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article imageOp-Ed: Why the ATF's proposed 5.56 ammunition ban is ridiculous

By Alex Allen     Mar 4, 2015 in Politics
The ATF and White House are proposing a new ban on certain types of armor piercing 5.56 caliber ammunition; but the logic they're using to support their proposal is severely flawed.
If you follow any sort of political news (specifically on the subject of gun control) you've probably heard about the ATF's new proposal. The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives has recently been urging the White House to take executive action in order to ban green tip 5.56 ammunition. The ammunition has armor piercing capabilities but, while the production of armor piercing ammunition was outlawed in the 1980s, this particular round was exempt from the ban because of its popularity among sport shooters and hunters.
The reasoning given by the White House and ATF in recent days as to why the exemption should now be lifted on green tip 5.56 ammo is the recent availability of AR-style 'pistols' which are able to fire the 5.56 round. In fact, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest recently told reporters that law enforcement are at a considerable risk with the availability of the round and the AR pistols. “We are looking at additional ways to protect our brave men and women in law enforcement, and believe that this process is valuable for that reason alone,” he said. "This seems to be an area where everyone should agree that if there are armor-piercing bullets available that can fit into easily concealed weapons, that it puts our law enforcement at considerably more risk." So, does this logic actually hold up? Well, let's take a look at the facts, shall we?
As for the green tip 5.56 round being armor piercing, that's completely true. The round was specifically designed to penetrate soft body armor. So, if that was the only reasoning the powers that be were giving for the proposed ban, their logic would hold up; but it isn't. The main reason the ATF and White House have given for this proposed ban, as stated previously, is the recent surge in availability of "easily concealable" AR-style pistols.
It is true that many so-called AR-style 'pistols' have been popping up on the civilian market recently. What's not true, however, is the notion that these firearms are "easily concealable." In fact, the only reason these firearms are considered pistols and not rifles is because of a slightly shorter barrel length and the lack of a shoulder stock. These AR-style 'pistols,' much like their AK-style counterparts, are simply sawed-off rifles with the butt-stock removed. So, generally speaking, these firearms are not very small.
Let's take, for example, one of the most common concealed carry handguns; the Glock 19. The Glock model 19 is a 9mm pistol that is designed to be easily carried for self-defense purposes; and even with a small overall length of just 7.36 inches and a height of just under 5 inches, many people still find it difficult to conceal, which has prompted firearms manufacturers to release handguns that are much smaller in size. So, if even the small Glock 19 is too big for some people to comfortably carry concealed, what about these AR-style pistols?
The dimensions of a Glock 19 9mm pistol  as shown on Glock s official website
The dimensions of a Glock 19 9mm pistol, as shown on Glock's official website
Glock website
One of the most popular AR manufacturers, Bushmaster, has a line of AR-style pistols known as the XM-15s. Even without the butt-stock which a typical AR-style rifle would have, these firearms have a whopping overall length of anywhere from 23 to 26.5 inches; that's over triple the length of the Glock 19. Not to mention, these so-called pistols weigh in at about five pounds on average, compared to the light 23 ounces the Glock 19 weighs.
Sure, a mad man could conceal one of these AR 'pistols' in a huge trench coat if he wanted to but theoretically, he could do the same with one of the many rifles on the market that have folding and retractable stocks. So, to suggest that these AR-style pistols somehow pose a larger threat to law enforcement when paired with these armor piercing rounds, is absolutely preposterous.
So, if the ATF and White House would like to have a deeper argument about gun control, I'm all for it. (especially considering the fact that their federal gun control has been an utter failure in the past several years, with the second amendment and gun rights always prevailing) But until then, the fear mongering about these supposedly "easily concealed" AR-style pistols has to stop because it's pretty ridiculous.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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