Gun Draws High-Caliber Support, Criticism (.50 Cal Article)


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Finch
November 25, 2005, 07:35 PM
Gun Draws High-Caliber Support, Criticism

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — When U.S. soldiers need to penetrate a tank's armor from a mile away, they count on a weapon that evolved from the garage tinkering of a former wedding photographer.

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

That kind of power has drawn a customer base of 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 some 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 purchase. 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. Very dangerous elements gravitate toward these weapons."

The majority of Barrett's sales come from military orders, for armed forces and police departments in some 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, Barrett said.

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

The guns are used by most civilians for hunting big game and in marksmanship competitions. Civilian sales are crucial to business because military and police orders can fluctuate year to year, Barrett said.

"It's like, what does a 55-year-old man do with a Corvette? You drive it around and enjoy it," said Barrett, 51, whose customers include doctors, lawyers, movie makers and actors. "I know all the current actors who are Barrett rifle shooters, some Academy Award-winning people. But they don't publicize it. They love to play with them and have fun. Shooting is very fun."

A 1999 investigation by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found the rifles were available on civilian markets with fewer restrictions than those placed on handguns. Ammunition dealers were willing to sell armor-piercing bullets even when an agent pretending to be a buyer said he wanted the ammunition for use against armored limousines or "to take a helicopter down."

Other 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 what good a .50-caliber is going to do you," King said. "I don't understand any civilian use of it. 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."

Barrett and gun advocates say the gun's power has been exaggerated and doesn't pose a threat to citizens because the weapons are too expensive and heavy to be used by criminals.

Barrett and other gun advocacy groups heavily lobbied the state of California, the first state to pass a law making it illegal to make and sell the gun. Several other states and some federal lawmakers have introduced similar legislation.

Despite these efforts, Barrett says sales are up nearly $6 million from last year thanks to recent military and police orders.

The New York City Police Department recently announced it's training officers in its aviation unit to use the rifles, which will be on board some of the department's helicopters to intercept potential attacks from boats or airplanes. In 2002, the Army placed an order for 4,200 of the guns, Barrett said.

Other manufacturers now make the gun, but Barrett dominates the market.

In the next few years, he said he plans to more than double the current number of employees, 80, and the size of his 20,000-square-foot gun-making facility located in Murfreesboro, about 30 miles southeast of Nashville.

A lifelong gun enthusiast, Barrett never went to college and worked as a commercial photographer and reserve deputy for years before he started tinkering with the .50-caliber Browning Machine Gun in the early 1980s.

The heavy recoil of the Browning made it nearly impossible to shoot without it being mounted on a turret, but Barrett's rifle reduces recoil to the point where it can be shoulder-fired, while the weapon rests on a bipod.

Barrett says he was nearly $1.5 million in debt at one point trying to get the business on its feet. He sold his first guns to the military in the late 1980s and the long-range weapons gained popularity after they were used to attack Iraqi tanks in the 1991 war.

Barrett's son, Chris, who works with his sister at their father's business, said he watched his dad build the gun in the family garage and is not surprised by the growth and success of his father's business.

"He's worked hard all his life. I think he would do as well at anything he pursued," Chris Barrett said. "He's not one of these big suits, a CEO at the top of one these big money machines. He's not one to back down. He can make anything work, no matter what he's doing."

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,176712,00.html

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CentralTexas
November 25, 2005, 07:43 PM
Thanks FOX for scaring your right wing audience....
CT

Chipperman
November 25, 2005, 07:44 PM
"I don't understand what good a .50-caliber is going to do you," King said. "I don't understand any civilian use of it. 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."

I really don't understand what good a Corvette is going to do you. It only encourages people to break traffic laws. The only thing it's good for is a race car driver. You really can't carpool with it because there's no back seat.

Standing Wolf
November 25, 2005, 08:04 PM
Tom Diaz, a senior policy analyst with the Washington-based Violence Policy Center, says the guns should be more regulated and harder to purchase. 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. Very dangerous elements gravitate toward these weapons."

So refreshing to see the aptly named Violence Policy Center retell the same old big lie: dangerous elements somehow "gravitate" toward the .50 caliber rifle.

In point of actual fact, the really big guns are too heavy, bulky, and expensive for criminals, and Islamic terrorist savages seem to prefer bombs.

Goebbels would be so proud!

hotpig
November 25, 2005, 10:43 PM
Illinois legislation in committee right now. It starts with the 50 cal and ends with almost all semi auto rifles and hi cap mags.

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=&SessionId=50&GA=94&DocTypeId=HB&DocNum=2414&GAID=8&LegID=17433&SpecSess=&Session=

jsalcedo
November 25, 2005, 11:01 PM
I really don't know how to take that article.

Yeah I agree Barrett is a good guy who makes good guns.

Was there a point to including so much anti-gun fear mongering rhetoric?

The VPC was micturating throughout the article like an excited poodle.

Justin
November 25, 2005, 11:09 PM
http://www.scottbieser.com/images/Diaz_speaks_700.jpg

Cartoon via Scott Bieser. (http://www.scottbieser.com)

jsalcedo
November 25, 2005, 11:11 PM
Man that cartoon about sums it up.

Mind telling us where you got that gem?

joab
November 25, 2005, 11:12 PM
If it will end the ever increasing problem of planes and trains being taken out by these weapons I'm all for strict regulation.
There should be some type of government form to fill out and background check to pass before being allowed to purchase one.

How many pounds of fertilizer can you buy and how many Rider trucks can you rent for the price of one 6 foot long ,30 pound single shot monstrosity, firing $2 bullets.

Any body here ever shot at a plane,
I imagine it would be hard to put a bullet in just the right place to bring one down.

Justin
November 25, 2005, 11:36 PM
Mind telling us where you got that gem?

Link below the cartoon. :)

jefnvk
November 26, 2005, 12:29 AM
A 1999 investigation by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found the rifles were available on civilian markets with fewer restrictions than those placed on handguns.

They needed a GAO report to tell them that?

Any body here ever shot at a plane,
I imagine it would be hard to put a bullet in just the right place to bring one down.

The army doesn't know what it is doing, you don't really need to hit the airplane more than once to bring it down. Which is why tehre are so many .50 cal MG's to shoot at planes, planes which fly away riddled with holes and don't manage to crash.

I'd imagine the only one-shot-stop to a plane would be to the pilots head.

rick_reno
November 26, 2005, 12:42 AM
See the big gun Jane. See the big gun shoot down the moon Jane.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10207205/

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - When U.S. soldiers need to penetrate a tank's armor from a mile away, they count on a weapon that evolved from the garage tinkering of a former wedding photographer.

The .50-caliber rifle created by Ronnie Barrett and sold by his company, Barrett Firearms Manufacturing Inc., is the most powerful firearm civilians can buy.

It weighs about 30 pounds and can hit targets up to 2,000 yards away with armor-piercing bullets.

That kind of power has drawn a customer base of 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 some state and federal lawmakers have sought to limit or ban the gun's sale, as California did this year.

Background check needed to buy it
Tom Diaz, a senior policy analyst with the Washington-based Violence Policy Center, says the guns should be more regulated and harder to purchase.

The gun can now be bought by anyone 18 or older who passes a background check.

"They're (.50 caliber) easier to buy than a handgun," Diaz said. "These are ideal weapons of terrorist attack. Very dangerous elements gravitate toward these weapons."

The majority of Barrett's sales come from military orders, for armed forces and police departments in some 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, Barrett said.

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

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

Civilian sales are crucial to business because military and police orders can fluctuate year to year, Barrett said.

"It's like, what does a 55-year-old man do with a Corvette? You drive it around and enjoy it," said Barrett, 51, whose customers include doctors, lawyers, movie makers and actors. "I know all the current actors who are Barrett rifle shooters, some Academy Award-winning people. But they don't publicize it. They love to play with them and have fun. Shooting is very fun."

A 1999 investigation by the U.S. General Accounting Office found the rifles were available on civilian markets with fewer restrictions than those placed on handguns.

‘It would destroy most of the meat’
Ammunition dealers were willing to sell armor-piercing bullets even when an agent pretending to be a buyer said he wanted the ammunition for use against armored limousines or "to take a helicopter down."

Other 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 what good a .50-caliber is going to do you," King said. "I don't understand any civilian use of it. 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."

Barrett and gun advocates say the gun's power has been exaggerated and doesn't pose a threat to citizens because the weapons are too expensive and heavy to be used by criminals.

Barrett and other gun advocacy groups heavily lobbied the state of California, the first state to pass a law making it illegal to make and sell the gun.

Several other states and some federal lawmakers have introduced similar legislation.

Sales are up
Despite these efforts, Barrett says sales are up nearly $6 million from last year thanks to recent military and police orders.

The New York City Police Department recently announced it's training officers in its aviation unit to use the rifles, which will be on board some of the department's helicopters to intercept potential attacks from boats or airplanes.

In 2002, the Army placed an order for 4,200 of the guns, Barrett said.

Other manufacturers now make the gun, but Barrett dominates the market.

In the next few years, he said he plans to more than double the current number of employees, 80, and the size of his 20,000-square-foot gun-making facility located in Murfreesboro, about 30 miles southeast of Nashville.

Gun can be shoulder-fired
A lifelong gun enthusiast, Barrett never went to college and worked as a commercial photographer and reserve deputy for years before he started tinkering with the .50-caliber Browning Machine Gun in the early 1980s.

The heavy recoil of the Browning made it nearly impossible to shoot without it being mounted on a turret, but Barrett's rifle reduces recoil to the point where it can be shoulder-fired, while the weapon rests on a bipod.

Barrett says he was nearly $1.5 million in debt at one point trying to get the business on its feet.

He sold his first guns to the military in the late 1980s and the long-range weapons gained popularity after they were used to attack Iraqi tanks in the 1991 war.

Barrett's son, Chris, who works with his sister at their father's business, said he watched his dad build the gun in the family garage and is not surprised by the growth and success of his father's business.

"He's worked hard all his life. I think he would do as well at anything he pursued," Chris Barrett said. "He's not one of these big suits, a CEO at the top of one these big money machines. He's not one to back down. He can make anything work, no matter what he's doing."

MechAg94
November 26, 2005, 01:11 AM
When U.S. soldiers need to penetrate a tank's armor from a mile away....
Just how much steel can a 50 cal penetrate at 5,280 feet?

MechAg94
November 26, 2005, 01:13 AM
"They're (.50 caliber) easier to buy than a handgun," Diaz said. "These are ideal weapons of terrorist attack. Very dangerous elements gravitate toward these weapons."
:D Easier to buy assuming you have several thousand dollars to spend. By "dangerous elements" I think they just mean gun owners in general.

JohnKSa
November 26, 2005, 01:23 AM
Diaz said. "These are ideal weapons of terrorist attack. Very dangerous elements gravitate toward these weapons."The ideal weapons of terrorist attack seem to be suicide bombers from what I see on the news. I don't know of a single instance of a .50cal sniper rifle being used in a terrorist attack, and it's a cinch Mr. Diaz doesn't either.

These days we are plagued by idiots who open their mouths and let the emptiness in their heads escape and by bobble-headed morons who nod in time to any foolishness riding the airwaves.

Preacherman
November 26, 2005, 01:34 AM
Duplicate threads merged.

kjeff50cal
November 26, 2005, 01:36 AM
[quote] MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — When U.S. soldiers need to penetrate a tank's armor from a mile away, they count on a weapon that evolved from the garage tinkering of a former wedding photographer. [quote/]

As a current wedding photographer I can relate. It some times it seems the only thing to stop a Bridezilla :D .

And in light of the article about U.S. gun violence in Canada, jefnvk's signature should read give Canada to Detroit. It should be a short war....:p

kjeff50cal

MechAg94
November 26, 2005, 02:29 AM
Actually, the 50 cal doesn't actually have to hit the plane, a close miss will cause damage and maybe make the engines shut down due to the shock effect. :D :D ;)

ZenMasterJG
November 26, 2005, 02:45 AM
"I don't understand any civilian use of it. 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."


Thats definatly my favorite. I can see it now, hunters about to take down a buffalo from 15 miles away... he fires the barret... the buffalo EXPLODES!! Meat-chunks rain down down upon them.
:rolleyes:

Actually, the 50 cal doesn't actually have to hit the plane, a close miss will cause damage and maybe make the engines shut down due to the shock effect.
Don't forget the exposive decompression, which will tear a giant hole in the plane, though which everyone will be sucked out.

beaucoup ammo
November 26, 2005, 12:08 PM
"These days we are plagued by idiots who open their mouths and let the emptiness in their heads escape and by bobble-headed morons who nod in time to any foolishness riding the airwaves."

Ain't it so..witness the Ditto Heads who worship the Pill Popper.

By "big game" I'd think they must mean... Elephants? Rhinos? Some Asian Ox I've seen would require a powerful weapon..but 50cal? If I had the geet, I'd buy one for sure!

Take Care

afasano
November 26, 2005, 12:13 PM
A long time ago the VPC was calling itself something else and saying that they were only interested in controlling little handguns.

C-grunt
November 26, 2005, 12:34 PM
The .50 cal was invented to hunt todays super animals, like the Duck-billed Platypus and the Flying Squirrel.:evil:

The .50 cal is also GREAT at shooting down airplanes. The sheer size and velocity of these bullets will rip a 747 in half at 30,000 feet with no lead what so ever. In fact if used on a helicopter or Cesna, they completly vaporize!!!!:what:

50caliber123
November 26, 2005, 04:30 PM
I'd buy one in a heartbeat, if I had the cash. One reason, the left-wing doesn't want me to own it. When someone tells me I can't or shouldn't do, own, or have something, knowing that I legally can, I tend to do it. If they had kept their mouths shut, I wouldn't have wanted one. As far as shooting down planes, I think that is an over-exaggeration. And a hole torn into the side of a plane has been tested, there is no way it would suck everyone inside out (see mythbusters). But, when a liberal whose anti-gun argues with me, I just remind them two things: 1. the cartridge is 80-plus years old. Any no crime has ever been committed with one of these awesome weapons. 2. It's the second ammendment. What part of "the right of the people to keep and bare arms shall not be infringed" do they not get? And yes, there was private ownership of cannons back then.

For an even cooler weapon, go to Barrett's weapon products page and check out the XM-109 25x59mm payload rifle. If only civilians could own one...:mad:

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