Violence Policy Center
And Greenpeace Hold Joint Briefing Detailing The Threat of 50 Caliber
Sniper Rifle Terrorist Attacks on Chemical Targets
New VPC Report
Sitting Ducks Detailing 50 Caliber Sniper Rifle Terrorist Threat
to Refinery and Hazardous-Chemical Facilities Released at Briefing�Potential
Devastating and Deadly Effects
terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, federal officials have warned
the chemical and refinery industry that hazardous-materials plants could
be turned into weapons of mass destruction. The attacks�which made enormously
destructive bombs out of passenger jets�woke the world to the fact that
familiar objects we tend to think of as relatively benign can become terrifying
weapons inflicting catastrophic damage. The Violence Policy Center (VPC)
released Sitting Ducks: The Threat
to the Chemical and Refinery Industry from 50 Caliber Sniper Rifles
on Tuesday, August 27, 2002, at 12:30 PM at the National Press Club. Lisa
Finaldi, Greenpeace Toxics Campaign Coordinator, joined the VPC in detailing
the effects of this deadly threat on population centers across the country.
Ducks provides detailed information about a serious threat to
refinery and hazardous-chemical facilities: the 50 caliber sniper rifle
and the armor-piercing, incendiary, and explosive ammunition it is capable
of firing accurately over thousands of yards. The U.S. Army's manual on
urban combat states that 50 caliber sniper rifles are intended for use
as anti-materiel weapons, designed to attack bulk fuel tanks and other
high-value targets from a distance, using "their ability to shoot through
all but the heaviest shielding material."
The ease of obtaining
these weapons of war is illustrated by the alleged possession and intended
use for terror by Dr. Robert J. Goldstein, arrested this past weekend.
Despite its awesome and destructive firepower 50 caliber sniper rifles
are easier to purchase than handguns in the US.
An analysis by the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that at least 123 plants in
the United States keep amounts of toxic chemicals that could place more
than one million people in danger if released, 700 plants maintain amounts
that could endanger at least 100,000 people, and more than 3,000 plants
maintain amounts that could affect 10,000 people.
The Violence Policy Center is a
national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence
in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals.
The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research
on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related
death and injury.
Tuesday, August 27, 2002
Violence Policy Center
(202) 822-8200 x105