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Posted: 12/24/2005 1:23:30 PM EDT
Saturday, November 26, 2005

A .50-caliber rifle -- and it's legal
Gun criticized as potential weapon for terrorists

By ROSE FRENCH
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- When U.S. soldiers need to penetrate a tank's armor from long-distance, they count on a weapon that evolved from garage tinkering by a former wedding photographer. (Editor's Note: The original version of this story misstated the distance at which the weapon can penetrate tank armor.)

The .50-caliber rifle created by Ronnie Barrett and sold by his company, Barrett Firearms Manufacturing Inc., is the most powerful that civilians can buy. It weighs 30 pounds and can hit targets up to 2,000 yards away with armor-piercing bullets.

That kind of power has drawn gun enthusiasts, Hollywood actors and Barrett's most loyal buyer, the U.S. military, which has been buying Barrett's rifles since the 1980s and using them in combat from the 1991 Gulf War to the present.

But the powerful gun has drawn plenty of critics, who say the rifle could be used by terrorists to bring down commercial airliners or penetrate rail cars and storage plants holding hazardous materials.

For years state and federal lawmakers have sought to limit or ban the gun's sale, as California did this year.

Tom Diaz, a senior policy analyst with the Washington-based Violence Policy Center, says the guns should be more regulated and harder to buy. The gun can now be bought by anyone 18 or older who passes a background check.

"They're easier to buy than a handgun," Diaz said. "These are ideal weapons of terrorist attack."

Barrett started tinkering after taking photos of a .50-caliber Browning machine gun in the early 1980s. The heavy recoil of the Browning made it nearly impossible to shoot without being solidly mounted, but Barrett's rifle reduces recoil to the point where it can be shoulder-fired, while the weapon rests on a bipod. (Editor's Note: The original version of this story misstated the relationship between the Browning and Barrett's own gun.)

The majority of Barrett's sales come from military orders, for armed forces and police departments in about 50 allied countries. Every branch of the U.S. military uses the rifles, and the Department of Defense last year spent about $8 million on his firearms. The New York City Police Department recently announced it's training officers to use the rifles.



Barrett estimates about 1,000 of his rifles -- which each cost between $3,500 and $10,000 -- have been used in the 1991 Gulf War and the current war in Iraq.

The guns owned by civilians are used mostly for hunting big game and in marksmanship competitions.

Other manufacturers now make the gun, but Barrett dominates the market. He employs 80 at his 20,000-square-foot gun-making facility in Murfreesboro, about 30 miles southeast of Nashville.

He said sales are up nearly $6 million from last year.

Reports have observed the rifles have made their way to terrorists, drug cartels and survivalists.

Joseph King, a terrorism expert at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said terrorists could use the weapon to take out a plane.

"I don't understand any civilian use of it," King said. "The only thing it's good for is for military or police application. You can't really hunt with it because it would destroy most of the meat."

However, Bryce Towsley, a Vermont-based gun writer, said that when the rifle is used with the proper bullet for hunting, it would not destroy game meat. (Editor's Note: The original version of this story did not include Towsley's statement.)
Link Posted: 12/24/2005 1:26:09 PM EDT

Originally Posted By CRC:
Saturday, November 26, 2005

A .50-caliber rifle -- and it's legal
Gun criticized as potential weapon for terrorists

By ROSE FRENCH
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- When U.S. soldiers need to penetrate a tank's armor from long-distance, they count on a weapon that evolved from garage tinkering by a former wedding photographer. (Editor's Note: The original version of this story misstated the distance at which the weapon can penetrate tank armor.)

The .50-caliber rifle created by Ronnie Barrett and sold by his company, Barrett Firearms Manufacturing Inc., is the most powerful that civilians can buy. It weighs 30 pounds and can hit targets up to 2,000 yards away with armor-piercing bullets.

That kind of power has drawn gun enthusiasts, Hollywood actors and Barrett's most loyal buyer, the U.S. military, which has been buying Barrett's rifles since the 1980s and using them in combat from the 1991 Gulf War to the present.

But the powerful gun has drawn plenty of critics, who say the rifle could be used by terrorists to bring down commercial airliners or penetrate rail cars and storage plants holding hazardous materials.

For years state and federal lawmakers have sought to limit or ban the gun's sale, as California did this year.

Tom Diaz, a senior policy analyst with the Washington-based Violence Policy Center, says the guns should be more regulated and harder to buy. The gun can now be bought by anyone 18 or older who passes a background check.

"They're easier to buy than a handgun," Diaz said. "These are ideal weapons of terrorist attack."

Barrett started tinkering after taking photos of a .50-caliber Browning machine gun in the early 1980s. The heavy recoil of the Browning made it nearly impossible to shoot without being solidly mounted, but Barrett's rifle reduces recoil to the point where it can be shoulder-fired, while the weapon rests on a bipod. (Editor's Note: The original version of this story misstated the relationship between the Browning and Barrett's own gun.)

The majority of Barrett's sales come from military orders, for armed forces and police departments in about 50 allied countries. Every branch of the U.S. military uses the rifles, and the Department of Defense last year spent about $8 million on his firearms. The New York City Police Department recently announced it's training officers to use the rifles.



Barrett estimates about 1,000 of his rifles -- which each cost between $3,500 and $10,000 -- have been used in the 1991 Gulf War and the current war in Iraq.

The guns owned by civilians are used mostly for hunting big game and in marksmanship competitions.

Other manufacturers now make the gun, but Barrett dominates the market. He employs 80 at his 20,000-square-foot gun-making facility in Murfreesboro, about 30 miles southeast of Nashville.

He said sales are up nearly $6 million from last year.

Reports have observed the rifles have made their way to terrorists, drug cartels and survivalists.

Joseph King, a terrorism expert at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said terrorists could use the weapon to take out a plane.

"I don't understand any civilian use of it," King said. "The only thing it's good for is for military or police application. You can't really hunt with it because it would destroy most of the meat."

However, Bryce Towsley, a Vermont-based gun writer, said that when the rifle is used with the proper bullet for hunting, it would not destroy game meat. (Editor's Note: The original version of this story did not include Towsley's statement.)



Is this kind of like a 45 knocking you out of your shoes?
Link Posted: 12/24/2005 1:59:35 PM EDT
I think we should replace those under powered 30mm on the A10 with 3 Barret 50 cals on each wing. Then we would have some real firepower.
Link Posted: 12/24/2005 2:11:48 PM EDT
They ran that story on the local paper last month with a pic of R. Barrett in it. He did look quite secure holding a 82A1 and wearing a pink shirt.
Link Posted: 12/24/2005 2:19:20 PM EDT
Doesn't look like they corrected much to me.
Link Posted: 12/24/2005 2:23:50 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/24/2005 2:31:14 PM EDT

Originally Posted By twl:
Since when does being "suitable for hunting" have anything to do with buying a gun?
These dorkweeds will never stop.


+1
Link Posted: 12/24/2005 2:34:41 PM EDT
He forgot to mention the satellites that are routinely shot out of space with them.

Link Posted: 12/24/2005 2:38:41 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/24/2005 2:39:43 PM EDT by HarryStone]

Originally Posted By twl:
Since when does being "suitable for hunting" have anything to do with buying a gun?
These dorkweeds will never stop.



Because guns designed for hunting are incapable of hurting people. Military guns force otherwise non-violent people to go on a murderous rampage. Also, all military guns are called "AK 47" and anyone who has more than 20 rounds of ammo is planning to kill thousands of people.

Crap, I forgot to say that they should be banned "for the children".
Link Posted: 12/24/2005 2:50:57 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Gunplay:

Originally Posted By twl:
Since when does being "suitable for hunting" have anything to do with buying a gun?
These dorkweeds will never stop.


+1



Well when was the last time the .50 BMG was used in an anti-armor role? 1919 to about 1925 or so?

Lord knows our Abrams are sure at risk to the big 50. Sure hope the rest of the world doesn't find this out.
Link Posted: 12/24/2005 3:17:54 PM EDT

Originally Posted By twl:
Since when does being "suitable for hunting" have anything to do with buying a gun?
These dorkweeds will never stop.



"suitable for hunting" is simply a tool to divide firearms owners, and evidence that it has worked to a degree can be found in remarks from some of the hunting crowd, the "no sport-shooting" focus of BassPro, etc.

Those fool hunters and cowboy action shooters who not only buy into this BS but also mouth it, are going to be in for a surprise if SUR's, battle rifles, class III, and .50 BMG semi's are ever made impractical to own. Why? Because SG's and "sniper rifles" are the next targets (not that some moves haven't already been made)>
Link Posted: 12/24/2005 3:20:22 PM EDT
Ive read this story in about 3 papers and about 50 times on the internet...

Please tell me, when will the conspiricy end?
Link Posted: 12/24/2005 3:29:22 PM EDT
Reports have observed the rifles have made their way to terrorists, drug cartels and survivalists.

Interesting grouping.

Link Posted: 12/24/2005 3:46:24 PM EDT
I don't understand a ban on this calibre rifle...

Forget the terrorist threat...unfounded IMHO
When it comes to taking an aircraft "out".. calibre is not so much a factor but placement is.
It's not the type of firearm to be carried by your local gangbanger.
And when was the last time anyone robbed a bank with a .50 Cal?

Taffy
Link Posted: 12/24/2005 3:47:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Strats:
Reports have observed the rifles have made their way to terrorists, drug cartels and survivalists.

Interesting grouping.




Yea us you survivalist guys can't be trusted...

Taffy (prepared)
Link Posted: 12/24/2005 4:27:30 PM EDT
We know what we have to do: use facts to support our arguments with those who would unthinkingly relinquish our freedoms, and petition our elected representatives to listen to reason.
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