Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are BACK!
After topping U.S. box office charts with a stunning $73 Million opening weekend, it's no secret that the third installment of the Bad Boys franchise has another winner on it's hands. Although, the movie was filmed in beautiful Miami, Belgium directors Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi waste no time in serving audiences one very, very Belgium nod (and I don’t mean chocolate).
Will Smith begins his pursuit to track down the gun dealer who supplied the ammunition used in his attempted assassination. Specifically, a 5.7x28mm round used with the FN P90 Submachine Gun manufactured by Belgium company, FN Herstal. In the United States, the selective fire P90 Assault Rifle is, of course, restricted to military and law enforcement.
But what about its 5.7x28mm ammunition?
When Will Smith finally finds his suspect's, gun dealer, the scene includes a shot of the dealer holding up a 5.7x28mm cartridge, proclaiming that it will "shoot through ANYTHING", implying the efficiency of the ammunition's metal and armor piercing capabilities.
So, what is the law on armor piercing ammunition in the United States and Texas? Are those FN Herstal 5.7x28mm cartridges in your home legal? Federal law actually does not criminalize possession of AP ammo. It only places restrictions on selling and manufacturing. States, however, may criminalize the possession of AP ammo.
In Texas, the Penal Code states that it's a Third Degree Felony for a person to intentionally or knowingly possess "armor piercing ammunition". Armor piercing ammunition (AP ammo) is defined in the code as, "handgun ammunition that is designed primarily for the purpose of penetrating metal or body armor and to be used principally in pistols and revolvers". So what does this mean? The law's definition of AP ammo completely focuses on the ammunition's intended design and not the round's actual, factual capability. Many types of ammunition, if shot with a high enough velocity are capable of piercing certain body armor. The law, however, only bans ammunition that was designed to penetrate armor and designed to be used principally in pistols and revolvers.
The State, when prosecuting a person in possession, would essentially have to prove that 1) the ammo is designed to be armor piercing; 2) the ammo is designed to be used principally in pistols and revolvers; and 3) the person in possession knows it's "AP ammo". Not an easy task, especially considering that many rounds that were designed to be AP were also designed for use in rifles long before compatible pistols were created to hold the same ammunition.
So, what does all of this mean for FN Herstal's 5.7x28mm cartridge? Well, it depends on which variation you've bought. Bad News: this ammo was 100% designed to be used with FN Herstal's Five-Seven pistol and was also specifically designed to penetrate body armor. The Good News: FN Herstal went on to make several sporting variations of the 5.7x28mm which the ATF has subsequently tested and deemed to be not AP. Because some of these variations are in fact not armor piercing, they are widely available for retail purchase in gun stores and online.
Despite the fact that some variations of the 5.7x28mm were deemed "not AP" by the federal government, this has not stopped Texas law enforcement from making arrests based on possession of these popular (yet expensive) rounds. My advise? Keep your receipts and boxes. This could potentially help fight a possession of prohibited weapon charge.
If you've been charged with possession of a prohibited weapon in Texas, you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney. Attorney Jill Hawkins has the knowledge and experience to zealously advocate for you or your loved ones. Don't gamble with your liberty, or your record. Hire Hawkins.
Law Office of Jillian Hawkins, PLLC