So GOP mouthpieces have been busy looking for a way to save face. Too bad they have only the tired old playbook of misreading legislation and making up ridiculous slippery slope arguments to rely on. Judging from the reaction of the Game Fair crowd, they have more work to do.
Gary Gross thinks he has Dayton dead to rights:
And so on and so forth. You know the drill - "slippery language," "vague description," etc. How are we supposed to know that some crazy liberal AG won't just declare all ammunition to be armor piercing and ban guns through the back door? But why listen to me spout on about it when Mitch Berg does it so much better?
I read the bill’s language. Suffice it to say that it’s frightening. Here’s the provision that likely got the NRA upset:
SEC. 5. ARMOR PIERCING AMMUNITION.
(iv) a projectile for a center-fire rifle, designed or marketed as having armor piercing capability, that the Attorney General determines, under section 926(d), to be more likely to penetrate body armor than standard ammunition of the same caliber.
That’s extremely slippery language. First off, it doesn’t say that the projectile would penetrate body armor. The threshold is met if it’s “more likely to penetrate body armor than standard ammunition of the same caliber.” Next, the “Attorney General determines, under section 926(d),” whether the projectile fits the vague description proposed in the legislation. Third, they’re talking about “a projectile for a center-fire rifle, designed or marketed as having armor piercing capability.” (emphasis in original)
But here's the thing, in both Gross' piece and Berg's attempt to pile on, they love to cite legislative language except for the section which mandates exactly how the Attorney General will determine which ammunition is armor piercing (that would be section 926(d)):
So the “Cop Killer Bullet” bill – written by Ted Kennedy – would have given the Attorney General the power to determine, more or less by fiat, exactly what constituted a “cop-killer” bullet. . . . It also means that the Attorney General – or more likely his employees in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – could make sweeping rulings about ammunition availability and legality by whim and fiat, creating new classes of criminals at will with a stroke of the pen. (emphasis mine)
(b) DETERMINATION OF THE CAPABILITY OF PROJECTILES TO PENETRATE BODY ARMOR.--Section 926 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:Oh, you mean they'll actually have to do objective tests? And that these standards, like all regulatory determinations, will be subject to oversight from the courts? And you mean that this determination is made in comparison to "standard ammunition?" Oh, and you mean that not only does the ammo have to be actually armor piercing according to objective tests, it has to be also "designed and marketed as having armor piercing capability?" That's some "stroke of a pen."
``(d)(1) Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this subsection, the Attorney General shall promulgate standards for the uniform testing of projectiles against Body Armor Exemplar.
``(2) The standards promulgated under paragraph (1) shall take into account, among other factors, variations in performance that are related to the length of the barrel of the handgun or center-fire rifle from which the projectile is fired and the amount and kind of powder used to propel the projectile.
``(3) As used in paragraph (1), the term `Body Armor Exemplar' means body armor that the Attorney General determines meets minimum standards for the protection of law enforcement officers.''
And this amendment failed nearly 2 to 1?
The "scary gubmint" bureaucrat schtick is good work for the base, but if you want to see how it plays for regular folks who own guns, just go back and listen to the video again.
Follow me on Twitter @aaronklemz