"It's a fun toy, a nice collectible. This is not something a drug lord or a bank robber is going to want to use. It's not easy to conceal."

Ronnie Barrett, owner of Barrett Firearms Manufacturing., quoted in Voting from the Rooftops

50 Caliber Sniper Guns -- Weapons of Terrorism

Why do ordinary citizens need guns that can shoot through armored limousines, blow up fuel tanks, take down helicopters, destroy radar dishes, and hit other targets from 1,800 yards? Why is the United States willing to make sniper rifles used by militaries around the globe readily available as tools for terror with the clear capacity for assassination and assault on society's infrastructure?

Clearly, these weapons, with their powerful, long-range capacity, are ideal instruments of terrorism. 

The magazine Women & Guns touts .50 caliber weapons as the next hottest thing in sports shooting for women. But, there are many of us in the U.S. and elsewhere who are concerned about the availability of such weapons. The Violence Policy Center's (VPC) report, Voting from the Rooftops, details the truly frightening capacity of these weapons of destruction. According to the VPC, the US gun industry sold at least 25 of these .50 caliber sniper rifles to Osama Bin Laden's terrorist network, Al Qaeda.   Closer to home, .50 caliber weapons were fired at the FBI by the Branch Davidians at Waco, Texas. Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, who were responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing, had .50 caliber weapons in their arsenal.

On February 22nd, the Assembly Select Committee on Gun Violence and concerned citizens will be gathering in California at the West Hollywood City Council chambers for a press conference at 10:15 a.m. and an informational hearing on .50 caliber weapons with the author of Voting from the Rooftops, Tom Diaz of the Violence Policy Center, and Congressman Henry Waxman, who will discuss congressional research on .50 caliber rifles, and Assemblyman Paul Koretz, who will provide information about what California can do about putting .50 caliber weapons in the same classification as machine guns under California state law.

For additional information see: New VPC Report Debunks Gun Industry Claim That Bin Laden's .50 Caliber Sniper Rifles Were Obtained Through CIA Aid Program and MSNBC Investigates the .50-caliber Militia

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Feb. 12, 2002