From the Heartland

This is my soap box, on these pages I publish my opinions on firearms and any other subject I feel like writing about.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

It is just not the FiveseveN they want to Ban

H.R. 1136 and its companion bill SB. 527 in the Senate does far more than just ban the much aligned FiveseveN Pistol along with the SS190 and SS192 ammunition that it uses.

The purpose for these bills is expressed in the preamble of each;

To protect the Nation's law enforcement officers by banning the Five-seveN Pistol and 5.7 x 28mm SS190 and SS192 cartridges, testing handguns and ammunition for capability to penetrate body armor, and prohibiting the manufacture, importation, sale, or purchase of such handguns or ammunition by civilians.

That seemingly inocuous statement gives the impression that the sole target of this legislation is one firearm and the two types of ammunition that is currently available for it (depending on what country your in).

Reading farther into the bill though one realizes that it is not just the FiveseveN that is the target.

In Section 2 Findings and Purpose paragraph (a) is FiveseveN specific, while paragraph (b) gets to the real and intended purpose of H.R. 1136 and SB. 527;

(b) Purpose- The purpose of this Act is to protect the Nation's law enforcement officers by--

(1) testing handguns and ammunition for capability to penetrate body armor; and

(2) prohibiting the manufacture, importation, sale, or purchase by civilians of the Five-seveN Pistol, ammunition for such pistol, or any other handgun that uses ammunition found to be capable of penetrating body armor.

Both SB 527 and H.R. 1136 seek to have all handguns tested and any that are found to use ammunition that is capable of penetrating body armor will be banned.

Without listing the entire liteny of handguns that use ammunition that is capable of penetrating body armor, just consider the few that are relatively benign for the purposes of personal protection and self defense.

The first that comes to mind is the single shot Thompson Center Contender and any of its clones. This particular handgun comes in a variety of rifle calibers including the .223, 243, 7mm-08, 30-30 and 45-70.

Because of their ballistics any or all of these cartridges will penetrate body armor worn by Police Officers and the Contender and its clones would be banned under this law.

There are also any number of single or multiple shot bolt action handguns used exclusively for hunting that would be banned by this law and we haven't even addressed the most common firearms that are used by millions of citizens everyday to protect themselves.

Section 3 Armor Piercing Ammunition, calls for an expansion of the definition of armor piercing ammunition to include;

(iii) a projectile that--

(I) may be used in a handgun; and

(II) the Attorney General determines, pursuant to section 926(d), to be capable of penetrating body armor.'.

(b) Determination of Capability of Projectiles to Penetrate Body Armor- Section 926 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

"May be used in a handgun". How is that for a catch phrase? It doesn't even have to have been chambered in a handgun at any time. Under this bill if the Attorney General "determines that a cartridge may be used in a handgun" and is capable of penetrating "body armor "exemplar" it will be rated as armor penetrating. Well there goes the 30-30, 30-06 308 and 270, not to mention the 300, 7mm or any of the other magnums. Further reading of this section gets to the very core of what is meant to be accomplished with this legislation;

(d)(1) Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this subsection, the Attorney General shall promulgate standards for the uniform testing of projectiles against Body Armor Exemplar.

(2) The standards promulgated pursuant to paragraph (1) shall take into account, among other factors, variations in performance that are related to the type of handgun used, the length of the barrel of the handgun, the amount and kind of powder used to propel the projectile, and the design of the projectile.

(3) As used in paragraph (1), the term `Body Armor Exemplar' means body armor that the Attorney General determines meets minimum standards for the protection of law enforcement officers.

Paragraph (3) is the crux of the bill, as it allows the Attorney General to determine what body armor will be used for the tests. It is commonly know that most Police Officers are equipped with Threat level IIIA or higher body armor. In his/her infinate wisdom an Attorney General could very well "determine" that Threat Level IA is the media to which all tests will conducted.

In fact Section 2 paragraph (3) specifically refers to Threat level IIA body armor;

(3) The Five-seveN Pistol and 5.7 x 28mm SS192 cartridges are capable of penetrating level IIA armor. The manufacturer advertises that ammunition fired from the Five-seveN will perforate 48 layers of Kevlar up to 200 meters and that the ammunition travels at 2100 feet per second.

Should that happen there is very few handgun calibers that will be available for the private citizen to have for personal protection or HUNTING for that matter.

Section 4 Armor Piercing Handguns and Amunition addresses certain word changes to the applicable section of USC Title 18, but the most glaring change found in that section is;

(1) IN GENERAL- It shall be unlawful for any person to manufacture, import, market, sell, ship, deliver, possess, transfer, or receive-- (C) any other handgun that uses armor piercing ammunition.

H.R. 1136 and SB. 527 go way beyond just banning the Fiveseven and its ammunition. This legislation is an outright assault on any and all of the calibers common or not so common to any and all of the shooting sports and self defense.

The bottom line is that even if you don't own a handgun or have never even contemplated owning one and you are content with your deer rifle and shotgun, these bills may very well ban the ammunition for that rifle because it was at one time, currently is, or "may be determined" by the Attorney General as "capable of being" chambered in a Handgun.

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