For Release: Tuesday, March 16, 2004
New VPC Report Dissects FCI Distortions, Dismantles Pro-Gun Group’s Defense of Civilian Sale of Deadly 50 Caliber Anti-Armor Rifles, Links FCI to Sniper Rifle Industry
Washington, DC – The Violence Policy Center (VPC) today released Really Big Guns, Even Bigger Lies, a report rebutting a series of distortions and misstatements made by the Fifty Caliber Institute (FCI) in FCI’s specious defense of the civilian sale of 50 caliber anti-armor sniper rifles. The VPC report documents the gun industry front group’s misstatements of fact and flatly wrong technical data in its efforts to evade the truth about the public danger posed by the burgeoning civilian market in 50 caliber sniper rifles. The VPC also documents ties between FCI and several of its board members to the growing 50 caliber sniper rifle industry.
Fifty caliber sniper rifles are weapons of war that can penetrate armor plating and destroy aircraft, but under federal law are sold with only the same restrictions as standard hunting rifles, and with fewer restrictions than handguns. Reports issued by the VPC citing the threat posed by the weapons include: “Just Like Bird Hunting” The Threat to Civil Aviation From 50 Caliber Sniper Rifles and Sitting Ducks: The Threat to the Chemical and Refinery Industry From 50 Caliber Sniper Rifles.
“The Fifty Caliber Institute makes Pinocchio look like a rank amateur when it comes to distorting the truth,” said Tom Diaz, author of the report and VPC senior policy analyst. “For example, FCI claims that MK211 military armor-piercing, explosive ammunition for the 50 caliber sniper rifle is not available on the civilian market. But our report documents several instances in which FCI board member Keith Pagel has written precisely about the civilian market for the military round. We also document a prominent 50 caliber sniper rifle manufacturer writing about his personal experience with the military explosive round in the civilian market. Virtually everything the FCI writes is twisted to serve the out-of-control sniper rifle industry’s commercial ends.”
Another of the many examples in the report is FCI’s dismissal of the ability of the 50 caliber sniper rifle to down aircraft. The report documents that a sniper text “highly recommended” by a commercial sniper school with which FCI is affiliated not only illustrates its author “engaging low flying helicopters” in a training exercise, but contains a diagram demonstrating exactly where to aim to shoot down such a helicopter.