January 10, 2005

Jean-Baptiste Lully's Spirit Lives On In The Firearms Industry

Jean-Baptiste Lully was a 17th century composer who stabbed himself in the foot with his conducting staff & died from complications (gangrene).

FreedomSight has a piece on a 60 Minute story concerning those evil .50 rifles. From CBS News.com we find Big Rifle A Terrorist Tool?

Jed does a find job pointing out some of the factual errors as does Ravenwood.

There's something I would like to point out. Coming from the CBS News.com article I found the following:

"This is exactly what the FBI learned in 1993 at Waco when Branch Davidians fired a Barrett .50-caliber sniper rifle at them.
In response, the FBI deployed Bradley fighting vehicles for protection. But even that wasn’t sufficient, and heavier armor was brought in.
What happened at Waco was one of the arguments made for banning the weapon in California. Other states are now considering a similar ban for fear of potential terrorist attacks."

Now if I recall correctly the Davidians did not use a .50 in their defense against the federal assault at Waco. If they had I'd have called it at least one self defense use of the .50 in recent times. Unless I remember incorrectly this is simply an old myth being drudged up again by an ignorant press. But even if it was true you should now see the real reason certain groups want the .50 banned: it's too effective at defense against government troops.

Now here's the really interesting part:

"But New York City’s Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says the .50-caliber rifle is in a class by itself. He agreed to show 60 Minutes just how powerful the .50 caliber is.
First, a police sharpshooter fired the NYPD’s own .30 caliber sniper rifle at a steel target. Downrange, three football fields away, the three shots from the .30 caliber rifle bounced off the half-inch thick steel.
'You can see it hasn’t penetrated it,] says Kelly.
Then the sharpshooter fired three rounds from a Barrett .50-caliber rifle at the same target.
'Went right through,' says Kelly. 'It is clearly a weapon of war, a round to be used in a wartime situation. It’s appropriate for the military. The effective range is about 2,000 yards. It’s a very formidable weapon.'
In other words, if the NYPD’s range had been 20 football fields long, instead of three, the .50-caliber rifle – firing ordinary ammunition -- still would have been devastatingly effective.
'Clearly, it is a very powerful weapon. We saw what it could do as far as going through armor,' says Kelly. 'It would be a weapon that could do a lot of damage – no question about that."
(emphasis in original)

Now think about this for a minute - who is arguing that a .50 rifle has no use outside the military? A city's police department which happens to own at least one. Ever been to NYC? Can you imagine any situation where a .50 could be used or would be preferable to a .30 ? Yet they own one & are saying that we peasants shouldn't because they have no non-martial use.

But that's not what struck me. They own one, therefore they were sold one. Odds are they'll be sold more & of many different types of weapons. Why?

Why the hell are the gun companies selling to government agencies that want to ban their products? Isn't that a little like a Cherokee helping out Georgia & the feds map out the Trail of Tears?

Again from the CBS News.com article:

"Even though the .50-caliber rifle is a military-grade weapon, federal gun laws treat it like any other hunting rifle, and Barrett can sell the gun to civilians. He says he needs to, because military sales vary widely from year to year.
'If it weren’t for the civilian sales, I wouldn’t be here. There’s a lot of defense contractors that would not be here,' says Barrett.
He has sold thousands of .50-caliber rifles to private citizens who, he says, want the guns for target shooting and big game hunting."

Military sales alone would starve any gun maker. That's a fact. Police sales are probably a bit more lucrative but I'd wager that there aren't enough to make up for a loss of the civilian market. Yet gun makers & dealers sell guns to the very agencies which enforce bans on their product.

NYC, Chicago, D.C. - they all have an almost complete ban on firearms possession by their citizens. Yet gun makers & dealers still do business with them. That's what I call selling yourself out of business.

Gun makers don't have a great history of supporting the Right to Arms. But you'd think that at least they'd have enough of a sense of self preservation to realize that selling guns to groups that want to ban civilian sales isn't a good business move.

Now I've been called idealistic at times & I admit that there's a few things I'd like to see happen that have a slim chance of ever being realized. But for the life of me I cannot fathom the politics behind gun manufacturers & sellers doing business with governments who want to effectively put them out of business.

If I owned a gun company or shop I'd write a very concise letter to any & all government agencies to inform them that there's no way in hell they'd do business with me while they're denying my product to the people in their jurisdictions. With the feds that could e problematic since the feds determine who gets the licenses to do business in the first place. Now that may have something to do with the gun makers doing their trade with certain government agencies. In fact I hope it is because I can't think of any other valid reason to sell guns to agencies that want them banned.

If you're in Denver or NYC or Chicago or D.C. the next time you go to your local gun store do me a favor: simply ask the owner of the store why he/she would do business with governments that ban their product? I'm curious as to what answers you'll hear.

Posted by Publicola at January 10, 2005 04:42 AM

Check out the restrictions on this exterior ballistics program.

Posted by: Joe Huffman at January 10, 2005 05:02 AM

Joe: Heh.

I have no recollection of hearing about a .50 at Waco either. Wouldn't surprise me if it were true though.

Posted by: jed at January 10, 2005 01:17 PM

I vaguely recall seeing a letter on the Barrett website stating that Ronnie Barrett would no longer service his .50s to any Cali gov't agency until the ban is lifted. It's nice to see that he's willing to stand with us.

Posted by: howard at January 10, 2005 04:27 PM

I recall the same letter from Barrett. However, please note it relates to service. For sales Barrett, like pretty much every other firearms manufacturer, is dependent on distributors. It would be nice to see some of them refuse to do business with some of the gun-grabber government agencies, too!

Posted by: cp at January 11, 2005 12:35 AM

A city police dept with a .50 caliber, long range, anti-material rifle. Average long range shot for a police sniper runs around 100yards. So this is really to penetrate a vehicle or knock it out, or blow a hole through brick or cinderblock. You could get some nice spall on the inside of a concrete wall or even a piece of armor that wasn't penetrated completely. So exactly what does the police dept need it for? Too bad CBS left that question out. If it is to precisely engage citizens behind cover, why not just buy an M2HB?

Posted by: Outlaw3 at January 11, 2005 09:38 AM
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