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American
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch filed suit in federal court on Monday seeking communications records related to the Obama administration's attempt to ban a popular kind of AR-15 ammunition in 2015.
The suit, Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. It stems from a Freedom of Information Act request the watchdog group filed with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) in March 2015. The request asked for all communications related to the agency's decision "to no longer exempt 5.56 mm. SS109 and M855 (i.e., ‘green tip' AR-15) ammunition from the definition of ‘armor-piercing' ammunition" in the year leading up to its announcement.

http://freebeacon.com/politics/judicial-watch-files-suit-seeking-atf-records-attempted-ammo-bans/
 

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so.... why was ATF wrong to say that because of all the AR-pattern handguns on the market today, any steel-core (and especially green tip body-armor-penetrating ammo) ammo in .223 / 5.56mm is considered a "handgun" caliber, and thus it's illegal to import and sell (commercially, by dealers) such ammo that is made to defeat body armor?


Refresh my memory on that.

The SS-109 and M855 ammo does have a steel core. It doesn't matter that it's also got lead behind it. Even if the steel is only something like 20% of the overall bullet weight, and only 40% of the core by volume (I'm making these numbers up, based on eyeballing diagrams of a sectioned green tip bullet), THE FACT REMAINS that it's got a steel core, and a 30-year old federal law designed to protect police officers who wear normal Level IIA or Level III soft body armor bans any steel core in ammo that is capable of being used in a handgun (other than a single shot handgun, because we all know you can get a T/C Contender or Encore in almost any milsurp rifle caliber).
 

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American
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
so.... why was ATF wrong to say that because of all the AR-pattern handguns on the market today, any steel-core (and especially green tip body-armor-penetrating ammo) ammo in .223 / 5.56mm is considered a "handgun" caliber, and thus it's illegal to import and sell (commercially, by dealers) such ammo that is made to defeat body armor?

Refresh my memory on that.

The SS-109 and M855 ammo does have a steel core. It doesn't matter that it's also got lead behind it. Even if the steel is only something like 20% of the overall bullet weight, and only 40% of the core by volume (I'm making these numbers up, based on eyeballing diagrams of a sectioned green tip bullet), THE FACT REMAINS that it's got a steel core, and a 30-year old federal law designed to protect police officers who wear normal Level IIA or Level III soft body armor bans any steel core in ammo that is capable of being used in a handgun (other than a single shot handgun, because we all know you can get a T/C Contender or Encore in almost any milsurp rifle caliber).
While I think you're wrong given the definitions in place at the time, the real issue here is failure of BATFE to comply with the law relating to a legitimate FOIA request. They nail many people for "technical" violations but seem to think they are above the law themselves.
 

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Ok.
I considered these bullets to have two cores.
One core of steel, and one core of lead.
Unmixed, not blended, and each with a different purpose.

But if a single bullet can have only one core, then those bullets have "a core" that is not entirely steel, or a combination of steel and some other remarkably hard metal.
 

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Ok.
I considered these bullets to have two cores.
One core of steel, and one core of lead.
Unmixed, not blended, and each with a different purpose.

But if a single bullet can have only one core, then those bullets have "a core" that is not entirely steel, or a combination of steel and some other remarkably hard metal.
I think the issue here is that AP ammo is defined in statute, and SS109 does not meet that definition.
 

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My theory is this. That the ATF knew full well that M855 doesn't meet the definition on armor piercing ammo, but was under Obama administration pressure to do something. After the success of banning the 5.45 ammo that is also not armor piercing the ATF figured that they could pass a ruling without much outcry and lean on the Chevron defense to any court challenge. When it became a media storm with Congressional inquires they backed off. The FOIA stalling is to cover that fact as long a possible.
 

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I think the issue here is that AP ammo is defined in statute, and SS109 does not meet that definition.
Exactly most folks think the ban has something to do with penetrating concealed body armor. That was never part of the definition. It was included in the original draft but since all rifle ammunition will penetrate standard armor, by design, that part was dropped.
 

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so.... why was ATF wrong to say that because of all the AR-pattern handguns on the market today, any steel-core (and especially green tip body-armor-penetrating ammo) ammo in .223 / 5.56mm is considered a "handgun" caliber, and thus it's illegal to import and sell (commercially, by dealers) such ammo that is made to defeat body armor?
Because it doesn't meet the statutory definition of armor piercing in 18 USC 921(a)(17)(b)(i):

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/921

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
 
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