The ATF is trying to ban M855 AR-15 ammunition by declaring it “armor piercing,” despite the ammo containing lead which exempts it from the classification according to law.

To be considered “armor piercing” under 18 U.S.C. 921 (a)(17)(B), a bullet must have an entirely metal core or have a jacket weighing more than 25% of its weight, which wouldn’t include M855 rounds because their bullets are partly lead.

The definition in full:

(17)

(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.

(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.

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For years the ATF exempted the M855 from its list of “armor piercing” rounds, but its clear from the statue it never needed an exemption because legally it’s not an “armor piercing” round.

But the law hasn’t stopped the ATF from banning M855 ammo, which is popularly used by AR-15 owners for target shooting due to its relatively cheap cost and availability.

“Now [the ATF] says that since the [M855] bullets can be used in semi-automatic handguns they pose a threat to police and must be banned from production, sale and use,” Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner reported.

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