AR-15 Ammunition Ban: ATF Says The M855 Ammo Ban Is About Cop Safety And ‘Armor Piercing’ Bullets

A gun control battle is brewing, with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) claiming the proposed AR-15 ammunition ban to be all about police officer safety since it’s claimed the M855 ball ammunition (a.223 or 5.56 mm rifle bullet) is really “armor piercing.” Others claim the Obama administration is attempting to find a legal loophole in order to indirectly implement gun control laws.

In a related report by the Inquisitr, the proposed AR-15 ammo ban has many arguing the action would constitute a second amendment violation. The proposed ammunition ban also has caused 5.56mm ammo to fly off the shelves.

Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice (DOJ) is attempting the M855 ammunition ban on the basis of the Gun Control Act of 1968, which prohibits the importation, manufacturing, and distribution of armor piercing ammunition. According to the ATF website, the legal definition includes “a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely … from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium.” The second definition includes “a full jacketed projectile larger than.22 caliber designed and intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile.”

Technically, the M855 ammo is not composed any of the listed metals. Instead, it contains a lead core and a steel tip. The original ammunition ban was intended to cover handguns, not the AR-15 rifles that typically use the M855 ammunition. The legal definition also includes an exception for “sporting purposes,” but the DOJ is already claiming the Attorney General is capable of determining whether or not a specific ammunition at issue is “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes.” In addition, all rifle ammo used for hunting should be capable of penetrating the average bulletproof vest worn by police officers.

According to gun safety instructor Stephen Watson, the ATF is using a loophole in order to propose the AR-15 ammunition ban, and that in actuality it’s all about gun control laws, not the safety of law enforcement officers.

“You can not manufacture or sell armor piercing ammunition for hand guns and because the AR-15 is built in such a way, if you move the stock from it it’s legally called a hand gun,” Watson said, according to Fox 4. “They can’t ban the rifles themselves so, they are trying to ban the ammunition the rifles use. I’m all for regulations that make sense and serve a problem and remedy a problem but, in this case, it serves no practical purpose and serves no remedy for a problem that doesn’t exist.”

ATF officials say they are looking for the opinions of the public about the ammunition ban, and have provided instructions at the ATF website (see the last page, especially). It’s claimed they will review all comments received on or before March 16, 2015.