The Obama Administration has take the incredibly brazen completely normal tact of blatantly lying to the White House Press Corps about the M855 cartridge, and the Administration’s goal in banning the most common bullet made for the most popular rifle sold in the United States:

The White House said Monday that President Obama believes a ban on bullets commonly used with the AR-15 rifle will save police officers’ lives.

“We are looking at additional ways to protect our brave men and women in law enforcement, and believe that this process is valuable for that reason alone,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is accepting public comment on an administration proposal to ban .223 M855 “green tip” ammunition most often used with AR-15 rifles. House lawmakers from both parties, as well as sportsmen and some law enforcement officials, are objecting the move.

Mr. Earnest called it a “common-sense step.”

“The president has long believed that there are some common-sense steps that we can take … to ensure that we’re protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans while also taking some common-sense steps to prevent people who shouldn’t have guns from getting them,” he said.

Mr. Earnest added, “This seems to be an area where everyone should agree that if there are armor-piercing bullets available that can fit into easily concealed weapons, that it puts our law enforcement at considerably more risk.”

Let us list the fabrications told by the White House Press Secretary about M855 ammunition and AR-15 pistols, and then explain the magnitude of these clear and intentional falsehoods.

  • M855 is not “armor-piercing bullet” by either military definition or by U.S. federal law definition in LEOPA (Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act of 1986).
  • M855 is actually common “ball” ammunition that does less damage than almost any other 5.56 NATO or .223 Remington cartridge made.
  • AR-15 pistols are anything but “easily concealed weapons.”

Background

Barack Obama’s goal of banning modern semi-automatic firearms and standard capacity magazines after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 failed in Congress, and so he has apparently tasked the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and firearms with the “the next best thing,” which is heavily restricting ammunition for those firearms.

The ATF’s first target was inexpensive and obsolete Russian 7N6 military ammunition common in 5.45×39 AKM-pattern rifles, which was banned from import in April of 2014. This was the single largest source of 7N6 ammunition, which is the most common and inexpensive load used by American shooters of the 5.45×39 cartridge.

The Obama Administration has now set its sights on a much larger target, the M855 ball ammunition that is among the most common ammunition made for the best-selling rifle year in and year out in the United States, the AR-15. The administration’s attack is on all AR-15 rifles, using the tiny number of AR-15 pistols and a perversion of law as an excuse.

A cutaway view of M855 ammunition. 80% of the weight of the bullet is the darker lead core of the projectile, and the thin jacket is nearly irrelevant. The mild steel insert keeps the bullet from deforming and causing serious injuries, unlike prior and more recent designs. It is not considered armor-piercing by either federal law nor by the military forces of the world.

 

Not Armor-Piercing By Any Definition

M855 is not considered armor-piercing by either federal law, nor by the military forces of the world.

The armor-piercing ammunition used by the U.S. military is M995, which uses a solid tungsten core to pierce the armor of enemy fighting vehicles and modern military body armor.

Unlike the standard ball M855 round, the M995 is actually armor-piercing in function and under federal law, with a solid tungsten penetrator for use against lightly-armored vehicles. It is not sold to civilians.

Under federal law, M855 ball ammunition doesn’t meet either part of the two-part definition of “armor piercing” in the Law Enforcement Officers Protection Action (LEOPA) of 1986 that the Obama Administration is attempting to pervert.

18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(B) provides:

(B) The term “armor piercing ammunition” means—

(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.

Far from being a “projectile or projectile core,” “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,” the core of the M855 is soft lead, like the vast majority of bullets. 80-percent of the M855’s  total weight is the bullet’s lead core.

The projectile is also neither “designed nor intended for use” in a handgun, but was designed in the 1970s for rifles with 20″ barrels, when AR-15 pistols didn’t even exist. Further, the jacket of the projectile is far less than, “25 percent of the total weight of the projectile.” Try about 5-percent.

The M855 isn’t “armor-piercing” by military definition, and isn’t close to meeting any part of the definition for being classified as “armor-piercing” under U.S. federal law.

The Obama Administration is blatantly lying, and the worst part of that lie is that they are actually increasing the risk to law enforcement officers, but essentially forcing everyone to acquire more deadly bullets.

M855 is LESS damaging than almost any other common 5.56 NATO bullet

The M855 is considered to be standard ball ammunition which causes less damage to human beings than virtually every other kind of 5.56 ammunition, including the all-lead 55-grain M193 round that it replaced.

NATO actually pushed the United States to adopt the Belgian-designed SS109 cartridge as the M855 because they felt that the American-made 55-grain M193’s tendency to yaw and then fragment was “inhumane” and possibly illegal under the Hague Convention of 1899, Declaration 4 against “bullets which expand or flatten easily in the human body.”

80% of the weight of the M855 bullet is the darker lead core of the projectile, and the thin jacket is nearly irrelevant. The mild steel insert keeps the bullet from deforming and causing serious injuries, unlike prior and more recent designs.

Yes, you read that correctly: the M855 was pushed on the U.S. military as a less deadly bullet.

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