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Spencer, Coutinho, Diegnan & Quijano Bill to Prohibit Possession of Body-Armor Piercing Bullets Released by Assembly Panel

Bill is Part of Assembly Dem Gun Violence Prevention Package

(TRENTON) — Legislation Assembly Democrats L. Grace Spencer, Albert Coutinho, Patrick J. Diegnan and Annette Quijano sponsored to make it a fourth degree crime to possess ammunition capable of penetrating body armor was released Wednesday by an Assembly panel as part of the Assembly Democratic gun violence prevention package.

The bill (A-588) would make the possession of SS190AP ammunition — a new generation of handgun ammunition which poses a special threat to the law enforcement community because it has a capacity to breach or penetrate body armor — a crime of the fourth degree. A fourth degree crime is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000, imprisonment of up to 18 months or both.

“Police officers today are dealing with criminals who, disturbingly, are just as equipped with advanced weapons that make police work that much more dangerous,” said Spencer (D-Essex). “The risk for our officers is already great. Let’s help minimize the danger by criminalizing this type of ammunition.”

“In some circumstance this bullet can penetrate 48 layers of Kevlar, the protective material used to make many types of body armor,” said Coutinho (D-Essex). “In the wrong hands, this is a great danger to our law enforcement officers and law abiding citizens.”

“As technology advances, so does the threat to our police officers who must brave criminals armed with powerful weapons,” said Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “Criminalizing the use of this type of ammunition will hopefully make the job a bit less dangerous for our courageous law enforcement.”

“These bullets are capable of breaking through body armor, which makes them a danger to our police officers as well as our residents who may get caught in the crossfire without the benefit of protective gear,” said Quijano (D-Union). “Our officers risk their lives daily. Outlawing this type of ammunition will help lessen the threat.”

Under current federal and state law, hollow nose or dum-dum bullets are prohibited, as are bullets which are Teflon-coated or which have specially hardened metal jackets or cores.

The SS190AP ammunition for the Five-seveN Tactical handgun is uniquely designed. It is a full metal jacketed bullet, but utilizes two metal inserts. The tip of the bullet has a steel penetrator which is followed by an aluminum core. The weight relationship between the two metals causes the bullet to tumble in soft body tissue, resulting in massive and, in many instances, deadly wounds.

The bill would prohibit individuals, other than law enforcement officers and other statutorily exempted parties — such as members of the Armed Forces of the United States and licensed dealers who sell these type of ammunition to the military or law enforcement agencies — from legally possessing ammunition designed and constructed like the SS190AP bullet that can penetrate body armor.

The bill was released by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.