More than three
years ago, the Violence Policy Center warned in its report One
Shot, One Kill (May 1999) about a growing sniper subculture
in the United States. The VPC report described how segments of the gun
industry aggressively market military and police sniper rifles to civilians,
catering to a subculture whose bloody motto is "One Shot, One Kill."
The VPC cautioned
that the combination of specialized firearms and violence that the sniper
subculture encourages has the deadly potential "to roil troubled minds
and teach home-grown terrorists or impressionable juveniles how to use
the destructive capabilities of sniper rifles to maximum effect."
nation is now witnessing the horror of that potential realized. We do
not yet know the identity of the sniper or snipers terrorizing the Nation's
capital. We do not know what specific firearm is being used. But we
do know this grim fact�killing human beings, at long range, from concealment,
with a single shot, perfectly embodies the grisly sniper motto. This
terror is the sniper culture's "one shot, one kill" brought home to
America with a vengeance.
It is clear, the
gun industry stands ready to arm and train anyone with the fantasy of
being a real life sniper.
The sniper culture
in America is fueled by a deadly dance of profit among the gun industry,
private sniper schools that teach civilians the deadly skills of sniping,
and those who write and market instructional books and videos about
sniping and who sell all of the "after market" paraphernalia that sniper's
This is not a random
market phenomenon. The VPC has documented how gun manufacturers refer
in their advertising to the military and police sniping background of
their specialized rifles in order to sell the same guns to civilians.
At least one manufacturer refers in its advertising to a sniper school.
And this is all bound together in the gun press, magazines and other
publications which are effectively arms of the gun industry and relentlessly
promote the virtues of sniping rifles and their use.
It is well past
time for condemnation of the sniper subculture by our national political
leadership, investigation of gun industry marketing practices by Congress
and regulatory agencies, and legislation regulating this deadly trade
at the state, local, and federal levels.