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Not a Single Police Officer Has Ever Been Killed by So-Called ‘Cop Killer’ AR-15 Bullets

Published: March 6, 2015
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The White House is trying to get 5.56 “armor piercing” rounds classified as “cop killer” bullets. But there’s only one problem: no cop has ever been killed by the “green-tipped” AR-15 ammunition.

Still, the President claims that banning the ammunition is just a “common sense” way to protect police officers. Speaking on his behalf, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that the 5.56/.223-caliber M855 ball ammunition must be banned because it can shoot through bullet proof vests. While that is true, so can just about any rifle hunting round. Are they next?

The core of the White House’s argument is that there are some AR-15 style pistols which they claim are “easily concealable weapons.”

They are not.

All types of AR-15 style pistols are too big for any commercially available holster, or anything that could be worn on one’s belt or even in a should holster. The weapons are essentially “novelty guns” that are not typically considered for their practical value since they cannot be legally manufactured with a rifle stock. That caveat makes them incredibly difficult to aim or hit things from far away. Add a stock and that changes dramatically… but then they are NFA-restricted items which require extensive background checks with the ATF, a $200 tax stamp and a waiting period that commonly takes more than half a year.

No crime has ever been committed on record with legally registered weapons such as this, and no ban on assault weapons would effect NFA items. So the White House’s claim rests ultimate on the fantasy that police officers are being shot and killed with stockless AR-15 style pistols. The only problem is, this has never happened: not even once.

“We have not been able to find a single instance where a police officer has been shot from this type of handgun using a bullet that pierces his soft-body armor, and if the administration had any examples you know they would be pushing it in everybody’s face to further their executive action,” said Alan Gottlieb, the executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation.

“We’ve scoured everywhere, gone into every source possible to try to find an instance of this and have not been able to find one,” he added.

Dave Workman, senior editor at and a blogger for the Seattle Gun Rights Examiner, explained that he has scored a variety of sources to try to document a single instance of a police officer being shot with one of these expensive “novelty guns” let alone with green-tipped ammo being used in them. In every search, he has come back with no results.

“I cover this every day and I’ve never heard of a police officer being shot with one of these (AR-15) handguns, which by the way is not easily concealable using any of this ammo,” Workman said. “That’s a crock. No. I know of absolutely zero incidents of the shooting, wounding, or fatally wounding of a cop with one of these handguns that is chambered for the .223-caliber round, or even someone using the AR-15 rifle for that matter. You might presume it’s happened (with a rifle), I don’t know, but it would be very rare.”

So why do people care? Why not just use any other type of AR ammo, since the type in question is not really very good any way?

“It’s a cheap competition ammo, and a lot of guys use it for that, because they’re not into hand loading and they like to buy ammo on the cheap and this is fairly inexpensive.”

But isn’t this the only type of .223/5.56 ammunition that can cut through body armor?

“Soft-body armor was invented to stop handgun bullets, period. That’s because most of the bad guys out there are packing handguns whether stolen or cheaply purchased and Kevlar vests are designed to stop those handgun bullets. I don’t know of a single vest out there that will stop a center-fired rifle bullet from .223-caliber up.”

That means if this ban goes through then the entire caliber and all rifle calibers – whether for hunting or anything else – could and would be banned, under the same premise.

According to the FBI’s uniform crime statistics for 2013, rifles were used in only 285 homicides. Of those, AR-15s were almost always used by police officers in shooting suspects like John Crawford. In almost no cases where AR-15s used in murders or homicides not ruled justified. The fact of the matter is most criminals simply don’t have the money for AR-15s and similar variants. But the nation has already had the debate on an assault weapons ban, and those proposing that only police should be armed with these weapons have lost the argument. Since they couldn’t get their way, now they are trying to go through the back door with an ammunition ban, even if their argument for why a subset of one caliber’s rounds should be banned makes absolutely no sense.

(Article by M. David)

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