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News Release House of Representatives seal

Representative Jim Moran      
Congress United States

 Eighth District of Virginia

For Immediate Release:

  Contact: Austin Durrer

June 16, 2005


Moran Offers Amendment to Stop Export of Weapons of Terror


Washington, D.C., June 16th - Congressman Jim Moran, Virginia Democrat, today offered an amendment during consideration of the FY '06 Science, State, Justice and Commerce Appropriations bill (H.R. 2862) that would prevent terrorists from getting 50 caliber sniper rifles through U.S. export.  Unfortunately, the amendment was not agreed to due to opposition from the National Rifle Association (NRA).

"U.S. export policy should not be arming terrorists," said Moran.  "We know that in recent years, al Qaeda has purchased around two dozen of these weapons.  Given this gun's enormous knockdown power and accuracy from more than a mile away, we shouldn't be exporting them to organizations that could be front groups for terror organizations."

The manufacturer of one of the most popular versions of this weapon has publicly advertised that the cost-effectiveness of the weapon "Cannot be overemphasized when a round of ammunition purchased for less than 10 U.S. dollars can be used to destroy or disable a modern jet aircraft." 

The Moran 50 Caliber Amendment would prohibit the export of 50 caliber sniper rifles to any non-governmental entities.  Foreign militaries and law enforcement agencies would be exempt. 

"Opponents of this amendment would rather protect the interests of target shooters in South Africa than protect our service men and women stationed in other parts of the globe.  We know terrorists, war lords and drug cartels want these guns, my amendment would help ensure they don't get them."

The U.S. Army handbook on urban combat states that 50 caliber sniper rifles are intended for use as anti-materiel weapons, designed to attack bulk fuel tanks and other high-value targets from long distances, using "their ability to shoot through all but the heaviest shielding material."

Congressman Moran has had serious concerns about the dangers posed by the 50 caliber sniper rifle.  He is also the author of legislation titled the "50 Caliber Sniper Rifle Reduction Act," (H.R. 654) which would require 50 calibers currently in circulation to be registered under the National Firearms Act and prohibit commercial sales of the weapon. 



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