Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

History Of Federal Ammunition Law . . .

Thursday, July 29, 1999

In 1966, Lorain County, Ohio, coroner Dr. Paul Kopsch, Lorain Police Sgt. Daniel Turcus, Jr., and Dr. Kopsch`s special investigator, Donald Ward, began designing special-purpose handgun ammunition for law enforcement agencies` use. The objective was to provide police with handgun ammunition capable of penetrating hard materials, such as automobile doors, cinder blocks and walls. Previous efforts by major manufacturers at producing ammunition of this general type had been only marginally successful.

Most projectiles, constructed primarily of lead, a comparatively soft metal, cannot consistently penetrate hard materials when fired at handgun ammunition velocities. In the 1970s, Kopsch, Turcus and Ward began producing their "KTW" line of handgun ammunition, featuring projectiles manufactured with case-hardened steel cores capable of significant penetration, even when fired at handgun ammunition velocities. In 1981, after experimenting with various metals and alloys, they began manufacturing their projectiles using brass as the primary element.

To prevent damage to firearm barrels caused by firing hard metal projectiles through them, KTW projectiles were coated with Teflon. Many in the media, however, incorrectly claimed that Teflon also lubricated the point of impact and significantly increased the ability of the projectiles to defeat soft body armor (often called "bullet proof vests") worn by many police officers and other individuals.

Government tests proved otherwise. The Justice Department determined that Teflon had "little or no effect on the penetrating qualities of the projectile" when fired at soft body armor, while the U.S. Treasury Department concluded that Teflon was "little more than a cosmetic additive" to the ammunition.

In January 1982, NBC TV transformed KTW ammunition into a political issue, by running a sensational, nationwide, prime-time television spectacle titled "Cop Killer Bullets." The title of the piece was as preposterous its message. KTW ammunition had never been offered for sale to the general public; it was originally intended for, and was marketed to, law enforcement and the armed forces. Additionally, no police officer had been killed with KTW or similar projectiles, a record intact to the present.

Law enforcement officials pled with NBC to discontinue its sensational reports on KTW, lest criminals learn of the virtually unknown ammunition. Placing its ratings and profits ahead of the lives of law enforcement officers, NBC not only refused to drop its coverage, but rebroadcast "Cop Killer Bullets" six months later. Not to be undone, the print media soon joined in the hype.

Publicity-hungry anti-gun members of Congress soon recognized that NBC`s "Cop Killer Bullet" term was the most exciting buzzword since "Saturday Night Special." Rep. Mario Biaggi (D-N.Y.) introduced "a bill to stop the proliferation of `cop-killer` bullets." Biaggi`s bill proposed a performance based prohibition, which would have outlawed any bullet that, when fired from a 5" barrelled handgun, would be capable of penetrating the equivalent of 18 layers of Kevlar, the tradename of a fiber used in the construction of soft body armor.

Technical experts of the FBI, BATF, Secret Service and police forensic labs throughout the country warned that a performance based ban would be impractical and unenforceable. The National Rifle associaition (NRA) warned additionally that it would have affected more than 85% of commonplace, conventional hunting and target shooting rifle ammunition, in addition to the specialty handgun rounds that were the intended targets of the bill. NRA joined many in law enforcement in opposition to the bill.

Federal and local law enforcement experts could not think of an acceptable approach to restricting the ammunition, but with input from the NRA, the original performance-based concept was discarded for one based upon the design and construction of the projectiles themselves. In 1986, after a four-year battle, Congress approved H.R. 3121, which prohibited the sale, other than to law enforcement and the armed forces, of ammunition manufactured with "a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium," other than shotgun shot required by federal regulations for hunting and other specifically-described projectiles. Upon that bill`s passage, the original sponsor, Rep. Mario Biaggi (D-N.Y.), said "Our final legislative product was not some watered-down version of what we set out to do. In the end, there was no compromise on the part of police safety." Despite NRA`s help in writing the law, the anti-gun lobby continues to claim that NRA opposed it.

In 1994, after the development in Sweden of another special-purpose handgun round, one never introduced in the United States, Congress again used a construction-based approach to restrict its sale, by prohibiting sales of ammunition manufactured with a "full jacketed projectile larger than .22 caliber designed and intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile."

Modern, lightweight Level A/IIA body armor vests typically worn by police officers are capable of defeating conventional handgun projectiles, which comprise the vast majority of rounds encountered by officers in hostile encounters. According to Second Chance Body Armor, Inc., the industry leader in the manufacture of police protective vests, police officers` "chances of encountering (threats) beyond Level A/IIA are REMOTE." (Emphasis in the original)

Heavier, higher-performance vests capable of defeating more powerful rifle rounds are also readily available to police officers. However, higher-powered rifle ammunition accounts for a small percentage of the ammunition officers face in dealing with criminals.

IN THIS ARTICLE
Ammunition
TRENDING NOW
Florida Alert! Gun Bills Filed in Florida - SO FAR

Friday, January 15, 2021

Florida Alert! Gun Bills Filed in Florida - SO FAR

As Legislators begin to file bills for the 2021 Florida Legislative Session, we are getting questions about various bills due to media reports on gun bills.  Below is a partial list of bills we will ...

“Unity” President Vows to “Defeat” America’s Oldest and Largest Civil Rights Group

News  

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

“Unity” President Vows to “Defeat” America’s Oldest and Largest Civil Rights Group

Biden issued this “pledge” in a January 8 tweet that falsely tried to suggest the men and women of the NRA were somehow implicated in an infamous crime that was committed a decade ago by ...

NRA Dumps New York to Reincorporate in Texas, Announces New Strategic Plan

News  

Friday, January 15, 2021

NRA Dumps New York to Reincorporate in Texas, Announces New Strategic Plan

Today, the NRA announced a restructuring plan that positions us for the long-term and ensures our continued success as the nation’s leading advocate for constitutional freedom – free from the toxic political environment of New ...

ATF Withdraws Pistol Brace “Guidance”

News  

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

ATF Withdraws Pistol Brace “Guidance”

On December 23rd, ATF posted a document to its website indicating that its recently published Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with “Stabilizing Braces” is withdrawn.

Biden to Nominate Anti-Second Amendment Judge Merrick Garland for Attorney General

News  

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Biden to Nominate Anti-Second Amendment Judge Merrick Garland for Attorney General

President-elect Joe Biden announced he will nominate U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Judge Merrick Garland for Attorney General. Biden’s choice of a noted Second Amendment opponent to lead the Department ...

Record Amount of Gun Control Legislation Introduced on First Day of Bill Pre-Filing for 2021 Texas Legislative Session

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Record Amount of Gun Control Legislation Introduced on First Day of Bill Pre-Filing for 2021 Texas Legislative Session

Although the 2021 session of the Texas Legislature convenes on January 12, gun control advocates financed by New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg and Beto "Hell Yeah, I'll Take Your Guns" O'Rourke wasted no time in announcing their ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Double-Standard: Virginia Eliminates Online Carry Courses While Promoting Distancing for Everything Else

News  

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Double-Standard: Virginia Eliminates Online Carry Courses While Promoting Distancing for Everything Else

As part of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and the General Assembly’s sweeping attack on gun rights in 2020, anti-gun lawmakers enacted legislation that made it more difficult for gun owners to obtain the required training ...

Montana: House Passes Permitless Carry Legislation

Friday, January 15, 2021

Montana: House Passes Permitless Carry Legislation

Yesterday, the Montana House passed self-defense legislation, House Bill 102, by a 66 to 31 vote. 

OCC Finalizes Non-Discrimination Rule

News  

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

OCC Finalizes Non-Discrimination Rule

On January 14, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) finalized an NRA-supported rule to end politically-motivated discrimination in the provision of financial services. The new regulation is now set to take effect on April ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.