Letters to the Editor

Ban armor-piercing bullets: Sensible regulation or back-door gun control?

Green tip, M855 5.56mm ammunition is photographed Monday, March 2, 2015, in Fort Washington, Md. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is proposing the ban of “M855 green tip” or “SS109” rounds with certain types of metal cores.
Green tip, M855 5.56mm ammunition is photographed Monday, March 2, 2015, in Fort Washington, Md. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is proposing the ban of “M855 green tip” or “SS109” rounds with certain types of metal cores. AP

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says it is planning to restrict the future sale of armor-piercing rifle bullets, commonly used by hunters, because new handguns that use the ammunition pose a threat to law enforcement. Police organizations and anti-gun advocates are lauding the administration’s decision, but firearms organizations are crying foul. Is the Obama administration pursuing sensible gun regulations, or is this an attempt at “backdoor” gun control to make up for the failed attempts to pass such legislation in Congress?

With Facebook and other media blowing up about ATF’s plan to ban future sales of “armor-piercing” bullets “commonly used by hunters,” I have to wonder when game started wearing armor.

It seems to me that there is no “legitimate” use of “armor-piercing” bullets in hunting as it is designed to pierce armor commonly worn by police officers and soldiers.

Thus, I believe this to be sensible as there is ammo for hunting that does not require the ability to pierce armor.

— Robert W. May, Azle

The real problem with this ban is the old “slippery slope.”

If we decide this one isn’t worth arguing about, what’s the next bullet that might be banned using the same rationale?

There are other types of commonly-used steel-core and bimetal jacket ammo out there.

Will they be banned in the next executive order?

Any bullet can pose a threat to law enforcement.

Maybe citizens should only be allowed to have Nerf guns for hunting and self defense.

— James Withaeger, Arlington

With the gun-owner community in a constant state of NRA-driven high dudgeon over the tactics of the federal government, why give them rhetorical ammunition they don’t need?

The simple fact is that the ammunition in question is no more armor-piercing than many other rounds which have been and will remain commercially available.

The one defining characteristic of these rounds is that they are military surplus, and hence generally more affordable than standard commercial rounds.

Gun owners see this as nothing more than an attempt by the federal government with no defensible public purpose to drive up the cost of their sport.

— Mark Greene, Fort Worth

For the past few weeks every time I read the newspaper or listen to the news all I hear from the Republicans in Austin is about guns.

As for banning the sale of armor-piercing bullets, I think this is sensible regulation. Why do ordinary citizens need this type of ammunition.

I am not against a person owning a gun if they go through background checks and goes through the safety training.

We need common sense regulation of guns for everybody’s safety.

— Paul D. Vassar, Fort Worth

This dishonest measure bans the M855 round used primarily in rifles, not handguns, and not classified as “armor-piercing” according to U.S. code.

This is not about safety. It is one in a series of outlandish steps by a powerful regulatory agency to restrict, control and disarm law-abiding Americans. This is prototypical back door gun control — just another of attempt by the utopian statists to chip away at our freedom.

— Steve Kilborn, Fort Worth

I have hunted the better part of my life and I have never seen or heard of anyone using armor-piercing rounds for hunting anything.

All hunting bullets are semi-jacketed, designed to mushroom on impact and have maximum stopping and killing power. An AP bullet would whizz right through an animal.

What’s even more puzzling is the statement that new hand guns will use this AP ammo and pose a threat to law enforcement.

I have never heard of a true AP pistol round (much less an AP rifle round) being used in handguns other than specially coated bullets that will supposedly penetrate some body armor.

If all of this is coming out of the ATF then they are a colossal source of misinformation and certainly not in any position to make a ruling on anything.

— Henry Taylor, Grapevine

The federal government’s own regulations defining “armor-piercing” bullets refer only to pistol ammunition that can penetrate a policeman’s protective vest.

The 5.56mm M855 “Green Tip” rifle round, designed to penetrate soldiers’ steel helmets, not vests, was not considered as “armor-piercing” until handguns came on the market that can use 5.56 rounds.

So to ban a common, popular, fairly cheap rifle round because somebody, somewhere, someday might put it in an AR-15 style pistol (a stupid idea IMO) sounds like a backdoor attempt to crack down on those evil scary AR-15 rifles.

— Bob Fleitz, Arlington

It’s just another attempt at gun control.

They didn’t get what they wanted on gun control so now they will try to get control of the ammunition.

— Thomas S. Wilson, Fort Worth

All Points each Monday features reader responses to a question posed by the Editorial Board. With each week’s responses comes the next week’s question. All Points responses are not counted toward the monthly limit of one letter to the editor from each writer. Readers are welcome to send their own ideas for All Points topics to Editorial Director Mike Norman, mnorman@star-telegram.com.