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ATF push to ban certain bullets worries gun owners

Posted at 12:15 AM, Mar 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-03 10:26:08-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Gun enthusiasts Marty and Chris Timmons said they were not thrilled about a proposed federal ban on the armor-piercing 5.56 mm bullet. Last week, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives announced that would seek to ban the bullet commonly used in AR-15 semiautomatic rifles. The agency said the ban would to "protect the lives and safety of law enforcement officers from the threat posed by ammunition capable of penetrating a protective vest."

While the Timmons said they understood the concern, they feared the proposal was a slippery slope that could eventually lead to tighter gun control and outright bans on certain assault rifles.

"In our opinion, and I think I speak for my son… guns don’t kill people, people kill people," Marty Timmons said.

Since the ATF announced the proposal, some people have rushed to gun shops to purchase the ammunition. The proposed ban has also been a hot topic at shooting ranges.

"The AR 15 is the most popular rifle in America," Tim Orrock, with Colonial Shooting Academy, said. "It’s used by sportsmen, by target shooters in competitions and by law enforcement agencies."

While Orrock said the 5.56 NATO-style bullet can penetrate a protective vest, he added so could other forms of ammunition used in high-powered rifles. On Monday, the White House defended the ‘Common Sense’ AR 15 ammunition ban. Gun-control advocates also spoke in favor of the ban.

"Without education, without proper equipment and without proper knowledge on how to use it, and the rules and regulations behind it, it just serves no positive purpose at all on the streets,” argued Richmond resident Michelle Haywood.

The ATF is seeking public comment at this time.