Fixing What Ain’t Broke: Hawaii Seeks to Ban .50-Caliber Guns

by Tommy Grant

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Despite boasting some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, some Hawaii legislators want to make them even stricter, by outlawing firearms that aren’t even a problem, are never used in crime, and honestly, aren’t owned by very many people. They want to ban .50-caliber guns and ammunition.

A .50-caliber round is the largest available to civilians in the country.

Senator Karl Rhoads told KHON2 News that .50-caliber bullets and the guns that shoot them do not belong in civilian hands.

“It’s a sniper rifle. It can kill a person from, I don’t know, a mile and a half away. They’re too heavy to use for hunting,” Rhoads told the news channel.

In an oddly worded defense of the .50 caliber in the same article, Hawaii Rifle Association president Kainoa Kaku was quoted as saying, “They’re generally handguns, like they are across the country, and they’re acquired illegally by people that usually have criminal backgrounds and records and shouldn’t be able to get them anyway. So, what does this accomplish, really? It’s just another law, like all gun laws. They only affect law-abiding citizens.”

Kaku is right on it’s only a law that affects law-abiding citizens. But gun rights supporters can only hope the first part of his quote was somewhat taken out of context as it alluded to basically it is a gun only criminals use, which isn’t accurate at all and is a questionable statement from the head of what should be a pro-gun rights organization!

First off, Rhoads and Kaku are talking about two very different .50-caliber rounds. Rhoads is clearly referring to the .50 BMG (for Browning Machine Gun), which was technically designed as an anti-material round originally designed for stopping armored vehicles from a distance. It’s also capable of taking a low-flying helicopter out of the sky and turning life forms into pink mist.

On that line, Rhoads is correct, the .50 BMG is not a suitable hunting round, but then gun rights and the Second Amendment have never been about hunting. So, his argument misses its mark. The .50 BMG, as a civilian round, is a heck of a lot of fun to shoot and is great for long-range targets of the inanimate sort.

Kaku is referring to firearms chambered for .50 AE, the .500 S&W and others, also large, .50-caliber size projectiles, but with a much shorter bullet and case, meaning much less powder as well. These handgun loads are actually suitable for hunting of large and potentially dangerous game, including hogs, which are found in Hawaii. They are not accurate, or at least not designed for use, out to the distances Rhoads cited. And while recoil can be a beast, people do enjoy shooting big caliber guns the same as people like driving fast, expensive cars or collecting rare stamps they will never put on mail or any number of pursuits where aficionados clamor for the extreme, and more rare objects of their hobby.

Neither the .50 BMG nor any .50-caliber handguns are widely used in crimes. In fact, in a running attempt to refute a 2004 statement from an NRA spokesperson that “The simple fact is that .50-calibers have not been used in crimes.”, the Violence Policy Center lists a long list of criminals and crimes where a .50-caliber was found, but only four cases in the United States, since the early 1990s, where a .50-caliber firearm was actually used to commit a crime…and none of those crimes were in Hawaii.

But then, if anti-gun lawmakers can continue to chip away at gun ownership, in any small, even meaningless, way, they feel vindicated in their efforts at disarming honest Americans.

KHON2 even asked Rhoads why the .50 caliber “should be banned if criminals do not often use them,” a point not even lost on the reporter for the station.

“Because it’s a weapon of war,” Rhoads told the channel. “All these gun bills are drawing lines. There’s a kitchen knife on this side, and there’s a nuclear weapon on this side. So, where is it that you allow civilians to keep having it?”

To a strict 2A constitutionalist, the argument would be the purpose of having these guns are so the people, meaning all citizens, can protect themselves from a tyrannical government. Set in such an argument, the .50-caliber makes more sense than the .22 long rifle cartridge.

With regards to his comparison to nuclear weapons on an interesting historical note, it was near Hawaii that the United States detonated a nuclear weapon in space back in 1962 in the early days of the Cold War with the Soviet Union. The 1.4-ton thermonuclear warhead’s explosion 240 miles above the Pacific Ocean was visible to everyone in the Island State. So, I guess in those terms, Hawaii actually has seen something larger than the .50 BMG used, but not in a crime, in a show of Cold War force.

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Read the full article here

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