MILLER: The cop-killer bullet myth

Politicians go after ammunition as a sneaky way to get your guns

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Give the administration credit for its creativity. The theatrical show President Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. are putting on in their effort to foist gun control on the public disguises a more subtle push to disarm America in the name of protecting cops. On Monday, Mr. Obama invited police chiefs from towns that have had mass shootings to the White House for a discussion on firearms and, more importantly, a photo opportunity.

(This is the third in a four-part series on dispelling gun myths. Click here to read part one The Assault Weapon Myth. Click here to read part two The High-Capacity Magazine Myth. Click here to read part four The Gun-Show Loophole Myth.)

The administration is harnessing the respect the public has for officers who keep them safe to undermine the Second Amendment. That’s why the White House’s “reduce gun violence” to-do list included a call for banning armor-piercing ammunition, or in the words Mr. Obama used in his Jan. 16 announcement, “bullets designed to inflict maximum damage.” After meeting with law enforcement last month, Mr. Biden called them “cop-killer bullets.”

Their concern is entirely imaginary, but effective in confusing Americans.  According to a Gallup poll last week, 67 percent of voters would support a new law banning possession of armor-piercing bullets by anyone other than the mlitary and law enforcement — even though ammunition of this sort has been banned under federal law for over 25 years. 

The military uses the term “armor piercing” to refer to rounds capable of penetrating armored vehicles. The gun grabbers picked up on this terminology to describe a bullet made of hardened metals that can penetrate a soft body armor vest made of kevlar. The manufacture, import and sale of handgun bullets made of hardened brass, steel or any other alloy has been prohibited since 1986.

This legislation was never intended to ban rifle ammunition, because stolen handguns are the weapon of choice for criminals. Rifles are used less often in crimes because they are bulky and hard to conceal. Cops simply aren’t being killed by crooks using exotic, hardened projectiles, but it sounds like a scary possibility.

What anti-gun politicians really have on their mind is replacing the existing statute with a performance test to determine whether a bullet can penetrate soft body armor. For example, the District considers a “restricted bullet” to be one that can penetrate 18 layers of Kevlar from a pistol (though in December, the D.C. Council reversed itself and adopted the federal definition of a prohibited bullet).

Such a test is a sneaky way to outlaw common rifles. Many ordinary rifle rounds can penetrate a soft armor vest because rifles are significantly more powerful than handguns. Law enforcement and the military use ceramic plates for vests meant to protect against such powerful rounds.

While the recent action items from the White House are likely to be stopped by the House, that has never been the real objective. Mr. Obama and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, are using their national platforms to sway public opinion and win at the state level. With a relentless push based on the use of myth and misleading terms, a recent Gallup Poll shows their effort may be having the intended effect.

Americans shouldn’t be fooled by gun control plans that address problems that exist only in the minds of politicians. The best safeguards against crime are capable law enforcement officers and an effective criminal justice system. When the cops can’t get there in time, the next best thing is having a gun for self-defense.

Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times. 


© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

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