GOP Fires Back With Bill in House in Support of M855 Ammo


On Monday, Representative Patrick McHenry (R-North Carolina), introduced H.R. 1365, the Ammunition and Firearms Protection Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill is a reaction to the recent kerfuffle over the BATFE’s proposed M855 ammo ban, which would add the exception to 18 U.S.C. sec. 921(a)(17), which defines “armor-piercing ammunition” . . .

Section 921(a)(17) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
“(D) Notwithstanding subparagraph (B), the term `armor piercing
ammunition’ does not include–
“(i) any M855 (5.56 mm x 45 mm) or SS109 type ammunition;
“(ii) any ammunition designed, intended, and marketed for
use in a rifle.”.

Representative McHenry described his bill as being prompted by an “assault on our Constitution and Bill of Rights.”

“The Ammunition and Firearms Protection Act would put an end to this attack on our Second Amendment by ensuring this popular ammunition used by countless law-abiding American sportsmen remains available and not subject to any future ATF bans,” McHenry said in a statement.

The ATF argued the proposed bullet ban would have protected police officers from bullets that were traditionally used in hunting rifles but can now also be used in handguns, which are more easily concealed; it backed down amid mounting pressure from Republicans and the gun lobby.

On the other hand, as The Hill reports, Representatives Jackie Speier (D-California) and Steve Israel (D-New York) will be offering up a new bill to ban the ammunition.

House Democrats will introduce legislation this week that would block handguns from firing any sort of ammunition that can penetrate body armor worn by police officers.

The Modernize Law Enforcement Protection Act is expected to be introduced later this week by Rep. Jackie Speier….

“The Second Amendment does not give anyone the right to use a bullet that is specifically designed to pierce the protective gear worn by police officers,” Rep. Steve Israel…, who is co-sponsoring the bill, told The Hill.

“The Second Amendment, which I support, had well intended 18th century protections, but we live in a world with 21st century criminals and increasingly lethal weapons,” he added.

Is anyone fooled when a politican begins a sentence with “The Second Amendment, which I support…”? It’s kind of like when someone says “with all due respect“….

Speier’s and Israel’s bill (which has not yet been introduced,) is apparently intended to be much more aggressive in going after the right of Americans to keep and bear arms than a bill introduced earlier by Representative Eliot Engel (D-New York) (H.R. 1358 – the Armor Piercing Bullets Act of 2015,).

Engel would specifically exempt 40 grain .22 rimfire ammunition and rounds specifically intended for one-shot target pistols from the definition of ‘armor-piercing ammunition’ while simultaneously authorizing regulators to go to town on anything else that otherwise meets that definition.

Given the political makeup of the House, I’d be more than a little surprised if the Democrats’ bills get anywhere — they sound just like red meat for a political base that has been conditioned to accept “guns bad!” as one of the slogans to shout at rallies.

Still, it’s nice to see the political opposition stake out their positions so clearly. If Israel, Speier, and Engel want to openly put themselves on the side of those who would restrict the civil rights of Americans, it won’t have been the first time members of their party have done so.

(As an aside, the current definition in the U.S. Code for “armor-piercing ammunition” is as follows:

(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.

That’s right, under section 921 of the U.S. Code, “armor-piercing ammunition” can only be fired from a “handgun“. And they wonder why we laugh when the anti-gunners talk about passing new laws.)


  1. avatar Another Robert says:

    Wonder what Dan Baum would have to say about these competing bills and their respective authorship? (Actually, I do wonder)

  2. avatar arsh says:

    Will this bear any affect on the banned 5.45×39 that everyone seemed to ignore prior to the immediate follow up ban of their M855? The legislation that allowed the banning of 5.45 is what was used against M855 but none of you threw a tantrum then. If this bill doesnt fix that then who cares!

    1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

      Wasn’t only the Russian made 5.45×39 (and Russian rifles) banned as retaliation toward Russia? Or are you referring to something else?

      1. avatar arsh says:

        Surplus 5.45 was banned under the guise that it was “armor piercing” just like M855 and could be fired in a “pistol.” The fused the ban with the concept that it was “russian made” so no one would notice, but the core ban of it was that its “armor piercing.”

      2. avatar Sixpack70 says:

        7N6 was banned prior to Russia screwing with Ukraine. It is smaller than .22 caliber and by the law should not be considered “armor piercing”. It was about $100 per 1080 box. Now it is the same price as 7.62, although 5.45 is a low recoil accurate round which I enjoy shooting.

        1. avatar Chadwick P. says:

          I knew you were a filer. Good on you.

      3. avatar Chadwick P. says:

        No Russian firearms were banned from import as retaliation for Russia’s actions. Our “dear leader” used events in another country that were none of our business to ban firearms. Plain and simple he wanted to cut the import of guns. He doesn’t care where they come from he just cares if they come here and not to Iran. 7N6 was banned to cut the flow of affordable ammunition to law abiding American citizens. The excuse was “armor piercing” but no solid evidence has been found(to my knowledge) that a mass produced 5.45×39 handgun was ever imported or imported since. Don’t buy the lies. Our regime wants firearms out of our hands and heavy armor in theirs… Makes sense right? Which step is that in the Communist play book?

    2. avatar doesky2 says:

      Yeah that McHenry bill should be amended to include 5.45

      You have to make the ATF pay for their illegal gambit of going after M855 by making them end up lose more then just not getting M855. Penalize them for their attempt.

      Can anybody provide a link to the best article that describes the technical merits against the 5.45 ban. Wondering if we can get some Emails going to McHenry.

    3. avatar anonymoose says:

      Since it says “any ammunition designed to be used in a rifle,” maybe we could use that as impetus to sue the ATF to give us back our cheap Chinese steel-core 7.62×39, 7N6, and maybe even the old cheapo surplus Swedish-K 9mm which was the cause for the ban in the first place.

    4. avatar Sian says:

      The 7n6 was an import ban, which unfortunately follows a whole different set of rules.

  3. avatar Excedrine says:

    I doubt either bill will make it out of committee. But, here’s to hoping (probably in vain) that H.R. 1365 does.

    I’ll be watching this space, as always.

    1. avatar B says:

      There’s no reason why it wouldn’t make it out of committee and get a vote. I’m sure Obama would veto it though.

  4. avatar The Mountain That Rides says:

    Hearing somebody say “I support the Second Amendment but…” is about like hearing somebody say, “I’m not a racist but…” and then telling an extremely tasteless joke about Orientals or something.

    Both statements are usually preceded by a quick glance around the room, in order to ensure they need to excuse themselves. Otherwise, they just say their awful piece, knowing nobody in the room will be offended enough to beat them from one end of the room to the other, physically or verbally.

    1. avatar Chrispy says:

      Anything ever said before the word “but” can be ignored completely in 99% of cases

    2. avatar Alan Longnecker says:

      I’m not a racist, but how many politicians does it take to change a light bulb?

      Six, three Democrats to blame the Republicans, and three Republicans to blame the Democrats.

      No, the light bulb doesn’t get changed.

  5. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    It’s refreshing when a politician clearly states which side of freedom they are on.

    1. avatar Accur81 says:

      The difference in freedom, especially with gun laws, isn’t even close. I’ve never voted for an anti-gun Democrat like Obama, Pelosi, Feinstein, etc. and I never will.

    2. avatar david says:

      I wouldn’t say that shows where they stand on freedom, I’d say it’s more for show. Neither bill gets passed and at the end of the day the politician can stand up and see, I fought for this, reelect me.

  6. avatar Don From CT says:

    Mr. Israel has it exactly wrong. Historically speaking, the 2a was written specifically to ensure that the citizenry had effective weapons to resist the Government and its standing army. That includes shooting soldiers and police. A quick read of Federalist 26 makes that abundantly clear.


    1. avatar BDub says:

      Well there wasn’t supposed to be a “standing army” and “police” didn’t exist in the U.S until 1844. If anything the military and LEO equipment should be limited to what civilians have access to and not the other way around. In other words, no distinction between them , hehe.

    2. avatar Paul G says:

      And the supremacy clause makes clear that state and local laws about firearms are in violation of the constitutionally enumerated prohibition on arms infringements.

  7. avatar Ralph says:

    Democrats say “I support the Second Amendment but not guns!”

    Fudds say “I support the Second Amendment buh-buh-buh-buh-buh-but that’s all folks!”

  8. avatar BDub says:

    “House Democrats will introduce legislation this week that would block handguns from firing any sort of ammunition that can penetrate body armor worn by police officers.”

    I’ll make a deal with you – encase them in Level IIIa from head to toe and then repeal the NFA and GCA. Deal?

    Seriously though, making the limits of one technology contingent on the current development of another technology is a fools errand – even if we weren’t trying to legislatively fix a fantasy scenario that just doesn’t happen in real-life.

  9. avatar Steve B says:

    I just heard yesterday, that the ATF did not back down on the M855 ammunition ban, they tabled it, because now they are evaluating the threat that all AR15 ammunition poses to LEOs. This means when they come back, their proposed ban could be extended to include other ammo beyond the scope of just M855

    1. avatar A-Rod says:

      Good Luck to them banning an entire industry. Ammo is almost too big to fail as the banks are/were.

      1. avatar Kyle says:

        Too big to fail? Ammunition is a tiny industry overall. Firearms and ammunition combined are pretty small industries.

    2. avatar anonymoose says:

      All I have to say is

  10. avatar Kyle says:

    “The Second Amendment does not give anyone the right to use a bullet that is specifically designed to pierce the protective gear worn by police officers,” Rep. Steve Israel…, who is co-sponsoring the bill, told The Hill.

    Yes, well the bullet you’re speaking of isn’t specifically designed to pierce the protective gear worn by police. And the Second Amendment doesn’t “give” anything, it protects pre-existing rights. And actually, yes that includes the right to specific armor-piercing ammunition.

  11. avatar Dirty Pool says:

    Keep pushing H.R. 1329 to disband ATF at the same time. Bury the Zombie agency.

  12. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    “The Second Amendment does not give anyone the right to use a bullet that is specifically designed to pierce the protective gear worn by police officers,” Rep. Steve Israel…, who is co-sponsoring the bill, told The Hill.”

    If you believe, and rightfully so, the 2nd A is there to enable the people to rise up against gov’t and its agents, then yeah, it protects bullet that pierce protective gear…

    Can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs first, just saying.

  13. avatar Grindstone says:

    “The First Amendment, which I support, had well intended 18th century protections, but we live in a world with 21st century hackers and increasingly vulnerable data systems.”

    See how that bullsh!t works?

  14. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    Explain to me how all politicians are the same?

  15. avatar Defens says:

    The good Congressman is way too honest in titling his bill. “Ammunition and Firearms Protection Act”? Now what self-respecting fence-sitting representative would vote for that? Protecting ammo AND firearms? How inhuman!

    Now, if it was called the “Commonsense Reclassification of Cop Killer Bullets Act” – maybe we could even get some hysterical inner-city liberal types to vote for it (assuming they don’t bother to read the bill, which seems like a normal kind of thing in Congress…)

  16. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    The ATF and big fires is full of crap and we all know it.
    The back door the are trying to use here is to ban all rifle ammunition long term.
    With zero accountability by his unholiness Obslama.
    Hopefully we will have less then 18 months more of this crap and then put the president in jail where he and Holder both belong.
    Personally Ive had enough of this bull sh$t.
    We elected a Republican congress and senate to do their damm jobs.
    So far its been business as usual.
    NOTHING still gets done.

    Toss them all again as soon as we can.

  17. avatar Scrubula says:

    With all due respect, I’ll take it.

    “(ii) any ammunition designed, intended, and marketed for
    use in a rifle.”.

    That “and” should really be an “or”. Marketing coincides with intent but ammo designed in a rifle can be used in a handgun. With today’s growing gun market there’s not really any ammo that can’t have a prototype handgun built for it. The only possible way to protect rifle ammunition is to legalize all ‘armor piercing’ ammo for what it was originally designed to be used in, not what it can be used in or what it’s marketed for.

  18. avatar A Hill says:

    “The Second Amendment does not give anyone the right to use a bullet that is specifically designed to pierce the protective gear worn by police officers,” Rep. Steve Israel

    Uhhhh… I don’t think the Second Amendment means what he thinks it means. A constitutional scholar he is not in the slightest.

  19. avatar John L. says:

    The bill is great and all, but this is starting to feel like the tax code: frequent little back-and-forth bandaids, specific measures, and tweaks, which eventually results in something that, somewhere, probably makes air illegal.

    How about, instead, something like:

    The law Congress previously enacted regarding the definition of “armor piercing” ammunition is modified as follows:

    1. Ammunition shall be classified as “rifle” or “pistol” based on the type of firearm the round was originally designed for, regardless of current usage;
    2. The definitions provided in the previous law as to what constitutes an “armor piercing” round of ammunition shall be taken literally as stated, and are not open to interpretation or redefinition at an agency level; and
    3. Legitimate sporting purposes shall be interpreted as any non-self-defense activity, current or past, conducted in a lawful manner.

  20. avatar Fred says:

    Democrats will oppose this outright.
    Which is why, for what its worth, they should go for broke and remove the ATF’s power to regulate ammunition.

    They’ve abused it too much.

    1. avatar Yellow Devil says:

      Bingo. Unless the bill calls for the dismantling, reigning in and/or cutting of funding to the ATF, then everything else is merely crumbs thrown to us “peasants”.

  21. avatar TTWiT says:

    This is good up until the last two lines. Slinging that mud doesn’t help anything, especially when doing so is evidence you couldn’t be bothered to actually read the ATF “framework” document. It goes through the history and reasoning behind the writing of the law before completely disregarding the intent.

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