ATF apologizes for ‘error’ on ammo-ban regulations

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is apologizing for a “publishing error” in its regulations that suggested the agency had already banned AR-15 “green tip” ammo well before officials publicly announced a proposal to outlaw the armor-piercing bullets last month.

“ATF has not rescinded any armor piercing ammunition exemption, and the fact they are not listed in the 2014 online edition of the regulations was an error which has no legal impact,” the agency said in a statement. “ATF apologizes for any confusion caused by this publishing error.”

In January, the ATF published an online regulations guide that doesn’t contain a listing of the ammo exempted from a ban on armor piercing ammunition. By omitting the .222-caliber M855 ammo from the list, the agency led some to believe the government had already effectively banned it before the ATF’s announcement on Feb. 13 that it was seeking public comment on a proposal to do just that.

The regulations come out about every 10 years and must be reviewed by the White House Office of Management and Budget. The discrepancy was first reported by Townhall.com.

“They claim it wasn’t done on purpose. It’s a pretty egregious mistake to put the document out after a review by OMB and internal ATF staff, when they knew this issue about armor-piercing ammunition was of such importance to industry,” said Larry Keane, senior vice president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation….

By Dave Boyer – The Washington Times –

US House majority opposes Obama’s AR-15 ammo ban

3/5/2015 – A majority of House lawmakers now are on record opposing the Obama administration’s proposed ban on ammunition commonly used in AR-15 rifles.

A total of 239 lawmakers, including seven Democrats, have signed a letter to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Director Todd Jones urging the agency to abandon the proposed ammo ban.

“Under no circumstances should ATF adopt a standard that will ban ammunition that is overwhelmingly used by law-abiding Americans for legitimate purposes,” the lawmakers wrote Wednesday. Among them was Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Republican.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said this week that President Obama supports the move because he believes a prohibition on armor-piercing bullets will save the lives of law-enforcement officers. The ATF said in a report that newer handguns are capable of firing the ammo, which is primarily used in rifles for target practice or hunting game.

But the lawmakers and others who track Second Amendment issues say the steel-tipped, .223 caliber M855 ammunition has not been used in any fatal shootings of police officers. Opponents are concerned that the proposal is a backdoor effort by the administration to eliminate the use of AR-15 rifles, and many police officers also oppose the ban.

By Dave Boyer – The Washington Times –

AR-15 Green Tip Ammunition Now Banned in New ATF Regs

3/6/2015 – On Friday February 13 at 4:00 pm, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms released a proposal to ban commonly used M855 “green tip” AR-15 ammunition under the guise of law enforcement safety. The same day the proposal was released, on a Friday of a three day holiday weekend, ATF opened up a shortened 30-day period for the public to submit comments about the new regulation.

But it turns out, ATF has been working on a ban of AR-15 “green-tip” ammunition for quite some time and has already issued the ban in its new, 2014 Regulation Guide. For reference, ATF Regulation Guides come out approximately every ten years.

When you take a look at the 2005 ATF Regulation Guide, you’ll see an exemption for AR-15 “green-tip” ammunition, which means it exempted from the definition of “armor piercing” and therefore is legal on the federal level.

When you look at the last page of the new, most recent ATF 2014 Regulation Guide, which was published in January, there is no longer an exemption for AR-15 “green-tip” ammunition….

Katie Pavlich – Townhall.com –

Judge alleges ‘fraud on the court’ by government attorneys

The tone set by Attorney General Holder at Justice and ATF Director Jones is one established at the very top of the Obama administration.

Commenting on revelations about Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Department of Justice (DOJ) actions in the case of retired agent Jay Dobyns against his former employer, attorney David Hardy equated them with “a BATF and DOJ Watergate… or worse,” Friday. Noting that actions taken over a civil lawsuit evidently have included concealing evidence, secret threats against witnesses, and surveillance of attorneys and witnesses, the new information lends further credence to Dobyns’ allegations and appears to show government lawyers engaged in a criminal conspiracy.

“For people like me, who have sympathized with Dobyns but tried to reserve judgment about his case, the documents push us further into the retired agent’s camp,” Tim Steller of the Arizona Daily Star admitted. “You can’t read the few filings that have been unsealed in the case without wondering why the Justice Department is going to such extremes and spending so much on what is, at base, a relatively minor contractual dispute that could have ended years ago.”

Dobyns gained fame after infiltrating the Hells Angels and writing about his experiences in the New York Times bestseller, “No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner-Circle of the Hells Angels.” He has since been the subject of numerous reports focused on retaliation he has been subjected to for coming forward with information exposing official wrongdoing. He was also instrumental in providing background information on management personalities and practices involved in the Operation Fast and Furious “gunwalking” scandal.

Dobyns had sued his employer for failure to properly investigate an arson attack that destroyed his home and endangered his family, and for reneging on protection agreements over death threats he received, after the bureau withdrew his cover identity following the Hells Angels case. In September, Senior Judge Francis M. Allegra of the United States Court of Federal Claims awarded Dobyns $173,000 and denied government royalty claims against Dobyns for his book, seemingly providing an end to a prolonged six-year ordeal until the government challenged that ruling in the 11th hour. In a move surprising to many case-watchers, the judge then voided his own judgment, provoking speculation but no answers as to why.

Some of that may be getting clearer with the unsealing of case documents, now available on the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system. Language used by Judge Allegra in his now-unsealed December 1 opinion does not mince words, and seems damning.

“[T]he court … issued an order voiding the prior judgment based upon indications that the defendant [ATF], through its counsel, had committed fraud on the court,” Allegra wrote. “[F]raud on the court consists of conduct: 1. On the part of an officer of the court; 2. That is directed to the ‘judicial machinery’ itself; 3. That is intentionally false, willfully blind to the truth, or is in reckless disregard for the truth; 4. That is positive averment or is concealment when one is under duty to disclose; 5. That deceives the court.”

Further detailed allegations, being investigated by this reporter and seemingly corroborated by the unsealed opinion, include Judge Allegra being contacted by Internal Affairs Investigator Christopher Trainor, a key witness in the Dobyns case, concerning his being threatened by a main government witness — one the judge himself had raised perjury questions about — and chillingly, also threatened by lead government attorneys. Trainor had reportedly earlier given the intimidation to ATF, which opened a criminal investigation, and then approached ATF and Department of Justice attorneys, both of whom allegedly refused to report the witness tampering allegations to the judge. It is further alleged Trainor was warned by the DOJ attorney that if he reported the witness to Judge Allegra, his career at ATF would suffer.

The judge then reportedly notified Attorney General Eric Holder, then-Deputy AG and (“Number Two” at Justice) James Cole, and the Office of Inspector General of DOJ attorney fraud against the court, and issued an order barring seven of the attorneys from filing any further legal documents in the Dobyns case. Although no direct connection has been established, it is noted that the timing of the judge’s notification appears contemporaneous with Cole’s resignation and Holder’s announced resignation.

“Coincidental” timing did not end there. Without explanation, ATF closed its investigation of the witness alleged to have threatened Trainor. DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility advised Judge Allegra they were not going to pursue fraud allegations against their attorneys.

Judge Denies DOJ Request to Delay Release of Fast and Furious, Holder In Contempt

By Katie Pavlich – Townhall.com –

U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates has denied a request from the Department of Justice to delay the release of a list of Operation Fast and Furious documents being protected under President Obama’s assertion of executive privilege.

The list, better known as a Vaughn index, was requested through a June 2012 FOIA filing by government watchdog Judicial Watch. When DOJ didn’t respond to the FOIA request in the time required by law, Judicial Watch sued in September 2012, seeking all documents DOJ and the White House are withholding from Congress under executive privilege claims. President Obama made the assertion on June 20, 2012 just moments before Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt. In July 2014, after two years of battling for information, Judge Bates ordered the Department of Justice to release the Vaughn Index by October 1. DOJ responded by asking for a month long delay in releasing the list with a deadline of November 3, just one day before the 2014-midterm elections. That request has been denied. A short delay was granted and DOJ must produce the Vaughn index by October 22.

“The government’s arguments for even more time are unconvincing,” Bates said in his ruling… “given that this matter has been pending for over two years. The Court will therefore extend the Department’s Vaughn index submission deadline to October 22, 2014—and no further.”

 
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