However one feels about firearms and the Second Amendment, there can be no debate about this notion: the ATF serves as an illustration of everything that is wrong with a massive bureaucracy. The folks at the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) don’t reveal much about their decision-making process, but it cannot be much more than picking paper out of a hat to decide what area of Second Amendment rights they will focus on squashing that month.
Without any legislative influence, the ATF picks and chooses what will be the law that week. For example, though they initially approved an arm brace for a pistol built on an AR-15 platform, they soon reversed course and said that the pistol brace will be deemed illegal if it is used to shoulder-fire the weapon.
Then, they quickly turned their attention to “green-tip” ammo and decided that the ammunition that had been around for decades was, somehow, “armor piercing” and restricted.
Amidst considerable backlash from the gun community, the jackboot aficionados relented.
Now, the stormtroopers of the ATF have focused on less-common ammunition: 40 mm flares and practice ammo.
A thread on ARFCOM started it all, with the OP stating that they had been contacted by the ATF to turn in their recently purchased flare rounds. It is worth noting that these rounds had been previously classified by the ATF as non-explosives, but in this world of ever-changing definitions it seems that they have reversed themselves on that take.
The logic they use to support their move (presented in a letter here and here) is that because the 40mm rounds in question are not “small arms” ammunition, the ATF can classify them as “low explosives” having no explosive properties whatsoever. This is also, of course, applicable to any ammunition with a diameter larger than 1/2 inch. That means firearms registered as a “destructive device” may soon have their own love note from the ATF classifying every round of ammo as a dangerous explosive that needs to be confiscated for the good of all humanity.
For those who are unfamiliar, explosives are still highly-regulated, but civilians may purchase flare launchers that shoot flares and other non-explosive items like chalk practice rounds. This, however, has become verboten in this regime.
More dangerous than the restriction on flares, however, is the precedent. Evidently, little else is needed for the government to decide that our ammunition is illegal other than a whim from an unelected bureaucrat.
How long before these confiscation orders land at your doorstep?