UPDATE: ATF Moves to Ban M855 ball (a .223 or 5.56mm caliber) Ammo

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EVENING UPDATE:

The claims are its armor piercing and a greater threat to police. That’s the reason the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) wants to ban the M855 ball ammunition, a rifle bullet.

The ATF released a 17-page proposal last month spelling out the reasoning behind this decision and now many sportsmen are making their voices heard on the controversial move. The M855 ball ammunition is a version of the .223 caliber or 5.56 mm rifle bullet and it’s popular for AR-type guns.

The M855 has a green tip to the bullet and stands a little over two inches when fully assembled.

A large portion of this debate is the Gun Control Act of 1968 which spells out what an “armor piercing” bullet is and is not based on what it’s made from, among them steel, iron, brass, bronze or uranium. The M855 ball has a lead core with a steel tip and therefore does not fit the definition under the law. Secondly, the Act states ammo made for “sporting purposes” is exempt from the ban. After talking with several gun experts around the area, most ammunition used for deer and other big-game hunting, regardless of it being fired from a rifle or a handgun, will pierce the ceramic plate style body armor used by police.

We posed this question on our Facebook page Monday morning: do you think the ATF should ban this caliber bullet? As of 5:00 pm Monday, there were over 150 comments. Steve typed “just a way for them to ban whatever they can…” Jamie posted “No…it’s just a back door to gun control.” Kary simply typed “No.”

Valley News Live headed to the Red River Regional Marksmanship Center Monday afternoon to ask them about this caliber of bullet. While no one wanted to talk on camera, people at the gun range said most who came through the doors were not so much worried about the M855 ball being banned, they were more concerned about it setting a precedent and being a gateway for other guns and ammunition to be outlawed.

Gun rights groups urge you to contact the ATF and your local representatives to make sure the M855 is not outlawed. The ATF will be taking public comments on this proposal for another two weeks.
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ORIGINAL STORY MONDAY MORNING:

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is seeking public comment on a potential ban on the sale and manufacture of the M855 ball ammunition, a .223 (5.56mm) caliber bullet. It’s a popular bullet for AR style semiautomatic rifles, the .223 caliber is popular among hunters and the M855 ball is commonly used for target shooting.

The ATF says this now poses a greater threat to law enforcement as new handguns are being produced that can chamber this ammunition. Gun experts around the area tell Valley News Live that most rifle calibers will penetrate the common ceramic style body armor law enforcement uses.

What do you think? Should this bullet be banned? Is this a threat to police? Should the ATF have the authority to do this? Sound off on our Facebook page and tell us your opinion.