(CNSNews.com) -- The government watchdog group Judicial Watch has filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department to obtain 1,900 pages of records from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firemarms (ATF) that deal with the Obama administration's attempt to ban certain types of ammunition used in AR-15 rifles and pistols. Although the ban was halted in 2015, the ATF has not released the documents requested through the Freedom of Inofrmation Act (FOIA).
“Simply put, the ATF refuses to comply with federal open records law,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in an Oct. 4 statement.
“The ATF has withheld records for over three years concerning the Obama administration’s shady attempt to institute gun control by restricting ammunition instead of guns," he said.
In 2015, the ATF sought to reclassify a certain form of ammunition popular with AR-15 sport shooters -- the M855 "green tip" bullet -- as "armor piercing." That change would have banned the ammo under the Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act of 1986 and the Gun Control Act of 1968 for use in AR-15 handguns because it is illegal to sell "armor piercing" ammo for pistols.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) and other Second Amendment supporters opposed the ATF plan because they viewed it as a means to essentially ban AR-15s -- if you can't buy the popular ammo for that gun, the sales (and use) of that gun will drop. "The decision continues Obama’s use of his executive authority to impose gun control restrictions and bypass Congress," said the NRA.
Judicial Watch filed a FOIA request in May 2018 seeking the 1,900 pages of information on the ammo reclassification held by the ATF. The agency, however, did not respond and Judicial Watch filed its FOIA lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Sept. 25.
The records requested "include ATF talking points about the 'Armor Piercing Ammunition Notice of Proposed Rulemaking' and other records discussing ammunition classification," said Judicial Watch.
In a 2015 letter signed by more than 200 members of Congress, the lawmakers said the ATF's plan "does not comport with the letter or spirit of the law and will interfere with Second Amendment rights by disrupting the market for ammunition that law abiding Americans use for sporting and other legitimate purposes."