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Posted: 10/27/2002 5:23:13 PM EDT
Here the "newspiece": Gun Control Group Warns of 'Sniper Subculture' By Robert B. Bluey CNSNews.com Staff Writer October 25, 2002 (CNSNews.com) - An underground "sniper subculture" is brewing in the United States thanks to the aggressive marketing of so-called sniper rifles by gun manufacturers and lax gun-control regulations, according to a gun-control advocacy group. The Violence Policy Center held a press briefing on the purported sniper subculture Thursday, only hours after police apprehended two suspects with alleged connections to the deaths of 10 people in the Washington, D.C., area. The group claims it warned of such an episode more than three years ago in its "One Shot, One Kill" report. Tom Diaz, the group's senior policy analyst, warned that more incidents, similar to the shootings in the last three weeks, could happen unless federal and state lawmakers curb the sale of some long-guns and place new restrictions on shooting schools that teach individuals how to use firearms. "From everything we see about the growth of books, the growth of websites, the apparent commercial success of these schools, we believe this subculture is growing," he said. The resources available to gun owners, Diaz said, illustrate the ease with which anyone could carry out shootings similar to those in the Washington region. "I don't know what their [snipers'] background or motivation are, but I know what they have been doing is exactly what you can learn from these books or at these schools," he said. Police arrested John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo on federal firearms charges early Thursday morning. Authorities have not yet conclusively connected the pair to the shootings. Joe Waldron, the executive director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, said Diaz is using the shootings to advance his political agenda. "This is another attempt by the Violence Policy Center to exploit tragedy and select buzz words that appeal to people's emotions," Waldron said. "In this case, they're saying it's the sniper subculture. Are there people who pay attention to those things? Yeah, but I don't believe it exists as an identifiable subculture." But Diaz said one has to look no further than bookstores and the Internet to find evidence of the trend. While he does think it is appropriate to regulate schools that train gun owners, he shied away from any government interference with gun publications. "I don't advocate for any restriction on the books and videos," Diaz said. "If people think it's morally a good thing to put these things out and if Amazon and Barnes & Noble are comfortable selling books that show how to shoot down helicopters and kill other human beings, then so be it." He was not as lenient, though, when it came to what he termed "sniper schools," training centers that teach long-range shooting, located throughout the United States. While he said some limit training to police or military officers, others invite anyone seeking instruction to attend. "Police and military snipers are well-screened," he said. "We have no bone to pick with them. They have an honorable and necessary profession, but we're concerned about the bleed-over into the civilian world." Waldron said the facilities Diaz referred to have done a good job teaching people how to properly and appropriately use firearms. He added that training schools require background checks before any student is allowed to participate. In addition, Diaz said the federal government should enact stricter gun-control measures. Tougher restrictions must be placed on so-called sniper rifles, such as the .50, .308, and .223 calibers, he said. "The .50 caliber semi-automatic rifle, under federal law, is less regulated than a handgun," Diaz said. "That type of rifle ought to be brought under the National Firearms Act, a law that regulates machine guns." Erich Pratt, spokesman for Gun Owners of America, said such a move would be unwarranted since those rifles are primarily used for hunting. He said the .50 caliber rifle is an "extremely big and bulky" firearm and he was unaware if one had ever been used to commit a crime. According to a November 2001 Bureau of Justice Statistics report, rifles of all calibers were used in 1.3 percent of the crimes committed by felons currently serving sentences in state or federal prisons. The report did not specify the caliber of weapons used by the offenders. Pratt echoed Waldron's concern that Diaz was merely using the recent spate of shootings to capitalize on efforts to impose greater restrictions on Second Amendment rights of citizens. "They jump on every chance the can to demonize gun owners and firearms," Pratt said. "There have been 10 tragic murders in the last few weeks, but in that same time there have been thousands of self-defense cases [with firearms] that haven't grabbed the headlines."
Link Posted: 10/27/2002 5:27:30 PM EDT
Here's my response to Mr. Bluey (I emailed this to him). Mr. Bluey: You stellar "news" piece neglects to mention one very salient fact: neither John Allen Muhammad, nor his 17 yr. old accomplis (too young to purchase a firearm legally by the way) ever received any form of "sniper training"; either through the military or privately at a commercial school (so far as we know as of now). Therefore, the entire point of your piece is lost in the emotion of the moment and ignores REALITY. There is ZERO evidence these wingnuts had anything to do with "the sniper culture" (your term) other than killing people from a concealed location using a rifle--a pretty tenuous link by any estimation. Also, a REAL, trained "sniper" would not bother with the weapon Muhammad used. It is relatively low powered (despite all the hype about it being a high-powered rifle; power can be defined as ability to deliver energy downrange into a target. Compare a ballistics chart for reference and you will see that the puny 55 grain, .223 caliber bullet delivered at about 3000 feet per second, less that at 100 yards, has MUCH less downrange energy than a true sniper caliber--a minimum 168 grain, .308 caliber bullet traveling at about 2800 feet per second) and, while accurate enough for its primary mission, that of main-line infantry weapon, it is NOT considered a precision rifle by any means (hence the reason professional snipers would not and do not choose that particular rifle for that job). Finally, this B.S. about .50BMG caliber rifles is just that, utter nonsense. The cheapest version of that rifle is no less than $3000.00 (that's right--3 grand) and each round has a cost of about $5.00. They weigh about 35 lbs. each are at least 40 in. long. (not too many gangbangers can or want to afford that and certainly can not afford to be seen carrying around that behemoth of a rifle). There have been exactly ZERO crimes (ever) committed with a .50 caliber rifle. Notwithstanding all of that, SO WHAT it's more powerful than your average rifle? Would you want to get shot with ANY rifle, regardless of caliber? How about mentioning the REAL facts next time instead of using your position in the media to obfuscate the facts, scare the ignorant, lazy and unknowing (by choice) masses, in order to further your personal goal of more gun control. Trying (and failing without doubt) to keep you honest, R.D. Ferguson Ron Bluey sent me a rather nice email in response and inquired if he could forward my mail to the editor for publication as a letter to the editor. I said sure though I doubt it will ever see the light of day. Here's hoping some facts actually get out there.
Link Posted: 10/27/2002 5:42:28 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/27/2002 5:48:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/27/2002 5:50:06 PM EDT by magnum_99]
Originally Posted By tattoo:
Originally Posted By magnum_99: .308 caliber bullet traveling at about 2800 feet per second) and, while accurate enough for its primary mission, that of main-line infantry weapon, it is NOT considered a precision rifle by any means (hence the reason professional snipers would not and do not choose that particular rifle for that job).
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well i dont think your rite about the 308 the WI D.O.C. does use the rem pps in 308 as its "sniper weapon" and the d.o.c. snipers are "professional snipers"
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Looks like my use of the indefinite pronoun "it" confused you. The "it" refers to the weapon Muhammed used, a Bushmaster [b].223[/b], NOT a .308.
Link Posted: 10/27/2002 6:49:49 PM EDT
unfortuanly mag, it will also consfuse the same lazy unknowing masses you mentioned in your well worded letter.
Link Posted: 10/28/2002 5:27:16 PM EDT
Didn't confuse me, but then again, I can think (sometimes). Magnum, did you get printed? TXLEWIS
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