Are bullets like these considered "hollow points" under law?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by JellyJar, Dec 7, 2017.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2013
    Messages:
    7,462
    Back to the original question, I looked for a few minutes on Google to see if someone might have gotten in trouble using Lehigh bullets specifically in NJ and if they fall under NJ statute of hollow points. Didn't find much useful information outside of similar questions being asked on other gun boards.

    Personal recommendation is pick a different round that is more mainstream and avoid a legal grey area altogether. Just because internet speculation and discussion would not consider a Lehigh round to be a HP, does not mean a NJ prosecutor would agree.
     
  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    32,287
    Location:
    Florence, Alabama
    The actual phrase in New Jersey law is "hollow nose or dum-dum bullet" and that phrase is thoughtfully not defined.

    No, it just kicks the can down the road. Consider the last clause of his post "that phrase is thoughtfully not defined."
    Do you know what a dum-dum bullet is? Is there legislation or case law that spells it out?
    I consider it to be the design of Captain Bertie Clay at Dum Dum Arsenal in India, 1895.
    In the Roaring Twenties and the Depression, the term was applied to a bullet with the nose deeply grooved in a cross. Often rubbed with garlic which was thought to be toxic in a wound.
    In the Modern Progressive Media, it is used for any expanding bullet and I suspect that is the thinking of NJ government employees. "The bullet shaped like the engine nacelle of a B47. The bullet doesn't explode, you do."
    But as said, best to play it safe and avoid anything that even looks more dangerous than a plain vanilla roundnose.
     
  3. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2006
    Messages:
    12,668
    Location:
    California - San Francisco Bay Area
    Yes, it just kicks the can down the road, but it's still the proper starting place. Until one starts there he isn't going to get anywhere, and he still might not. But at least he's starting in the right place.

    And yes, the reference in the statute begs the question of what a "dum-dum" is for the purposes of the law. We know something of the history of the term and what it originally meant. But that doesn't guarantee it will be understood and applied by a court in that way.

    So unless we can find a controlling definition in statute or a controlling court decision, we're left with something we see a lot of in law -- uncertainty. In other words, there's no way we can opine with real confidence that a court being asked will not find the Lehigh Defense bullets to be prohibited under New Jersey law.
     
  4. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    32,287
    Location:
    Florence, Alabama
    I shoot with the OP. He is a nice guy and I would not want to see him become the test case.
    Jelly Jar, don't take your Lehighs to New Jersey. To the tune:
     
  5. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Messages:
    8,161
    Location:
    SouthEastern FL
    Or... we could simply tell him to look at the law (and form his own guesses, speculations, and musings.)
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017
    DoubleMag likes this.
  6. gc70

    gc70 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Messages:
    3,407
    Location:
    North Carolina
    It is not apparent that there is a perfect answer to the OP's question.

    There is uncertainty surrounding the meaning of the phrase "hollow nose or dum-dum bullet" used in New Jersey law. However, there is no language in the New Jersey law that would obviously limit a bullet to having only one "hollow" centered at the very tip of its nose.
     
  7. DT Guy

    DT Guy Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2003
    Messages:
    1,766
    The sad fact is that, given a jurisdiction that's openly hostile to the rights of its citizens to own firearms, you don't want to leave them any wiggle room to 'interpret' a law as vaguely written as that one-'Dum Dum' isn't a well-defined technical term, and the folks reading meaning into the law will almost certainly be hostile to your being armed with anything except the FMJ's they have decreed are acceptable for a commoner.


    dumdumsgroupwrapped-cropped.jpg
    Larry
     
    Berger.Fan222 and Danoobie like this.
  8. Tom488

    Tom488 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    Messages:
    534
    Location:
    New Jersey
    What everyone seems to be missing here is that the text of HR38, as passed by the House, would invalidate NJ's state laws on both magazine capacity, and possession of hollow-point ammunition. In part, HR38 states:
    Further down, HR38 defines "handgun" as:
     
  9. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2006
    Messages:
    12,668
    Location:
    California - San Francisco Bay Area
    Irrelevant to the OP's question. HR38 hasn't passed the Senate, and it can still be amended in the Senate. And if a version passes in the Senate the two versions will need to be reconciled in conference committee.

    So first, this might not become law. Second, even if it does become law we don't know now what all the provision of that law will be. So for now the OP must deal with the law as it exists. If this federal law is enacted we'll have to look at the final version to see if it changes anything.

    There's an old saying -- something about "Don't count your chickens....."
     
    Spats McGee likes this.
  10. Girodin

    Girodin Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Messages:
    5,601
    When it comes to statutory interpretation we start with the text. We then look to see if a term is defined in the code. Here the terms "hollow nose or dum-dum bullet" are not. We then would use the plain language and if that is vague start to use our other statutory interpretation tools to determine legislative intent.

    "I consider it to be the design of Captain Bertie Clay at Dum Dum Arsenal in India, 1895."

    That is the orgin of the term but I don't think one could reasonably argue the term is referring to one particular 303 British bullet. The Dum Dum arsenal produced multiple designs. Moreover the term has broader use than that. I think it is fair to say that a dum dum is a bullet designed to expand. Not only is that the generally accepted use of the word in places it is used (my experience has in hearing/seeing the word in use among Europeans more than Americans), but the Hague Convention of 1899 has a proscription on the use of ammunition that has bullets that expand or flatten easily. This was drafted to proscribe the use of "dum dum" bullets. I have written about the Hague convention article III and other law of war issues related to expanding ammunition.

    Until it is litigated, how that term would be defined or applied is anyone's educated guess. I think the true fair reading is that a dum dum is bullet that expands or flattens easily (or by design). One could point to opinions on OTM bullets etc in support of arguing certain designs are not designed to flatten or expand. That said I would imagine NJ is not a jurisdiction full of Judges I'd want to be in front of arguing for a limited definition.

    An example of the use of the term dum dum in Europe from a Daily Mail article

    "It was already known that Breivik used ‘dum-dum’ bullets during his killing spree – the expanding round has a hollow point which leaves a large exit wound after causing horrific wounds."

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2018748/Norway-massacre-Anders-Behring-Breivik-Dum-dum-bullets-injected-poision.html

    and from the telegraph

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1503087/Police-used-dum-dum-bullets-to-kill-de-Menezes.html
     
  11. Tom488

    Tom488 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    Messages:
    534
    Location:
    New Jersey
    How is it irrelevant to the OP's question, when he specifically asked:
     
    DoubleMag and DT Guy like this.
  12. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2006
    Messages:
    12,668
    Location:
    California - San Francisco Bay Area
    Because it's impossible to answer until the bill actually does pass and get signed, if it ever does. Until then we don't know what the law will finally say. So what you wrote in post 33 is meaningless. The bill could still be amended a bunch of times, changing all sorts of things, before it finally passes, if it ever does.
     
  13. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2006
    Messages:
    12,668
    Location:
    California - San Francisco Bay Area
    The OP has his answer.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice