Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Proposed: .50 Caliber Ban

The radical Violence Policy Center (VPC) and CBS's "60 Minutes" used its Jan. 9, 2005 show to vilify .50 caliber rifles. The VPC storyline was that these guns are "too dangerous to be in the hands of private citizens". Jim Moran (D-VA) has introduced the "50 Caliber Sniper Rifle Reduction Act" (H.R. 654) in Congress. This ban would include many antique and blackpowder rifles and a number of big-bore rifles owned by hunters of dangerous game. In addition to a freeze on possession and transfer of all center-fire .50 caliber rifles, H.R. 654 requires guns now legally owned to be placed under Title II of the Gun Control Act (1968), and be treated like fully automatics. Moran's ban would prohibit any legally registered rifle from being bought, sold, given, traded or willed. "Reduction" is accomplished with the death of the registered owner, at which time the once-private property becomes the presumed property of the U.S. government. This far-reaching attack targets law-abiding citizens, while being disguised in ugly hype about "heavy sniper rifles" and threats of "terrorism". The propaganda war is calculated to frighten the unknowing public and fool and divide gun owners. If such restriction becomes law, that will be the beginning of gun ownership "reduction" based on bore size. Let's reference England's handgun ban in 1997. First, when licensed gun owners fought to stop confiscation of their registered handguns, the government threw them a bone - it only banned guns of a bore size larger than .22. The British licensed gun owners turned in their "large bore" handguns for destruction. They were told they could keep their .22s in government-approved lockups at government-certified gun clubs. Yet, that "bore reduction" gun control had barely been in place when British handgun owners were told the government was going to collect their registered private property from the approved armory sites. .22s suddenly had become "too big". So now armed young predators rule England these days, robbing, beating, and shooting the rich and poor alike. The harsh reality in England: -BBC reported that England's firearms restrictions "seem to have had little impact in the criminal underworld." Guns are virtually outlawed, and, as the old slogan predicted, only outlaws have guns. Worse, they are increasingly ready to use them. -December 2001, London's Evening Standard reported that armed crime, with banned handguns as the weapon of choice, was "rocketing." -In the two years following the 1997 handgun ban, the use of handguns in crime rose by 40 percent, and the upward trend has continued. From April to November 2001, the number of people robbed at gunpoint in London rose 53 percent. -From 1991 to 1995, crimes against a person in England's inner cities increased 91 percent. And in the four years from 1997 to 2001, the rate of violent crime more than doubled. Your chances of being mugged in London are now six times greater than in New York. -England's rates of assault, robbery, and burglary are far higher than America's, and 53 percent of English burglaries occur while occupants are at home, compared with 13 percent in the U.S., where burglars admit to fearing armed homeowners more than the police. -According to a United Nations study of crime in 18 developed nations published in July, England and Wales led the Western world's crime league with nearly 55 crimes per 100 people. -English crime followed a sea of change in government policies. Gun regulations have been part of a more general disarmament based on the proposition that people don't need to protect themselves because society will protect them. It also will protect their neighbors: Police advise those who witness a crime to "walk on by" and let the professionals handle it. -In 1973 a young man running on a road at night was stopped by the police and found to be carrying a length of steel, a cycle chain, and a metal clock weight. He explained that a gang of youths had been after him. At his hearing it was found he had been threatened and had previously notified the police. The justices agreed he had a valid reason to carry the weapons. Indeed, 16 days later he was attacked and beaten so badly he was hospitalized. But the prosecutor appealed the ruling, and the appellate judges insisted that carrying a weapon must be related to an imminent and immediate threat. They sent the case back to the lower court with directions to convict. -In 1987 two men assaulted Eric Butler, a 56-year-old British Petroleum executive, in a London subway car, trying to strangle him and smashing his head against the door. No one came to his aid. He later testified, "My air supply was being cut off, my eyes became blurred, and I feared for my life." In desperation he unsheathed an ornamental sword blade in his walking stick and slashed at one of his attackers, stabbing the man in the stomach. The assailants were charged with wounding. Butler was tried and convicted of carrying an offensive weapon. -In 1994 an English homeowner, armed with a toy gun, managed to detain two burglars who had broken into his house while he called the police. When the officers arrived, they arrested the homeowner for using an imitation gun to threaten or intimidate. In a similar incident the following year, when an elderly woman fired a toy cap pistol to drive off a group of youths who were threatening her, she was arrested for putting someone in fear. Now the police are pressing Parliament to make imitation guns illegal. -In 1999 Tony Martin, a 55-year-old Norfolk farmer living alone in a shabby farmhouse, awakened to the sound of breaking glass as two burglars, both with long criminal records, burst into his home. He had been robbed six times before, and his village, like 70 percent of rural English communities, had no police presence. He sneaked downstairs with a shotgun and shot at the intruders. Martin received life in prison for killing one burglar, 10 years for wounding the second, and a year for having an unregistered shotgun. The wounded burglar, having served 18 months of a three-year sentence, is now free and has been granted £5,000 of legal assistance to sue Martin. The failure of English policy to produce a safer society is clear. Do you want this to happen in America?


Blogger Don said...


some of these stories are scary.

However, I cannot see Americans standing by while people who were defending themselves get prosecuted.

But stranger things have happened.


4/29/2005 07:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

50 caliber rifles are no threat to our citizens. What is a threat is any government that thinks it's citizens shouldn't own them.

I've owned on for 13 years. I was compelled to buy it in the early 90's because of the gun-grabbing policies of the Clinton administration.

I might never have chosen to own one of these weapons. However, I'll be damned if I'm going to let anyone tell me I can't.

6/17/2005 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Bob Kenney said...

I've posted a quick analysis of the capabilities of the 50 BMG relative to standard 30 caliber high-powered rifles at my blog. While its true the 50 BMG offers certain limited advantages, HR 654 doesn't pass muster in "defending us against terrorism", given any standard deer rifle can accomplish most of what this bill proposes to stop.

6/20/2005 09:06:00 AM  

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