I continue to hear gun rights activists repeat the statement that the .50 BMG has never been used in a crime. I first heard about this as a claim made by NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, in his book Guns, Freedom, and Terrorism, and it also appeared, IIRC, in his column in American Rifleman. While it would be a boon for our arguments against bans of firearms which chamber this cartridge if that claim were true, it just isn't.
Now in truth, whether a particular object has been used in one or a thousand crimes shouldn't even be a question which is considered as a justification for banning said object. But when the gun-ban bigots raise the issue, most of us respond to it anyway. But when we do, we need to have our facts straight. All of use enjoy catching the other side in their exaggerations and outright lies. A common argument is that if a journalist/senator/activist can't even get the simple facts straight, how can they be trusted with the more complex. But it works both ways, and it can work against us.
My apologies to Publicola for linking to the VPC, but they have a list of criminal uses of the .50 caliber sniper rifle, as they call it. I'm unfamiliar with most of the cases they cite. But as a Coloradan, I saw a lot of coverage of Martin Heemeyer's bulldozer rampage in Granby. I also recall the news coverage of the Albert Petrosky incident I'm uncertain as to whether Petrosky actually fired his .50, particularly whether he killed an officer with it depends upon whom you talk to. And a poster at TFL confirms the Chamblee, GA report. I'm not going to get into the Waco thing, because I don't know whom to believe regarding who shot whom with what.
A lot of the VPC examples constitute mere possession, which of course is enough to get the gun ban crowd's panties all knotted up. And of course we should take anything they say with a large block of salt. But sometimes they do get some fact straight.
We all need to make sure we get our facts straight as well, and also be prepared with our counter-arguments, e.g. that the actions of criminals doesn't justify the abrogation of our fundamental rights.Posted by Jed at May 30, 2005 05:22 PM