Rep. Engel Speaks on the House Floor in Support of Regulation of Cop-Killer Handguns

Rep. Engel Speaks on the House Floor in Support of Regulation of Cop-Killer Handguns

Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday, Congressman Eliot Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, took to the House floor to fight back against Republican efforts to strip away authority from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Engel spoke out against a GOP proposal to roll back common-sense gun regulations and argued that our responsibility to protect public safety should take precedence over the desires of pro-gun radicals.

An amendment to the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Act offered by Congressman Thomas Massie of Kentucky would bar ATF from outlawing armor-piercing rounds that fit into handguns. Although armor-piercing rounds are already illegal under federal law, ATF determined in the 1980s that the 5.56 “green tip” round was exempt from the ban because of the so-called “sporting use” rule. But since then, new technology has led to small, easily concealed pistols that can fire these dangerous rounds. Hidden pistols that can pierce through police body armor pose a particular threat to law enforcement and are of no use to hunters, so ATF earlier this year moved to revoke the green tip’s exemption and restrict sale of the round.

ATF has the authority to revoke that exemption, but it backed off from the proposal in March after pressure from gun industry groups. In response, Congressman Engel introduced the Armor-Piercing Bullets (APB) Act to write the ATF’s proposed language into the law. Engel’s APB Act would ensure that only military and law enforcement are permitted to use the green tip and other armor-piercing handgun rounds.

“I supported the ATF’s proposal then, and I still believe that this and other common sense regulations on armor-piercing handguns are sorely needed,” Mr. Engel said on the floor in opposition to the amendment. “I introduced the APB Act to enact ATF’s proposed change into law, because we have a responsibility to protect our police and our communities from these unreasonably dangerous weapons.”

“These concealed weapons serve only one purpose: to kill human beings wearing body armor,” Engel continued. “ATF needs the authority to monitor and regulate firearms and ammunition. When technology advances, like it did with the green tip, ATF needs to act to protect our neighborhoods and our law enforcement officers.”

In addition to the APB Act, Congressman Engel also plans on reintroducing the Protect Law Enforcement Armor (PLEA) Act, which would ban the FN Herstal Five-seveN handgun and other handgun-sized weapons designed to pierce bulletproof vests while still being small enough to conceal. Reintroduction of the bill is expected in the coming weeks.