The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) received more than 310,000 comments from the public on the agency’s failed attempt to ban a popular form of ammunition used in AR-15 rifles.
"We’ve received more than 310,000 public comments," said Ginger Colbrun, a spokesperson for the ATF. "We’re still receiving some letters which are postmarked prior to the end of the comment period, March 16th."
The ATF announced March 10 that it would not pursue a proposed ban on the M855 ammunition, commonly referred to as "green tip," 5.56 ammunition. The move came after pressure from gun rights groups across the country.
The ATF said at the time that it had received more than 80,000 public comments before making the decision to hold off on the ban.
In addition to encouraging their members to submit comments opposing the ban, several of the largest gun rights groups launched campaigns against the ban. The National Rifle Association organized a letter to the ATF opposing the ban signed by 53 senators and 236 congressmen. The Second Amendment Foundation launched a nationwide radio and television ad campaign against the ban in addition to threatening legal action.
"We received over 108,000 individual comments via email or written letter," Colbrun said. "We also received two form letters with a large number of signatures."
"One of the letters had over 67,500 signatures and the other had over 132,000 signatures."
The latter came from the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR). In a press release the group announced that it had "hand delivered 132,662 petitions to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives" on March 13.
The ATF did not disclose the exact number of comments received, as the organization is still receiving comments that were postmarked before the official end of the comment period.