N.J. pushes ban on .50-caliber firearms
By TOM HESTER Jr., Associated Press
TRENTON, N.J. â€" New Jersey is looking to become the second state to outlaw a powerful gun that critics say can be used by terrorists to shoot down an airliner.
Democratic lawmakers and Ceasefire NJ, an antigun group, unveiled a plan on Monday to make it illegal to sell .50 caliber weapons in New Jersey.
California is the only state with a similar law. Maryland strictly regulates the rifle by requiring enhanced background checks and other requirements for its purchase, according to Legal Community Against Violence, a public interest law center that favors gun control.
Supporters argue the guns are inappropriate for civilian use because they can fire armor-piercing rounds that can penetrate and ignite chemical plants, refineries and rail tank cars. The guns, which resemble hunting rifles, are accurate up to 11/2 miles.
â€œThere should be concern post-9/11 that .50 caliber weapons can damage the chemical plants and other vulnerable facilities throughout the state,â€ said Assemblyman Reed Gusciora.
Gusciora said he hopes to see hearings in the coming weeks on banning the weapon, which he said could cause major worries if they fall into the hands of criminal street gangs.
â€œThese guns serve no useful purpose,â€ said Gusciora, D-Mercer.