For Release: Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Washington, DC – The Violence Policy Center (VPC) today applauded the New York State Assembly for voting to ban 50 caliber sniper rifles as part of a gun violence prevention package passed yesterday. 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.
VPC Senior Policy Analyst Tom Diaz, author of the VPC studies, states, “Today’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 up to 2,000 yards, yet they are as easy to buy as a hunting rifle, and less restricted than handguns.”
In the wake of the State Assembly vote, the VPC warns that industry front groups, such as the Fifty Caliber Institute (FCI), will repeat a well-worn pattern of distortion and misrepresentation in their efforts to stop restrictions on these weapons of war. In response to such efforts, the VPC today released Really Big Guns, Even Bigger Lies, a report rebutting a series of distortions and misstatements made by the Fifty Caliber Institute, and documenting the group’s twisting of facts and use of flatly wrong technical data in its attempts to hide the truth about the clear public safety threat posed by 50 caliber sniper rifles.