Police officers, lawmakers and gun shop owners are coming forward to challenge an attempt by Obama’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to prohibit one of the most popular forms of ammo in the country.
Critics are saying that there is simply no evidence to support ATF’s claim that banning SS109/M855 ammunition – commonly known as “green tip” ammo -- will protect law enforcement from cop killers. In a letter protesting the ban, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlate writes: “ATF has not even alleged -- much less offered evidence -- that even one such round has ever been fired from a handgun at a police officer.”
Police officer Jeffery Denning says the same thing, writing on Guns.com: “The truth of the matter is that all my friends in law enforcement that have been shot were NOT shot by armor piercing rounds. They were shot—and unfortunately one of them was killed—by everyday ammo, so singling out green-tip ammo simply makes no sense to me.”
St. Louis gun shop owner Karl Schoenbeck agrees, telling that green tip ammo is used almost exclusively by hunters and sport shooters. He told CBS: “Most guys that I know who could buy green tip at gun shows years ago would lay in a supply of it simply because it shot so well. They weren’t going after armor, they were going after just the accuracy of the round.”
Other critics are pointing out that the ban is based on a false interpretation of the law. The legal basis for the ban on M855 bullets is the Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act of 1986, which prohibits so-called “armor-piercing” ammunition that can be fired from handguns. Yet M855 bullets ammo doesn’t fit the law’s definition of armor piercing – not even close.
The Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act defines “armor piercing” bullets as those constructed entirely of “one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper or depleted uranium.” The M855 bullet doesn’t fit that description, because it is made of a much softer metal – lead.
The real motivations for the ATF’s ban are unknown. But one thing is certain – the explanations they are giving just don’t add up.