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Bill to Ban 50-caliber Weapons Awaits Gov's Action

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. August 16, 2013

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Miller displays disabled 50-caliber rifle
Bryan Miller displays disabled 50-caliber rifle at Statehouse news conference (photo by Phil Gregory)

Gun violence prevention groups are urging Governor Christie to sign a bill that would ban the possession of 50-caliber weapons.

50-caliber automatic rifles are already banned in New Jersey, but single bolt action versions of the weapon are legal.

Bryan Miller is executive director of Heeding God’s Call. He says the 50-caliber rifle is accurate to at least a mile and fires four-inch bullets that can ignite rail tank cars and chemical plants.

 “A gun that can do that kind of damage is totally inappropriate anywhere but particularly in a state that has so many those material targets that this gun is made to destroy including passenger aircraft.”

Miller says Christie should sign the bill to ban those guns.

“The governor has talked so much about domestic security especially he’s been hammering Rand Paul lately about that. If he’s really concerned about domestic security, he has an opportunity to remove this gun from the possibility of civilian purchase and make our state safer.”

New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel says that 50-caliber gun has the potential to cause serious environmental harm.

 “That concern that we have is that with a gun this powerful with military ordinance someone who could just be having fun in the woods shoots one of these things and a mile away it could hit a tanker truck.”

Gun rights groups want Christie to veto the ban. Frank Fiamingo, the president of Second Amendment Society, says the 50-caliber rifle has never been used in a crime in New Jersey. He says the few people who have one use it for target practice at specific ranges.

“Why do we want to assume that if you possess, you’ve trained, and you’ve spent an extensive amount of money on a 50-caliber rifle that you’re a potential threat?”

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