The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives recently proposed banning the manufacture, sale or importation of .223-caliber ammunition, commonly used in the AR-15 and other general-purpose rifles. It has also recently been used in several kinds of handguns.
Obama is trying to justify the proposal by arguing that the M855 ball, the most widely used .233-caliber round, is “armor-piercing” and cannot be used in handguns, per the Gun Control Act of 1968 amended by Congress in 1986. He is also claiming that the ammunition in the AR-15 and similar rifles puts the lives of police officers at risk.
This logic is faulty. Because it has a traditional lead core with a steel tip, the M855 ball was originally exempted from the “armor-piercing” ammunition category it and has long been categorized as sporting ammunition.
Reclassifying the M855 will actually threaten more lives instead of saving them. Bob Owens at Bearing Arms smartly notes that banning the M855 would mean a return to the full-metal-jacketed 55-grain M193 round that NATO wanted to get away from in the 1970s because it was too “inhumane” for use against Soviet troops.
This executive order has no practical value whatsoever. It is nothing more than a silly attempt by Obama to flex his muscles. Since he failed to pass gun-control legislation through legal means, he has decided to abuse his office and engage in backdoor maneuvers to get his way.