By ROSE FRENCH
MURFREESBORO — 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, asCalifornia 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.
Maybe Mr. Diaz should consider moving to China. My neck of the woods rings with the sound of gunfire year-round. It's the sound of Freedom!
2000 yards? Uh, yeah, that could easily take down an airplane if it hits in the right spot.
Well I didn't know that but I'm glad you told me because I've heard that terrorists sometimes use airplanes and so it's good to know we are prepared.