VPC Offers Strong Support
for Federal Legislation to Ban 50 Caliber Sniper Rifles
Jim Moran (D-VA), Delegate Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-DC), and DC and Virginia
Law Enforcement Officials Warn of Public Safety Threat Posed by Rifles
That Can Penetrate Armor Plating and Destroy Aircraf
law enforcement and public officials warned at a 10:30 AM press conference
today of the homeland security threat posed by 50 caliber sniper rifles
and endorsed federal legislation introduced by Representative Jim Moran
(D-VA) to ban these military-bred weapons. Fifty caliber sniper rifles
can penetrate armor plating, pierce rail cars carrying toxic chemicals,
and destroy aircraft. Currently being used by U.S. troops in Iraq, 50
caliber sniper rifles are accurate from over a mile, yet under federal
law are sold in the United States with fewer restrictions than a standard
handgun. Bolt-action 50 caliber sniper rifles are legal in the District
of Columbia. The guns have already been banned in Los Angeles, CA. In
March of this year, Contra Costa County, CA, and the New York State Assembly
also voted to ban them. A vote is pending in the New York State Senate.
Tom Diaz, VPC senior
policy analyst and author of numerous VPC studies on the threat posed
by 50 caliber sniper rifles, states, "The Violence Policy Center commends
Representative Moran for taking action to ban these weapons of war. Fifty
caliber sniper rifles give terrorists, militia groups, and common criminals
the same firepower as the U.S. Army. They have already been used against
America's police, and have turned up in the arms caches of homegrown militias
planning to assassinate public officials. If anyone is looking for the
warning signs, they are here. These are the ideal tools for terrorists
and must be banned before the unthinkable happens."
The VPC first identified
the threat posed by 50 caliber sniper rifles 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 environmental safety threats presented
by these guns' ability to penetrate from a distance bulk fuel and chemical
tanks and other high-value targets, as well as their ability to destroy
commercial aircraft. All of the VPC's studies are available at www.vpc.org.
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.
Monday, May 3, 2004
Violence Policy Center
(202) 822-8200 x122