Tucson Gun Rights Examiner Chris Woodard alerted readers Friday to some of the most recently introduced federal gun bills (both anti-rights and pro-rights). In fact, his Constitution Watch blog is a great resource for keeping current on pending federal gun legislation. Today, we will focus on Representative Jackie Speier’s (D-CA) H.R. 2566, the “Modernized Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act of 2013.”
The text is not yet available, so the look will necessarily be somewhat cursory, but there are some assumptions that are probably safe to make.
For one thing, we can almost certainly assume that by “armor piercing,” Rep. Speier means that the ammunition is capable of defeating soft body armor, like that worn by cops on the beat, rather than the much heavier and bulkier rigid body armor worn by combat troops and S.W.A.T. team personnel. To be considered “armor piercing,” in other words, the ammunition would need only, at most, to defeat Level IIIa armor (if Speier lowers the standard below that, even more ammunition would be banned). In fact, Speier makes that pretty clear in her press release, which talks about “first responders,” rather than soldiers:
“It’s been 27 years since Congress acted to protect law enforcement personnel from so-called “cop-killer” bullets. Our first responders are at a greater disadvantage today than they were decades ago. If they are going to put themselves in the line of fire in our communities and neighborhoods, we owe it to them to update existing laws and get with the times.”
This is significant because soft body armor is not intended to be capable of stopping most centerfire rifle fire. In other words, if all ammunition with the ability to defeat typical police body armor is to be considered “armor piercing,” and thus illegal, nearly all centerfire rifle ammunition would be banned.