Some of the153 guns seized in Brooklyn between May and...

Some of the153 guns seized in Brooklyn between May and December 2014 are put on display as the NYPD announce results of a firearms trafficking investigation on Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014 Credit: Uli Seit

Banning armor-piercing "cop-killer" bullets shouldn't be so controversial. Police shouldn't have to face that sort of firepower. But opponents of gun regulation bludgeoned the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives into submission last month on its proposal to ban 5.56 mm M855 "green tip" ammunition. Those are rifle rounds that can pierce bulletproof vests when fired from handguns previously not commercially available.

Rep. Steve Israel is mounting a rearguard action to prod the agency into reconsidering a ban. He's introduced a bill to update the law by defining cop-killer bullets based on their ability to pierce body armor rather than the metals used to make them. The bill won't pass, but he's using it to rally supporters so the ATFE will know it's not alone in its worry about the bullets. That's the dismal state of the struggle for commonsense gun laws.