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Conservatives who defend the Second Amendment right to bear arms (among whom I count myself) are raising the alarm that the Obama Administration is trying to threaten the AR-15 by banning its ammunition. Apparently, the ATF has announced its intention to prohibit what a news article describes as “inexpensive 5.56 M855 ammo, commonly called lightgreen tips” because it can pierce the armor commonly worn by local police.
I ask the Ricochet community to explain what this ammunition is. It is only with that knowledge that can we judge whether this is a true threat to Second Amendment rights.
As I see things, the Constitution recognizes the pre-existing natural right of individuals to possess firearms. At the same time, like other individual rights, the right to bear arms is not absolute — it can be regulated reasonably. It seems to me that one reasonable regulation is to ban ammunition that poses a serious threat to the lives of law enforcement officers. On the other hand, I’ve seen reports that the ammunition is primarily used for target shooting, and that its ability to pierce armor is just a byproduct of that use.
It seems to me that protecting the lives of law enforcement is an important enough interest to limit certain kinds of ammunition — if there are no other means of regulation that would be more protective of the right to bear arms. In this context, if there are other forms of ammunition that are good substitutes for use in target practice, then banning this one type of AR-15 ammunition does not seem to me a serious intrusion on Second Amendment rights (in contrast, say, to an effort to ban the AR-15 itself, or all ammunition that would be used by AR-15s, which I think would be a violation).
What do you think?