Can My Choice of Ammo Land Me in a Virginia Jail Cell?

Under federal law, armor-piercing ammunition is illegal. Under Virginia law, restricted firearm ammunition is determined to be illegal. So, what is armor-piercing ammunition? The federal law defines it as a projectile or a projectile core, which may be used in a handgun, and which is constructed entirely from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium; or it is a full-jacketed projectile larger than a .22-caliber designed and intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25% of the total weight of the projectile.

Turning to Virginia law, Virginia Code Section 18.2-308.3 makes it a felony offense to possess restricted firearm ammunition. Restricted firearm ammunition includes bullets, projectiles, or other types of ammunition that are coated with or contain in whole or in part polytetrafluoroethylene or a similar product, commonly known as KTW bullets or French Arcanes. It also includes any cartridge containing bullets coated with a plastic substance other than lead or lead alloy cores, jacketed bullets with other than lead or lead alloy cores, or cartridges of which the bullet itself is wholly comprised of a metal or a metal alloy other than lead.

However, this definition does not include shotgun shells or solid plastic bullets.

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