Fifty caliber is the largest round of ammunition generally available to American civilians today. Fifty caliber anti-armor sniper rifles are specifically designed to engage and destroy materiel targets on the battlefield at long range. These anti-armor rifles feature a range and striking power that is far beyond that of any hunting rifle, and beyond that of the rifles our infantry carry.
Armored personnel carriers, aircraft, rail tank cars, bulk fuel storage, and concrete bunkers are vulnerable to 50 caliber rifle fire at distances of 1,000 to 2,000 yards. Our soft civilian infrastructure — airports and the jetliners in them, rail cars carrying hazardous materials, and toxic chemical bulk storage plants — is even more open to attack by these rifles than its military counterpart.
In most states, any 18-year-old who can pass a background check can buy a 50 caliber rifle (even though one must be at least 21 years old to buy a handgun at a gun store). In September 2004, California became the first state to ban 50 caliber sniper rifles. The District of Columbia has also banned these weapons.
The U.S. Gun Industry and Others Unknown: Evidence Debunking the Gun Industry’s Claim That Osama Bin Laden Got His 50 Caliber Sniper Rifles From The U.S. Afghan-Aid Program (February 2002)
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Why Regulate 50 Caliber Sniper Rifles?
Violence Policy Center Strongly Criticizes Governor Christie’s Veto of Ban on 50 Caliber Sniper Rifles (08/17/2013)