threat to police.

In the email, Rooney blasted the ATF, which he says “can’t get its story straight” about the ban – whether it was a ‘publishing error’ or a real proposal that suffered from public backlash.

Either way, Rooney notes that the White House is consistent – Obama supported the ban and vows to work toward unilateral gun control.

“Whether it’s the ATF, the EPA or any other agency,” he says, “Congress cannot allow unelected bureaucrats to take away the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”

“We need to keep the pressure on the ATF and the entire Obama Administration,” he concludes, urging the House to take up the act, to prevent a “backdoor to undermine the Second Amendment.”

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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