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Republican Schwarzenegger signs bill banning high-powered rifle

In a break with most Republican lawmakers, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill banning .50-caliber BMG rifles (manufacturer's website here; see also this Brady Campaign factsheet). The high-powered rifle is used by the military and police to shoot long-range targets. Civilians typically use the guns at firing-ranges and for big-game hunting.

Gun rights advocates argue the ban is unnecessary as the weapon has not been used for one crime in California. However, critics maintain there are no reasonable civilian uses for the rifle. Review the full text of AB 50 as presented to the Governor. Read a California Senate analysis of the bill at its Third Reading here. The NRA campaign site against AB 50, urging Schwarzenegger to veto it, is here. Schwarzenegger also supported the 10-year federal ban on assault weapons which expired on Monday. Reuters has more.

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