M855 Plot Thickens: Congressman Israel (NY-D) Proposes Center-Fire Ammo Ban

Gun Banner Steve Israel D NY
Gun Banner Steve Israel D NY
National Rifle Association Institute For Legislative Action (NRA-ILA)
National Rifle Association Institute For Legislative Action (NRA-ILA)

Fairfax, VA –-(Ammoland.com)- You didn’t need a crystal ball to see this one coming.

Last Monday, a week after the BATFE withdrew its plan to ban M855 as “armor-piercing ammunition,” U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) announced that he intends to introduce legislation to “extend the definition of armor-piercing ammunition to include all bullets that can pierce body armor and be used in handguns.”

The reason you didn’t need a crystal ball is that gun control supporters have been pushing this idea for years. In the 1980s, after NBC-TV did an attack piece on bullets invented for law enforcement officers to shoot through walls and doors, disingenuously calling them “Cop Killer Bullets,” gun control supporters seized upon the term and proposed legislation to ban any bullet that could penetrate a soft protective vest.

Fortunately, the Departments of Justice and Treasury, along with the NRA, opposed the “performance-based” approach to defining “armor-piercing ammunition,” because it would have banned virtually all center-fire rifle ammunition and some center-fire handgun ammunition. Therefore, in 1986, Congress instead adopted a “construction-based” approach, defining bullets as “armor-piercing ammunition” based upon the metals from which they are made.

In the 1990s, President Bill Clinton and then-Rep. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) pushed for a performance-based bullet ban within terrorism legislation. A study released by the BATFE in April 1997, however, concluded “existing laws are working, no additional legislation regarding such laws is necessary.”

Now, the BATFE’s recent attempt to ban M855 has inspired gun control supporters to take another shot at a near-total center-fire bullet ban, and in the case of Rep. Israel, to do so without knowing the first thing about the subject. Israel says his bill is necessary “[b]ecause of significant developments in bullet propellants, coatings and materials, such as Teflon.”

To which we have to ask: Seriously, Teflon? The substance used to coat skillets and 1970s-era all-steel handgun bullets invented for law enforcement officers, so the bullets wouldn’t scratch the rifling of the officers’ handgun barrels? Teflon, which has nothing to do with whether a bullet can penetrate a protective vest? Teflon (speaking of Clinton), the substance said to cover dishonest, misbehaving public officials who nevertheless skirt scrutiny and accountability again and again?

As we have previously noted, in the 38 years that the FBI has reported the caliber of handguns used to kill law enforcement officers, no such crime has been committed with a handgun capable of firing M855 or any other .223 or 5.56mm cartridge.

Rep. Israel is right about one thing, however. He says that the 1986 law that the BATFE tried to twist in order to ban M855 “is outdated.” Indeed, it is, but not in the way that Israel imagines. The law should be amended to narrow BATFE’s discretion to ban ammunition. It should be understood to cover only such bullets as are designed for the express purpose of penetrating protective vests when loaded into pistol-caliber cartridges and fired from handguns. It should further exempt all bullets that are primarily intended for any legitimate purpose, including self-defense.

Rest assured we’ll keep readers apprised of any new developments.  (Please see related story on federal legislation introduced to prevent the Obama Administration from banning ammunition.)

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Visit: www.nra.org

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Jake King

Funny, I used to work with Congressman Israel’s father in a volunteer program before he passed away. I was at an event that the congressman, his father and his mother attended. I was talking with his mother at one point and casually asked her what she thought about her son being in Congress. I was somewhat shocked by her answer. She said: “I love my son but he is a lair and an ass, like most politicians.”
Yes it’s just hearsay. No I have no proof. But it happened.


Are you seeing a pattern here? It seems that Conservative Jewish politicians inhabit Israel and Liberal Jewish politicians inhabit New York.


Why can’t we find a few patriots in Congress to introduce a bill that repeals the 1986 ban, the GCA and the NFA…? And then PUSH!!. IT!! HARD!!… I’ll tell you why: Because there aren’t any true patriots in Congress, just a buinch of politi-sluts. Dem or GOP, doesn’t matter. From your most favorite libertarian, to the presumed strongest conservative tea-partier to the centrists and on to the Sheila Jackson-Lee psychopaths. There’s not a nickel’s worth of difference when it comes to expanding the govt. It is only a matter of which political direction govt expands.This is why moonbat crazy… Read more »


All the 1986 firearm laws are outdated, since they violate shall not be infringed.


A clear violation of this turds oath of office. Can he be censured and then removed, before his next election?