The Barrett M82 sniper rifle, and its newer cousin the M107, fire immense six inch bullets and are capable of killing a man standing nearly a mile and a half from the shooter. It was designed to take out military jets and helicopters — and can be just as effective against police helicopters. And, thanks to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), it is still legal in his state.
Christie waited until after 6pm on Friday — when most journalists had gone home for the weekend and many voters were already on their way to the beach — to announce his decision to veto a ban on these weapons. Christie’s veto of this ban on Barrett .50 caliber semi-automatic rifles is also at odds with Christie’s own call for a ban on the sale of Barrett .50 caliber semi-automatic rifles. He called for such a ban last April.
The New Jersey governor claims he vetoed the bill because it went further than he would have preferred — the bill he vetoed would have banned new sales of these military-grade firearms and prohibited current owners from keeping these rifles. But it is difficult to escape the impression that Christie had something else in mind when the unsheathed his veto pen. A group called Pro-Gun New Hampshire rallied out-of-state gun supporters to push Christie to veto the bill, telling them to tell Christie that “you’re watching with 2016 in mind.”
Whatever Christie’s reason for vetoing this bill, the result is that an immensely dangerous weapon will remain in civilian hands. To put in perspective just how powerful a .50 caliber rifle is, the bullet on the right in this picture is a .50 caliber round. The much smaller one on the left is a .223 round such as the ones fired by the U.S. military’s standard-issue M-16 assault rifles:
These bullets are capable of tearing through steel plates, car doors, body armor, or bullet proof glass. Here, for example is video of a .50 caliber round punching a fist-shaped hole in 2.5 inches of such glass: