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The New York Times is quite possibly the least gun friendly publication in the United States. They’ve previously shown an utter contempt and disregard for fact checking and proper use of statistics when their “conclusions” paint gun owners and gun ownership in a bad light, and today’s editorial is no different. Titled “Protect the Police From Armor-Piercing Bullets,” the article is a re-hash of all the major Obama administration talking points in an effort to portray M855 as a menace to society that needs to be stopped. Shockingly, however, the Times fails to use any actual logic, statistics, or facts to make their case. Instead they build their case for a ban solely on the emotional appeal of loaded phrases to trick their readers into falling in line with their agenda. Let’s take this apart piece by piece.

It all starts in the very first paragraph . . .

The nation’s police forces should be the first to rally behind a federal proposal to ban the sale and manufacture of the 5.56-millimeter steel-core bullet. The bullet can be used in newly adapted handguns to provide lethal force to pierce the vests and body armor used by law enforcement officers.

I’m going to stop you right there.

First, the Fraternal Order of Police, the lobbying body representing the nation’s police forces, have already made their opinion clear on this matter: they think banning M855 ammunition is pointless. But apparently the New York Times’ editorial board thinks that they know more about what police officers need than the police themselves, and want them to change their minds.

The main point that the New York Times uses in their argument is that M855 ammunition is “armor piercing.” Which it is, to a degree. M855 ammunition can penetrate the types of “bullet proof” vests commonly used by law enforcement officers. And so is M193, standard 55 grain 100% lead “normal” ammunition — equally as deadly, if not more so, and in the same caliber.

In fact just about every single centerfire rifle cartridge in production today will sail straight through a Type II “bullet proof” vest without a problem, something we outlined in our “The Truth About M855” article. The truth is that M855 is no more deadly or dangerous than any number of other similar calibers and projectile designs, but due to outdated ammunition and legal loopholes being exploited by the ATF it is the “low hanging fruit” of ammunition for the ATF to try and ban.

This ammo has been around for decades, though. Why does the New York Times think that this is something that needs to be done so urgently?

Until now, the powerful “M855 green tip” bullet has been legal for use in AR-15 semiautomatic rifles, typically used by target shooters and hunters. But the gun industry’s reckless development of new handguns that use the bullet — criminals prefer handguns over rifles — has led the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to sensibly propose banning it in the name of greater gun safety.

Its nice to see that the NY Times is finally acknowledging that the AR-15 is a fine hunting rifle, but as always its one step forward and two steps back with these people. They state that the impetus for the ban is that the Evil Gun Industry (TM) has recklessly developed a new handgun that can use this ammunition, and since criminals prefer handguns over rifles then naturally criminals will be using this new evil technology to kill cops.

Right. Blame the Evil Gun Industry (TM).

The AR pistol craze was started by home builders, not the gun industry. The insane National Firearms Act restrictions on barrel length for rifles forced people to become creative, and with the modularity of AR-15 firearms the ability to build a pistol version was the natural result. It wasn’t the Evil Gun Industry (TM) that started the craze, it was average citizens. In fact, firearms manufacturers were very reluctant to get into that market and are only now just starting to produce pistol versions of their guns. So blame the Evil Gun Industry (TM) all you want, but the truth is that they didn’t develop it.

Which is something the New York Times would know if they actually understood the firearms industry. But they don’t.

Further, despite much research, no one has ever been able to produce an example of an officer being shot with an AR-15 pistol using M855 ammunition — ever. AR-15 pistols have been around for years, so if this scourge of “cop killing” guns and ammo were to show up we should have seen at least a glimmer of it by now. But nope, just like every other prediction of blood in the streets made by the New York Times over firearms regulation, that mass murder has failed to materialize.

In fact, as we already know, “assault weapons” make up less than 2% of all firearms used in crimes. Even if we give the Times the benefit of the doubt and assume that every single one of those instances was an AR-15 pistol loaded with M855 ammunition, banning that ammo wouldn’t really have much of an impact at all on either officer involved fatalities or crime in general. So their claim that they “sensibly propose banning it in the name of greater gun safety” is pretty much statistically insignificant. In short, the impact would be negligible at worst and insignificant at best.

And even if the M855 ammo was banned, equally potent ammo is available right next to it on the shelf at Wal-Mart. What happens when M855 ammo is banned because it is “armor piercing,” and then a year or two later the Times demands that we “finish the job” by banning everything that can potentially go through a bullet proof vest? There goes every rifle cartridge, right down the drain.

What’s next?

Predictably, the gun lobby is marshaling gun owners and legislative allies to oppose the ban, falsely accusing the Obama administration of exceeding its authority through some backdoor attempt at gun control. The law, however, is clear: Armor-piercing handgun ammunition has been banned since 1986, and the firearms agency has the responsibility to regulate the law’s enforcement. The pending proposal is open to the standard 30-day public comment period (at APAComments@atf.gov) until March 16. After that, a final decision will be up to the attorney general’s office.

The NY Times wants you to believe that this is an open and shut case, that because the ammunition can go through a “bullet proof” vest that the ammunition should obviously be banned. But the truth couldn’t be more different, as the NY Times would understand if they took three seconds to actually read the statutes.

“Armor piercing” ammunition is banned in the United States not due to its performance but instead due to the composition of its projectile. The statute (18 U.S. Code § 921) requires that a projectile must be made “entirely” from a list of super-hard metals, excluding trace amounts of other materials, in order to meet that definition and be subject to the ban. In theory I could produce a 100% depleted uranium 9mm projectile loaded in a case with only a primer and no powder, and it would meet the definition of “armor piercing” but be unable to even pierce skin (much less leave the barrel of the gun).

In the case of M855, the projectile does not meet the definition. Nearly 80% of the projectile is composed of lead and copper, with only a small steel insert. To a common person this would not meet the definition of being “entirely” made of steel, unless you attempt to exploit the imprecise language of the statute for your own political purposes and define 20% to be the same as “entirely.”

So no, that’s a factual lie on the part of the New York Times: M855 ammunition does not meet the legal definition of “armor piercing” unless you have an activist Attorney General who plays fast and loose with definitions.

Police forces very much need the ban if officers are not to be exposed to a heightened threat to their lives. Two years ago, President Obama was rebuffed by Congress in his plea for stronger gun safety laws after the schoolhouse massacre of 20 children in Connecticut.

He promised further action on the issue, and a ban on armor-piercing bullets in handguns would be a major demonstration of the nation’s resolve to protect the police. The proposal would allow rifle owners to use up the lead-and-steel bullets they have already bought, and pure lead bullets of the same caliber would remain on the market.

The reason that the post-Newtown legislation failed is the same reason that people are pissed off about the M855 ban: all it does is inconvenience the law abiding American gun owner without any actual impact on reducing crime. Even if M855 ammunition were banned, equally deadly “ball” 5.56 ammunition is still commonly available and the evil AR-15 pistols that the NY Times has their knickers in a twist over would still be in every gun store in the United States. Nothing would have changed, except for choking off part of the ammunition supply to the American people.

The problem is that the New York Times Editorial Board doesn’t actually think about any of these proposals, all they care about is that access to firearms and ammunition is reduced or restricted. They don’t care about the Constitutional rights of Americans when it comes to background checks and firearms sales. They don’t care about actually reducing crime when talking about banning “evil assault rifles” or “armor piercing ammunition.” All they care about is whether the proposed legislation imposes more restrictive regulations on firearms, and they don’t care how its accomplished or whether the law makes logical sense. That’s why they discuss an ammunition ban and a background check proposal in the same breath as if they were equal, despite the fact that they are completely different approaches to completely different problems. They don’t care, they just want to “do something” about “gun violence.”

Republican allies of the gun lobby have submitted preposterous legislation to strip the firearms bureau of its authority to regulate ammunition.

This should be rejected out of hand, and the House should focus instead on a bipartisan proposal from Representatives Peter King, Republican of New York, and Mike Thompson, Democrat of California, to extend background checks on gun buyers, under the provision known as the Brady law, by closing a loophole that ignores sales online and at gun shows. The proposal, strongly supported by the public, drew 188 co-sponsors in the last Congress. It deserves enactment unhindered by the political machinations of the gun lobby.

It seems that the New York Times Editorial Board is failing to grasp one very important fact: the gun lobby isn’t about gun manufacturers. The NRA represents over four point five million American citizens, making it among the largest citizen lobbying organizations right up there with the AARP. It doesn’t take direction from the gun industry, instead it holds annual open meetings to discuss its agenda and allows the membership to vote on the direction of the organization.

The NRA takes direction from the millions of dues paying American citizens who make up its membership. But its a more emotionally appealing argument for the New York Times to ignore that fact and parrot the ages-old party line that the NRA is a puppet of the gun industry, and its the evil gun makers that want to murder America.

The fact is that M855 ammunition is no more deadly or dangerous than standard lead ammunition. Just like hollow point bullets are no more armor piercing than their round-nose brethren, another lie that the NY Times believes hook line and sinker. “Assault weapons” are no more deadly than their 1950’s counterparts. And AR-15 rifles cannot “blow up” railroads and shoot down airplanes. But those who believe that all guns are evil (and gun owners too) don’t care about the facts or the truth, they only care about emotional appeals that work towards their goal of eliminating gun ownership. They see gun ownership as a symptom of a brutal society, and in order to make their utopian dreams come true guns and their owners need to be removed so that peace can flourish. Which would be a nice idea, if it were based in any semblance of reality.

Once again, the New York Times has proven that when it comes to guns they don’t care about fact checking. They don’t care about presenting a truthful argument or an accurate representation of the facts. All they care about is forcing the narrative to fit their agenda, and as long as the ends justify the means they’re OK with that. And obviously, the Editorial Board knows way more about ballistics and the realities of policing than police officers themselves.

64 Responses to New York Times Demands M855 Ammo Ban

  1. The gunman approached the passenger side of the patrol car and took a shooting stance, witnesses told police. He opened fire several times, striking both officers in the head, Bratton said.
    Looks like their vests didn’t even come into play. The Times isn’t even worth using for puppy training.

  2. NYTimes editorials are some of the most biased ones out there. Keep in mind these are opinion pieces, meaning the editors will completely shirk their fact checking role and just brush it off as interpretive opinion. I gave up on them entirely after realizing this.

    Their standard news pieces tend to be less biased if you can stomach the slight authoritarian tilt.

    • “… be less biased if you can stomach the slight authoritarian tilt”
      True but just wait until Bubba Bloomberg owns it.

    • “Maybe the M855 ban is part of Obama’s “under the radar” gun control that Sarah Brady bragged about and the NRA warned about three years ago.”

      Then a loud, public media blitz is needed to broadcast that fact…

    • A blanket ban on what I suspect is the second most popular kind of ammo (after all the .22 LR) in the USA is hardly “under the radar”, and that’s how we’re seeing it play out, as well.

      I’m more inclined to see it as a kind of revenge poop by the administration on its way out.

  3. Now that we’ve (rightly) denigrated the NYT for its inaccuracies, let us police our own position.

    “The NRA takes direction from the millions of dues paying American citizens who make up its membership.”

    As a Life Member, and one of a family of members since before WWII, I can say with assurance that — IN MY OPINION — the NRA, regardless of many fine things that it does, does not take direction in any form from its millions of members.

    The association is infamous for its closed-mindedness to members in general, particularly in the legislative area. Any local activist can tell you that … and I’ve tried to work with many of them.

    They’re the 800 lb gorilla of the firearms debate, and they run more roughshod over members than they do over most hoplophobes. This, presumably, is because they believe that they are always right. In my book, that’s hubris with a capital H.

      • “Slow beast to move indeed, however all my last several American Rifleman mags have dire OMG this is the end unless we,..,,, etc,….etc,… I don’t need wine promotional emails, I don’t need the hypocrisy of “The Last 700 Days” of obamas term to stoke the fires in letters and magazines as they remain, “the slow beast to move”.

        Research Grover Norquist and Alan Gottliebs position on the NRA board.
        The warm and fuzzies ain’t there for me.

        • Get on the no marketing list. I never get any of that crap.

          As far as other people’s opinions of the board, there will always be critics. Alan in particular was the one that tried to sell us up a river to get, nothing because he was stupid enough to trust a politician.

          The NRA isn’t perfect, but show me a organizations that is as effective as the NRA is in the legislature. There is none, and the NRA is constantly fighting an uphill battle because the media is against us.

  4. Comments disabled of course. It’s not on their Facebook page either. Debate it not the friend of the intellectually disarmed.

  5. The problem is a lot more people read the NY Times than the Truth About Guns. Even if we were able to force the NY Times into a retraction, the NY Times would print the retraction on a day when circulation is low and place the retraction somewhere no one would see it.

    It is hard to defeat an army of liars at their own game.

  6. The problem with the the NY Times and nearly all major so-called news organizations is they are agenda driven. They may sometimes swerve into some news event or other but for the most part their “news” reporting is editorialized to fit their pre-determined story line, i.e. “world ends tomorrow, women and minorities hardest hit”. No, if it’s news I want, I look elsewhere. I don’t need to be spoken down to like I am 6 years old and not very bright.

    Like most liberal owned and operated enterprises they are of the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ mentality. Like the owner Shultsberger who along with his armed bodyguards has a carry permit in NYC where none of us mere mortals need even apply for one.

    I gave up on the Gray Lady years ago. It is a dying enterprise. The ad revenue is down, their staff reporters and writers are leaving or being fired to cut costs. Can’t happen soon enough for me. They can all go p*ss up a rope.

  7. I love how the so called “media” seem to forget that fact that NO police officer has EVER been killed by this so called cop killer ammo.

  8. The gun-gabbers are already “Using Lies and Disinformation”, and have been doing so for years!

    • heh, yup. Remember Winchester Black Talons? oh the media storm, hype and misinformation as gospel. Wow. Hell, it was widely believed that ANY black talon AKA “cop killer bullet” could penetrate ALL armor and explode into a cloud of lethal razor blades once the bullet found its target…. I wouldn’t put it past them to call it laser guided, heat seeking to boot. Some state to this day have laws regarding the use of Teflon coated bullets because that sexy black tip was a Teflon oxide or some sort.

      My bad, molybdenum disulfide, or wax is the stuff. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Talon

  9. When I create a firearm manufacturing/RnD firm, I’m going to call it “EGI Arms”. Not confirming, but certainly not denying that it hypothetically stands for “Evil Gun Industry(TM) Arms”.

  10. From the Wikipedia article on 5.56x45mm ammunition: “SS109/M855 NATO ball can penetrate up to 3 mm (0.12 in) of steel at 600 meters.[22] According to Nammo, a Norwegian ammunition producer, the 5.56×45mm NATO M995 armour piercing cartridge can penetrate up to 12 mm (0.47 in) of RHA steel at 100 meters.[23]”

    As you can see, they cite their sources for these. And as you can also see, actual AP ammo in that caliber penetrates about 4 times the thickness of steel when compared to M855. Furthermore, the article talks about the decreased effectiveness of M855 out of short barrels such as on the M4 carbine (and AR pistol barrels are even shorter). The NYT and other leftist publications are simply full of it.

  11. F**K the NY times and the fools who read it and buy into their bullsh*t, I’m inclined to go with the Betty Ford slogan ” Just say NO!” to all the anti-gun socialist scumbags, No I won’t stop owning guns, No I won’t stop using my guns, NO I won’t get rid of my hi-cap magazines, NO I won’t register my guns and NO I won’t play your control games!

    So In other words F**K you to all the Socialist a**hats, may you all become extinct along with the Dodo.

    One day I may actually say what I really think..:D

  12. “Republican allies of the gun lobby have submitted preposterous legislation to strip the firearms bureau of its authority to regulate ammunition.”

    For real? Someone got a reference to what bill this is?

  13. I don’t think it is true that the NY Times does not care about facts. I think they just don’t know much about guns and don’t realize the flaws in their thinking on this matter.

  14. This tells me that the uproar against BATF is having an effect. The Progs are now having to pull out the NYT to bring an opposing position to the issue.

  15. Wouldn’t it be interesting if journalists had to pass a basic knowledge test about a subject on which they plan to opine or report?

    But of course that would be an infringement of the constitution.

  16. Do you expect anything less..it is the NY Times. The bad part is that the uneducated will take what they say as the truth when all it is a anti gun propaganda. The idiots that write this trash would not know a 223 bullet from a 50cal bullet.

  17. M855 Ammo Demands Ban to the New York Times – has a better shot.

    I already told you about this puppy pages/bird cage liner crap.

    NYT is circling the drain, and you’ve given it a greater public forum than it generates on its own by citing it here.

    NYC is a puissant little town, and it’s paper is even smaller

    • When that piece of Amendment 1 goes after Amendment 2, that piece of Amendment 1 gets to go F-itself with something sharp and heavy.

      How much you wanna bet this isn’t a latent attack on our military as well, because ammo suppliers need a healthy circulation to take the ‘chug’ out of any war-time production and to keep the fires stoked for when we get to our ground war with China, and Mexico.

  18. Anyone still under the delusion that we’re having some sort of “conversation” with anti-gunners? There is nothing to “come to the table” over except the sacrifice of your Liberty. Shall not be infringed.

  19. here is a dread thought…

    outlaw lead bullets because save the environment. then outlaw steel core because armor piercing evilness? Even though its not really….

    maybe they should also outlaw knives cause you can cut stuff with them… oh wait…

  20. The problem is that the M855 was never AP. The a-holes at ATF called it that in 1986 so they could give it an exemption. The U.S. military never called it AP. That is what the black tip M955 was, AP. It doesn’t help when idiots that claimed to have been in the army call it AP. I saw a clown at the local gun show Saturday selling M855 as AP. He and I had a heated discussion about.

  21. M855 has been on store shelves for 30 years. All of sudden now it is a problem? Was there an incident? No – the ATF just said it was a problem. NYT immediately jumps on board as predicted. If there was any kind of ban whatsoever in regards to firearms, regardless of the reasons, regardless of the extent or content – the NYT would be for it.

    • During that time, they have been trying like hell to get rid of the AR15 and standard capacity mags for it.

  22. I confess I did not read the NYT editorial. However, also this morning, the NYT news feed was on my phone. Their LEAD piece under Fashion and Style lauded the “transition” of a former “male” former ballet dancer with the NY Ballet into a woman. I got through the first two paragraphs, puked, and shut the phone off.

  23. Oh SHOCKER anything from new york screams cry baby sheltered progressive liberal/ true anti American. Atleast not true roots care about the real future of America American. A bunch of snot nosed sissies who want real men to protect them. The real men who are smart enough to realize what it takes to be free and keep it that way. The libs imagine a magical wall and that America is un touchable because they have been bread to think this way. They dont understand the people they call crazy gun people help keep it that way. “Behind every blade of grass.”

  24. Even if we give the Times the benefit of the doubt and assume that every single one of those instances was an AR-15 pistol loaded with M855 ammunition….

    Why do you give them this ridiculous “benefit of the doubt”. They NEVER give our side the benefit of the doubt. You should have left it with the FACT that nobody has provided example #1 that some cop has EVER been killed with M855. Let them prove other wise. Hammer the fact that it’s all make belief fear mongering.

  25. When the batf banned 5.45×39 7n6 ammo, no one complained, well that gave them the idea to do it again, this time to 556.

    When the govt bans one type of gun or ammo, always complain, always make a big deal out of it, even if you arent using that type of gun or ammo.

    And abolish the batf, it is long overdue.

  26. At least this article (the one on TTAG) finally acknowledged the real problem. While the ATF is a bunch of idiots, so are the people at home who had to push the boundaries and start developing AR pistols. Good job on developing a firearm that directly allows the ATF to irritate you!

  27. It cracks me up that I have heard so much bleating about banning M855, but nobody has as yet suggested that the if the cops are that threatened (which they aren’t) they should up-armor themselves. The solution is ALWAYS a ban.

  28. You know what Fu#king ban it!! I’ve got over tens of thousands of rounds of M855 and selling those rounds will make me huge profits. Profits that will allow me to buy more guns and double the amount of 5.56 “non green tip” ammo. M855 and M193 or similar commercial ammo are the same thing. So go ahead and ban it….Next president is going to un ban it anyways.

  29. “criminals prefer handguns over rifles”

    And why is this? Because handguns are more concealable and more portable! I just ran a search in Google Images for “ar15 pistol”. Perhaps someone who has more experience with the AR platform can correct me if I’m wrong, but it appears to me that even the smallest AR pistols are FAR larger than a full-sized handgun, and much less a subcompact. Furthermore, don’t criminals tend to favor cheaper firearms? They’re trying to intimidate and/or injure people form close range, not compete in an Olympic-level biathlon, for crying out loud.

    Also, during a Google search, I encountered this little gem:
    Man Armed with Sawed-Off Mosin Nagant

    Does this mean 7.62x54R will be next to be banned? Also, how big of a fireball would one of those create?

    • That’s hilarious! If I became a gun wheeling criminal I think I’d go with a flint lock pistol. The media will report on it and the government will try to ban either flintlock pistols or musket balls. I’d make some popcorn and watch all the dress up pirates, frontiersmen, American revolution, etc protest in Washington.

      BREAKING NEWS……..Pirates protest Obama administration….Say newly proposed gun legislation is not ARRRR right!

  30. These people want to cut anything they can in the guise of saving lives, no matter how small the number actually is.

    I wish they were concerned with these sorts of details when it comes to our countries debt; something that affects our lives to a much greater extent than all the firearms in America. That’s a cause where even the smallest number cut would be infinitely more advantageous to securing the well-being of this country’s future.

  31. The New York Times is nothing more than a liberal rag! Their position on the M855 round is uninformed and ignorant.

  32. “Predictably, the gun lobby is marshaling gun owners and legislative allies to oppose the ban, falsely accusing the Obama administration of exceeding its authority through some backdoor attempt at gun control.”

    I love when the left goes out of their way to blurt out their entire plan to us. Guess what, NYT, gun rights advocates aren’t your moronic, lemming readers. We have minds of our own, intelligence, and most importantly, a conscience. We see through you.

  33. “It seems that the New York Times Editorial Board is failing to grasp one very important fact: the gun lobby isn’t about gun manufacturers.”

    That is a good thing. The fact that they do not understand their opponent is a huge advantage for us.

  34. Oh . . well, if the New York Times ‘demands’ it, then we all better just trot right on down to our local PD and turn it all in.

  35. New York Times reporters a Marines favorite Snipr bait. Think even tne insurgents didnt really care for them

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