Reader SAS 2008 writes:
While I agree that M855 should not be classified as armor piercing because its core is not “entirely” composed of the restricted materials, I am concerned that everyone is focusing on M855 and missing the point of the ATF proposal. The title of the document is: ATF FRAMEWORK FOR DETERMINING WHETHER CERTAIN PROJECTILES ARE “PRIMARILY INTENDED FOR SPORTING PURPOSES” WITHIN THE MEANING OF 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(C), So while it may be useful to comment on M855 and U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(B)(i) we had better also comment on the problems with the proposal’s definition of what is primarily intended for sporting purposes . . .
On page 10 of the proposal they make the statement:
…the Court explained that an objective analysis of whether an item is “primarily intended” for a specified use must focus on the “likely use” of that item in the general community, not the subjective intent of any user or discrete group.
Immediately following on the next page they say:
Determining the “likely use” in the general community of any type of ammunition necessarily involves examination of the cartridges in which the armor piercing projectiles can be loaded, and the handguns that are readily available to accept those cartridges. More specifically, the characteristics of the handgun or handguns in which a specific armor piercing projectile may be used will generally determine that projectile’s “likely use” in the general community.
They are making a major logic error here and it will come back to bite us. The problem is that they are focusing on the likely use of the ammo only in handguns even through U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(C) does not mention the use of the ammo in handguns only. If you include the likely use of the ammo in both rifles and pistols, the likely use may be entirely different.
If you consider the use of M855 in all AR pistols and rifles then I would contend that the most likely use of that ammo is for target shooting because that is what most people in the “general community” do with their AR rifles which vastly outnumber AR pistols. By focusing only on the handgun use, are they drastically increasing the likelihood that they would be able to ban a particular type of ammo? Perhaps that this their intent.
If they are successful in defining the likely use of ammo this way then they could say that it doesn’t matter if a cartridge was originally designed for a rifle and it doesn’t matter that it is mostly used in rifles. Once there is a pistol made to shoot that cartridge they can say that its most likely use is not sporting because pistols are mostly used for self defense. This is a terrible precedent to set.