House Bill Would Expand Definition of "Armor Piercing Ammunition"
Where there is a will there is a way and many Congressmen are looking to find some way to further legislate the use of firearms and House Bill H.R.2566 is looking to further regulate the type of ammo you will be able to purchase for your handgun. The security of law enforcement has been a go to cause for politicians who seek to push through many types of gun control.
"Armor Piercing Ammunition" or the more inflammatory term "Cop Killer Bullets are" a great means to strike fear in the public in order to go along with any legislation that looks to only make our Public Safety Officials safer on the streets, but couldn't possibly cause any harm. Of course what the politicians forget to address is why Law Enforcement or Military is still allowed to use such ammunition, but it is not available to the general public for personal defense. If you are unaware of the current laws regarding "armor piercing ammunition", this section from Title 18 of the U.S. Code gives you a quick intro to some ramifications of federal law.
U.S. Code Title 18 Sec. 922(a)(7&8)
(7) for any person to manufacture or import armor piercing ammunition, unless—
(A) the manufacture of such ammunition is for the use of the United States, any department or agency of the United States, any State, or any department, agency, or political subdivision of a State;
(B) the manufacture of such ammunition is for the purpose of exportation; or
(C) the manufacture or importation of such ammunition is for the purpose of testing or experimentation and has been authorized by the Attorney General;
(8) for any manufacturer or importer to sell or deliver armor piercing ammunition, unless such sale or delivery—
(A) is for the use of the United States, any department or agency of the United States, any State, or any department, agency, or political subdivision of a State;
(B) is for the purpose of exportation; or
(C) is for the purpose of testing or experimentation and has been authorized by the Attorney General
As you can currently see your normal every day Joe Schmo is not allowed to purchase any rounds defined as "Armor Piercing Ammunition". The kicker comes down to what is considered "Armor Piercing" and this is where the latest bill will play a huge effect on what you will allowed to purchase for your own persona defense unless of course you are in the minority that fall in one of those categories where it is legal to carry such protection. Below you can see the current definition along with the alterations and additions that would be made if H.R.2566 would pass.
(A) The term “ammunition” means ammunition or cartridge cases, primers, bullets, or propellent powder designed for use in any firearm.
(B) The term “armor piercing ammunition” means—
(i) a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium, or
(ii) 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. and
(iii) a projectile that –
(I) May be used in a handgun; and
(II) The Attorney General determines, under section 926(d), to be capable of penetrating body armor.
(C) The term “armor piercing ammunition” does not include shotgun shot required by Federal or State environmental or game regulations for hunting purposes, a frangible projectile designed for target shooting, a projectile which the Attorney General finds is primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes, or any other projectile or projectile core which the Attorney General finds is intended to be used for industrial purposes, including a charge used in an oil and gas well perforating device.
Essentially the main alteration would provide the Attorney General the means to determine what is "Armor Piercing Ammunition" for a handgun. You can see that the sporting purposes exception is still present which would protect ammunition utilized in pistols that are chambered for rifle caliber ammunition, however there never was a primary exception for ammunition utilized for self defense. The ability to further regulate ammunition is given to the Attorney General by adding sub-section (d) to Section 926 of U.S. Code Title 18 as seen below.
(b) Determination of Capability of Projectiles To Penetrate Body Armor.-- (1) In general.--Section 926 of such title is amended by adding at the end the following: ``(d)(1) The Attorney General, in consultation with Director of Operational Test and Evaluation of the Department of Defense, shall promulgate standards for the uniform testing of projectiles against the Body Armor Exemplar. ``(2) The standards promulgated under paragraph (1) shall take into account, among other factors, variations in performance that are related to the type of handgun used, the length of the barrel of the handgun, the amount and kind of powder used to propel the projectile, and the design of the projectile. ``(3) In paragraph (1), the term `Body Armor Exemplar' means body armor that the Attorney General determines meets minimum standards for the protection of law enforcement officers.''. (2) Timing of promulgation of standards.--The Attorney General shall promulgate the standards required by section 926(d) of title 18, United States Code, within 1 year after the date of the enactment of this section. (3) Assessment and modification of standards.--The Attorney General shall assess the standards every 3 years, or more frequently if the Attorney General finds that technological advances warrant doing so, and shall modify the standards as appropriate.
In the January 2013 Washington Post article,"The Cop Killer Bullet Myth", Emily Miller points out that, "Cops simply aren't being killed by crooks using exotic, hardened projectiles, but it sounds like a scary possibility." Further complicating the facts, The National Institute of Justice has set standards for the ballistic resistance of body armor with level IIIA being the highest protection against handgun ammunition. The NIJ Standards show the following to test Type IIIA Armor:
Type IIIA armor that is new and unworn shall be tested with .357 SIG FMJ Flat Nose (FN) bullets with a specified mass of 8.1 g (125 gr) and a velocity of 448 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1470 ft/s ± 30 ft/s) and with .44 Magnum Semi Jacketed Hollow Point (SJHP) bullets with a specified mass of 15.6 g (240 gr) and a velocity of 436 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1430 ft/s ± 30 ft/s). Type IIIA armor that has been conditioned shall be tested with .357 SIG FMJ FN bullets with a specified mass of 8.1 g (125 gr) and a velocity of 430 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1410 ft/s ± 30 ft/s) and with .44 Magnum SJHP bullets with a specified mass of 15.6 g (240 gr) and a velocity of 408 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1340 ft/s ± 30 ft/s).
Any body armor rated higher is tested against rifle ammunition. So, if this is the baseline for penetration then you are essentially restricting ammunition based on an existing standard of protection. It is a chicken and egg scenario providing further legislation restricting what you are putting into your handgun for personal defense.
In reality 17 officers were killed while wearing body armor that was penetrated from 2000-2009 as per FBI Statistics. Only one officer was killed in such a way with a handgun out of 536 officers killed during the same period. The type of ammunition was not provided other than it was a 9mm, nor is further elaboration given to the type of armor utilized.
We have not heard of a "Cop Killer Bullet" epidemic since 2009 nor do we intend to demean the loss of life for those that put their lives on the line to protect us, but the statistics speak for themselves when seeing an issue being address in Congress that should not be.
We don't know the exact ramifications of such legislation if passed, but we are fairly certain that it would limit the type of ammo you can choose for self defense. This will only fix a problem that does not exist and could further restrict ammunition purchases to an extent that is vague with the possibility of a wide ranging infringement on your right to bear arms. It is important to let your Representative know that they should not support H.R.2566 in any manner. We have provided the complete bill below in its entirety.