Violence Policy Center
Hails Contra Costa, CA, Board of Supervisors' 4-0 Vote to Ban 50 Caliber
Violence Policy Center (VPC) today applauded the Contra Costa, California,
Board of Supervisors for its 4-0 vote to prohibit the sale of 50 caliber
sniper rifles. The ban, intended to serve as a model ordinance for other
cities across California, comes only 10 days after the New York State
Assembly passed a similar ban on 50 caliber rifles. The Contra Costa legislative
effort was spearheaded by The Trauma Foundation, Legal Community Against
Violence (LCAV), and the Contra Costa Chapter of the Million Mom March.
The VPC has long advocated
a ban on the sale and possession of 50 caliber sniper rifles and was the
first organization in the country to alert the public to the dangers posed
by these weapons with its landmark 2001 study Voting
From the Rooftops: How the Gun Industry Armed Osama bin Laden, Other Foreign
and Domestic Terrorists, and Common Criminals With 50 Caliber Sniper Rifles.
Subsequent VPC studies have exposed the ability of these rifles to attack
bulk fuel tanks and other high-value targets from a distance, as well
as their ability to destroy commercial aircraft.
VPC Senior Policy
Analyst Tom Diaz, author of the VPC studies, states, "We commend the Contra
Costa Board of Supervisors for taking action to ban these weapons of war.
Following California's lead, we hope other cities across the nation begin
to recognize the absurdity of allowing these guns on our streets. Under
federal law 50 caliber rifles are as easy to buy as hunting rifles, and
less restricted than handguns, yet can penetrate armor plating and are
accurate up to 2,000 yards."
In the wake of the
Contra Costa Board of Supervisors vote, the VPC warns that industry front
groups, such as the Fifty Caliber Institute (FCI), will follow a well-worn
pattern of distortion and misrepresentation in their efforts to stop further
restrictions on these weapons of war. In response to such efforts, the
VPC recently released Really
Big Guns, Even Bigger Lies, a report rebutting a series of distortions
and misstatements made by the Fifty Caliber Institute, and documenting
the group's twisting of facts and use of erroneous technical data in its
attempts to hide the truth about the clear public safety threat posed
by 50 caliber sniper rifles.
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.
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Violence Policy Center
(202) 822-8200 x122