Violence Policy Center
(VPC) Joins Rep. Carolyn Maloney in Calling For Federal Ban on 50 Caliber
Anti-Armor Sniper Rifles
New VPC Analysis
Warns of Terror Threat Posed by 50 Caliber Rifles to Helicopters, VPC
Also Warns of Threat to Armor-Plated Vehicles
New York, NY�The Violence
Policy Center (VPC) today joined Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) in calling
for a federal ban on 50 caliber, anti-armor sniper rifles. 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 at distances of more than
a mile, yet under federal law are sold in the United States with fewer
restrictions than a standard handgun. The guns have already been banned
in Los Angeles, CA, and Contra Costa County, CA. In March 2004, the New
York State Assembly voted to ban the weapons statewide.
At a noon press conference
held at the U.S. General Services Administration Offices at 26 Federal
Plaza, the VPC released a new analysis, The
Threat Posed to Helicopters by 50 Caliber Anti-Armor Sniper Rifles.
An ArmaLite AR-50 sniper rifle was also displayed at the press conference.
Legislation to restrict these weapons, sponsored by Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA)
and co-sponsored by Rep. Maloney, is currently pending in the U.S. House
Tom Diaz, VPC senior
policy analyst and author of numerous VPC studies on the threat posed
by 50 caliber sniper rifles, stated, "These anti-armor rifles can take
out light armored vehicles, are capable of turning commercial jetliners
into bombs on the ground, and of knocking helicopters out of the air.
And, they are capable of igniting railcars and stationary tank farms containing
extremely hazardous, volatile, and explosive chemicals."
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, as well as their ability to destroy commercial aircraft.
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, August 18, 2004
Violence Policy Center
(202) 822-8200 x109