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Armor piercing ammunition


Federal law defines armor-piercing (AP) ammunition as any handgun ammunition that is constructed of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium and is capable of penetrating soft body armor. It has been illegal to manufacture, import or sell AP ammunition to ordinary citizens for many years. This law has mostly been applied to small-caliber AP ammunition made specifically for handguns. However, nearly all rifle ammunition is also capable of penetrating soft body armor even if it is not technically classified as armor piercing. Weapons manufacturers are now making handguns that use rifle ammunition for “sporting purposes,” which are exempted from the federal armor-piercing ammunition law. The .223 caliber, used in many of our assault style weapons such as the M-16 is an example of this type of dual-use ammunition. Police departments are worried these handguns will endanger the lives of their officers. They claim the primary purpose of these weapons is to defeat body armor since handguns are incapable of accurately shooting the distance of a rifle. They point out that it has been over 30 years since Congress passed a bill to protect our men in blue from “cop-killer” ammunition. Some gun owners say that since body armor is readily available to all, civilians need AP ammo for self-defense.

Proposed Legislation: H.R.952 - Armor-Piercing Bullets Act of 2019
Prospective Sponsor: Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ)












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Poll Opening Date
July 19, 2021
Poll Closing Date
July 25, 2021


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