.50 Caliber rifles can seem like a good target for gun control advocates because they are so expensive that they are uncommon.
They know that this means there won't be as many people fighting to keep them from being banned when they move to do so. The
hard part, however, is coming up with a good lie to justify a ban. They have to deal with the fact that only 18 of
these rifles have ever been used in a crime in all the history of the United States. -(General Accounting Office, "Weaponry:
.50 Caliber Rifle Crime", Report no. OSI-99-15R, revised Oct. 21, 2001.) They also have to deal with the fact that
the signers of the constitution owned guns that were just as great or greater in power and size. So what do they do?
Anti-gun solution #1: Prey on fear
Gun control advocates prey on the fear of Americans by trying to connect .50 caliber rifles with terrorism. Of course,
since real terrorists prefer other types of weaponry, they can only speak of the "possible" uses for the gun in their
hands. They label the rifle a "bunker buster", even though "It takes 300 rounds to penetrate 2 meters
of reinforced concrete at 100 meters."-("An Infantryman's Guide to Combat in Built-up Area" (MOUT) field manual 90-10-1,
Chapter 8, US Army, May 1993.) Since .50 caliber rounds cost $5 per round, it would cost a terrorist $1,500 in ammunition
to shoot into one bunker.
Anti-gun solution #2: Use false or misleading information
They try to say that with a .50 Cal, you can shoot down an airplane at a mile away. They know that many people aren't privy
to the fact that even highly trained professionals have a hard time hitting a large target at 1200 to 1500 yards, let alone
one mile. The ammo is designed for a machine gun, and is generally only good for about a 30-45 inch circle at 1500 yards with
no wind, good lighting, a perfectly sighted rifle, and a lot of professional practice. When you apply all this to the fact
that an airplane is a moving target, common sense reveals that it is impossible.
.50 caliber rifles are heavy (20-35 pounds), expensive (upwards of $6,000 each) as is the ammunition ($5 per each round
for military quality), impossible to conceal (typically four feet long), most are single shot (slower to reload than a hunting
rifle) and impractical for terrorist activities.
There is one notable use of .50 cal. rifles by terrorists: "The use of it [.50 caliber] by the
IRA in Northern Ireland to shoot both soldiers and police officers at very short range (never more than 275 yards) also gave
the weapon a worldwide notoriety when the world's media slapped a ‘sniper’ label on the terrorists taking the
shots. They obviously were not and soon ran scared when professional snipers were deployed to stop them." -Mark Spicer, "Sniper",
Salamander Books Ltd., 2001