The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives just can’t seem to keep themselves out of the news this week. The watchdog group Judicial Watch sued BATFE because they still have not responded to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents relating to the attempt to ban 5.56×45 “green-tip” ammunition. The FOIA request was made made in March 2015.
Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit after the agency failed to respond to a March 9, 2015, FOIA request seeking information on the ammo ban effort:
- All records of communications, including emails, to or from employees or officials of the ATF related to the decision to revise the ATF 2014 Regulation Guide to no longer exempt 5.56 mm. SS109 and M855 (i.e., “green tip” AR-15) ammunition from the definition of “armor-piercing” ammunition.
The precise statutory definition of “armor-piercing ammunition” can be found in 18 U.S.C §921(a)(17).
“This is yet another example of how Obama’s wanton use of the ‘pen and the phone’ attempted to undermine the constitutional rights of all Americans, as opposed to upholding the rule of law,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Obama ATF simply ignored our request on their ammo ban. Let’s hope the Trump administration finally brings transparency to this out-of-control agency.”
Reading through the complaint, it appears that BATFE just blew off this FOIA request and didn’t even assign it a control number. The complaint asks the District Court to order BATFE to search their records for the requested documents, to order them to hand over all non-exempt documents, and to enjoin them from continuing to withhold any of the requested documents. Judicial Watch is also asking for attorneys’ fees.
Judicial Watch is known for its success in these types of lawsuits. It will make for interesting reading what they uncover.