Gun Rights Advocates Bristle At Proposed Ban On Type Of Armor-Piercing Bullet

Federal Agency Wants To Prohibit Steel-Core Ammunition For The Popular AR-15 Rifle

Nathan Rupert (CC-BY-NC-ND)

A federal proposal to ban civilian production of a type of armor-piercing bullet has upset gun rights advocates.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is considering banning production and importation of steel-core bullets that can be fired from the AR-15 rifle — a semi-automatic version of the M16 rifle that debuted during the Vietnam War.

The armor-piercing rounds became popular among target-shooting enthusiasts after the U.S. military began selling cheap, surplus ammunition. Millions of rounds of steel-core bullets are still in circulation, and the ATF said it will not make possessing them a crime.

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Gun rights advocates say the ATF’s proposal is a backdoor way to ban bullets for one of the most popular rifles in America.

However, Dave Madis, owner of Greater Midwest Mercantile in Eau Claire, said there are still dozens of brands and styles of non-armor piercing bullets available for the AR-15 platform.

“There’s a lot of confusion,” he said. “People need to stop and think about what ammo they’re looking at. You can’t use it hunting, it’s only for target shooting and military purposes … not good for home defense, illegal to hunting.”

Madis said the panic is overblown because the ban on armor-piercing rounds is still just a suggestion. Even if it is enacted, he said, it won’t have much of an impact.