For Release: Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Washington, DC – The Violence Policy Center (VPC) today applauded the New York State Assembly for voting last night to ban 50 caliber sniper rifles. The measure must now go to the New York State Senate. The legislative effort was spearheaded by New Yorkers Against Gun Violence (NYAGV), the state’s leading gun violence prevention organization.
The VPC has long advocated for a ban on the sale and possession of 50 caliber sniper rifles and was the first organization in the country to alert the American public to the dangers posed by these weapons 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 ability of these rifles to attack bulk fuel tanks and other high-value targets from a distance, as well as their ability to destroy commercial aircraft. [Follow this link for more information on the threat posed by 50 caliber sniper rifles, including their use in crime.] In September 2004 California became the first state in the nation to ban the weapons. Federal legislation to restrict their availability has been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate.
VPC Senior Policy Analyst Tom Diaz, author of the VPC studies, states, “Last night’s action by the New York State Assembly sends a strong message to New York State residents and citizens across the country that these weapons of war must be banned. Fifty caliber rifles, used by our troops in Iraq and around the world, can penetrate armor plating and are accurate to over a mile, yet they are as easy to buy as a hunting rifle, and less restricted than handguns.”