The gun lobby is back on offense under the new GOP-controlled Congress.
The National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups are teaming with majority Republicans in efforts to loosen firearm restrictions, block background check legislation, and have already forced the Obama administration to back down from a controversial ammunition regulations.
The aggressive push follows years in which gun rights advocates have fought tooth and nail to beat back gun control legislation bills in the divided Congress, including a flurry of bills proposed following the 2012 Newtown, Conn. elementary school massacre.
“Make no mistake about it, the American people do not want more gun control and now we have a more pro-Second Amendment Congress,” NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker told The Hill.
The NRA flexed its muscle this week, pressuring the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to shelve a plan that would have prohibited certain types of armor-piercing bullets used in high-powered AR-15 rifles.
The ATF proposed the bullet ban last month, but pulled it back Tuesday after being overwhelmed with nearly 90,000 public comments, the “vast majority” of which were negative, the agency said.
The move angered congressional Democrats and gun control advocates, who responded with appeals urging the agency urging it to revive the proposal.
“The question remains, ‘Why would a civilian need to walk the streets with a handgun chambered with military-grade, armor-piercing ammunition?’” asked Jonathan Hutson, a spokesman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
The bullet ban was aimed at armor-piercing legislation that has traditionally been used in AR-15 hunting rifles, but can be used in handguns.