Monday, March 9, 2015

Morgan Griffith on Administration Overreach

From U.S. Congressman Morgan Griffith:

"Administration Overreach and the Internet
Many Ninth District residents have asked me about the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) recent decision on net neutrality.  I believe this is another attempt at government overreach, and agree with Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai when he said:
[The FCC was] “…adopting a solution that won’t work, to a problem that doesn’t exist,
using legal authority it doesn’t have.”
Administration Overreach and the Second Amendment
I was proud to join House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and more than 230 of our colleagues in sending a bipartisan letter recently to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Director B. Todd Jones.  This important letter calls on ATF to abandon the Obama Administration’s “framework” proposal to ban the manufacture and importation of the M855 or “green tip” bullet, a popular bullet used for the AR-15 (the most popular rifle design in America).
As you may know, among our nation’s hundreds of existing firearms laws is the Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act of 1986 (LEOPA), which established a ban on “armor piercing” ammunition.  To prevent inference with the lawful use of ordinary rifle ammunition, Congress included in LEOPA an exemption for projectiles that the Attorney General determines are “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes.”  Since 1986, the M855 5.56 x 45mm cartridge has been considered exempt by ATF under this “sporting purposes” test.
However, on February 13, 2015, ATF issued its “Framework for Determining Whether Certain Projectiles are ‘Primarily Intended for Sporting Purposes’ within the Meaning of 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(C).”  In keeping with what I see as this Administration’s attempts to reinterpret many sections of the code and overreach Congressional intent, this document sets forth a new test for determining whether certain projectiles fall within an exemption to the federal ban of the manufacture, importation, and sale of ammunition otherwise considered “armor piercing.”
This broad framework announces a new standard that ATF will use in deciding which projectiles fall under the “sporting purposes” exemption.  It establishes a two-pronged rule based on what the Administration describes as an “objective test.”  First, the exemption will apply the exemption to “a .22 caliber projectile…if the projectile weights 40 grains or less AND is loaded into a rimfire cartridge.”  Second, ATF will exempt other projectiles that are “loaded into a cartridge for which the only handgun that is readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade is a single shot handgun.”  ATF still retains the power to withhold the exemption from a projectile “if substantial evidence exists that the ammunition is not primarily intended for sporting purposes.”
ATF also announced it rescinds the “sporting purposes” exemption it had previously granted to M855 5.56 x 45mm cartridges.
I believe the Administration is frustrated Congress won’t agree to new gun-grabbing laws, so they are trying to grab the ammunition.
ATF’s new test deviates from the intent of LEOPA by imposing a ban on ammunition commonly used in a lawful manner.  Its interpretation of the term “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes” disregards the numerous legitimate uses for firearms in our country.
Please know I will continue to pay very close attention to the ongoing debate on gun rights.  I will not waver in my support of your gun rights.
Administration Overreach on Sanctions
Recently, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a joint meeting of Congress.  I was sitting next to a Democrat during his remarks, and at their conclusion we agreed that Netanyahu gave a great speech and stated the case well. 
The Administration has indicated that they want a deal with Iran.  As Netanyahu indicated, I believe no deal is better than a bad deal.  I further believe that the President must bring his “deal” to Congress for approval of those sections of any “deal” that fall under the jurisdiction of Congress. 
According to the Congressional Research Service, the deal will have to be approved by the Iranian legislature.  Isn’t it interesting that even the Iranians acknowledge a Legislative branch of government, even if it’s just a rubber stamp?  Sadly, it appears to me at least at the time of the writing of this column our President doesn’t think he needs approval from Congress.  I guess he knows there is a group of us in Congress who believe in freedom and the checks-and-balances system set up by our Constitution.  And we will not be a rubber stamp.
If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office.  You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671.  To reach my office via email, please visit my website at  Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives."