D.C., June 16th - Congressman Jim Moran, Virginia
Democrat, today offered an amendment during consideration of
the FY '06 Science, State, Justice and Commerce Appropriations
bill (H.R. 2862) that would prevent terrorists from getting 50
caliber sniper rifles through U.S. export.
Unfortunately, the amendment was not agreed to due to
opposition from the National Rifle Association
"U.S. export policy should not be arming
terrorists," said Moran. "We know that in recent years,
al Qaeda has purchased around two dozen of these
weapons. Given this gun's enormous knockdown power and
accuracy from more than a mile away, we shouldn't be exporting
them to organizations that could be front groups for terror
The manufacturer of one of the most popular
versions of this weapon has publicly advertised that the
cost-effectiveness of the weapon "Cannot be overemphasized
when a round of ammunition purchased for less than 10 U.S.
dollars can be used to destroy or disable a modern jet
The Moran 50 Caliber Amendment would
prohibit the export of 50 caliber sniper rifles to any
non-governmental entities. Foreign militaries and law
enforcement agencies would be exempt.
"Opponents of this amendment would rather
protect the interests of target shooters in South Africa than
protect our service men and women stationed in other parts of
the globe. We know terrorists, war lords and drug
cartels want these guns, my amendment would help ensure they
don't get them."
The U.S. Army handbook on urban combat
states that 50 caliber sniper rifles are intended for use as
anti-materiel weapons, designed to attack bulk fuel tanks and
other high-value targets from long distances, using "their
ability to shoot through all but the heaviest shielding
Congressman Moran has had serious concerns
about the dangers posed by the 50 caliber sniper rifle.
He is also the author of legislation titled the "50 Caliber
Sniper Rifle Reduction Act," (H.R. 654) which would require 50
calibers currently in circulation to be registered under the
National Firearms Act and prohibit commercial sales of the