Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

Testing the waters

Think we won one when the ATF pulled back on green tips? Better think again.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on Thursday raised new concerns about surplus military ammo used in popular AR-15 rifles and pistols just days after pulling back on a proposal to ban the ammo because it could threaten police safety.

In a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, ATF Director B. Todd Jones said all types of the 5.56 military-style ammo used by shooters pose a threat to police as more people buy the AR-15-style pistols.

“Any 5.56 round” is “a challenge for officer safety,” he said. Jones asked lawmakers to help in a review of a 1986 bill written to protect police from so-called “cop killer” rounds that largely exempted rifle ammo like the 5.56 because it has been used by target shooters, not criminals.

His agency’s move to ban the 5.56 M855 version was condemned by the National Rifle Association and majorities in the House and Senate and as a result was pulled back though not abandoned. At the hearing Jones said that nearly 90,000 comments on the proposal were received, many negative.

As a result, he said that the ATF will suspend rewriting the “framework” used to exempt armor piercing ammo from sale or use. “It probably isn’t going to happen any time soon,” he said. Jones also said, “We are not going to move forward.”

The 5.56 M855 round, he said, is military surplus, typically has a green tip and was used in the M-16. There are several versions of the 5.56. The M855 carries a bullet that can penetrate police body armor, though shooters often debate that.

Just like every damned other 5.56 round does. Herschel cuts to the heart of the matter:

Banning green tip does nothing to prevent anyone from using a rifle round (shot from any weapon) to penetrate soft body armor, and wearing ceramic ESAPI plates protects against both frangible 5.56 mm ammunition and green tip ammunition. Furthermore, a so-called 5.56 mm “pistol” is nothing more than a SBR (short barrel rifle) with a barrel length of less than 16″ and no stock. It isn’t concealable.

So speculation of course ran wild as to the exact intent of the ATF. Are they stupid? Do they not really understand the technical issues they are dealing with? But today B. Todd Jones answered those questions. They are concerned about all 5.56 mm cartridges. Of course they are. But that .270 pointed soft point, shot from a necked down 30-06 cartridge from my bolt action deer hunting rifle? Yes, that’s the one. It will penetrate soft body armor too – lead ball, soft point, all of it. So will lead ball 30-06. So will lead ball .308. So will lead ball 7 mm. Virtually all rifle rounds (except .22LR and .22 WMR) will penetrate soft body armor because kevlar is specified to 9 mm rounds (as regards mass and velocity).

Jones knows that. The ATF at large knows that. What Jones is telling the Congress is that he wants their help in banning rifle ammunition. Rifle ammunition. All of it.

Bingo. And your rifles too, and, eventually any and everything that can be remotely construed as a firearm and can possibly be used for Constitutional purposes…which purposes don’t have a thing to do with hunting anything other than tyrants. Relax our vigilance even a wee bit in the wake of a supposed “victory” like this one? Not on your life.




"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." – Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution

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