The Washington Post

One very big gun: Anne Arundel officers can now fire bullets a mile

Imagine a gun that could shoot a bullet a country mile. (Actually, the gun of which I write has a range of an actual mile.)

That’s some serious firepower.

Now imagine who might need a gun like that. A sniper on top of the White House? That would probably make sense. Not long ago, a man was arrested after firing shots at the White House from 750 yards away. The New York City police department? I could see that.

Now what about the Anne Arundel county police?


Think again.

According to The Capital, officers there are the proud new owners of a .50-caliber custom rifle that weighs more than 20 pounds and fires $8 bullets that are six inches long. The only other law enforcement agency in Maryland with a .50-caliber weapon is the state police.

Overkill? Let’s put it this way: Not even Baltimore is interested in a gun so big.

“We don’t need one,” Detective Donnie Moses, a Baltimore police spokesman, told the paper. “We could shoot from one side of the city to the other with one of those.”

Capt. Frederick Plitt, who commands the police department’s special-ops team, defended the gun by noting the county is in between Baltimore and DC and that potential targets such as the National Security Agency are in its borders.

The gun, he said, will only be used in “extraordinary police events.”

“We are here to prepare for the worst,” Plitt said.

Online comments to the story range from: “Would love to shoot it once” to “that is a beautiful rifle but just another example of wasteful spending in the name of homeland security.”

What’s your thought?

Michael Rosenwald is a reporter on the Post's local enterprise team. He writes about the intersection of technology, business and culture.

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