For Release: Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Alleged Terrorists Also Trained with Next-Generation Assault Rifle, the Beretta Storm
Washington, DC–A foreign-made SKS assault rifle specifically approved for import by the Bush Administration was one of the weapons the U.S. government alleges that six men plotting an assault on Fort Dix trained with in the Poconos according to the criminal complaint filed in a federal district court in New Jersey. In addition to the Yugoslavian SKS, the alleged terrorists also trained with a Beretta Storm assault rifle.
Although the federal assault weapons ban has expired, the Bush Administration has the executive authority to ban the import of foreign-made assault weapons like the SKS and Storm. Such an action would not require Congressional approval. Both President Bill Clinton and President George Herbert Walker Bush used their executive powers to stop the import of specific assault rifles. In contrast, the Administration of George W. Bush has specifically authorized the importation of SKS assault rifles made in Albania and the former Yugoslavia.
A 2002 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) report labeled the SKS “the rifle model most frequently encountered by law enforcement officers” and stated, “These high capacity rifles pose an enhanced threat to law enforcement, in part because of their ability to expel projectiles at velocities that are capable of penetrating the type of soft body armor typically worn by the law enforcement officers.”
VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, “President Bush could with the stroke of a pen tighten the import ban and stop the import of all foreign-made assault rifles–including the SKS and Beretta Storm. How many near misses and tragedies will it take before the Administration takes action?”
The ease with which military-style firearms and firearms training can be obtained in the United States has been touted in terrorist training manuals, including “How Can I Train Myself for Jihad,” which states, “…obtain an assault rifle legally, preferably AK-47 or variations, learn how to use it properly and go and practice in the areas allowed for such training.”