story 2U.S. bans lighters on passenger flights
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Airline passengers can no longer bring cigarette lighters onto planes or in any secure areas, the Homeland Security Department announced Monday.
Lighters were added to the prohibited items list because of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, which President Bush signed on Dec. 17.
The Transportation Security Administration, the agency charged with prohibiting dangerous items on aircraft, said lighters will be banned from planes and areas beyond security checkpoints at airports.
"By creating policy to add lighters to the Prohibited Items List we are closing a potential vulnerability in air travel security," said Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security Rear Adm. David M. Stone.
The TSA said butane, absorbed-fuel (Zippo-type), electric/battery-powered and novelty lighters were included in the ban.
The rule will be enforced beginning April 14.
iow, the gun lobby is more powerful than the tobacco lobby..50-caliber rifles called a threat
By Christopher Smith
The Salt Lake Tribune
WASHINGTON - From the headquarters of the Fifty Caliber Shooters Association in the central Utah town of Monroe, John Robertson publishes a magazine for the group's worldwide members extolling the virtues of the most powerful gun available to the public.
With a .50-caliber rifle, an experienced marksman can hit a rock the size of a Volkswagen Beetle from a distance of two miles. The gun can drop a bull moose dead in its tracks even after the bullet passes through a 5-inch-diameter tree branch. And a shot from the gun will pierce anything from a 3 1/2 -inch-thick manhole cover to a 600-pound safe or a stack of cinder blocks.
While enthusiasts revel in the gun's next-zip-code range and staggering impact velocity, those same features have some members of Congress declaring it a menace to national security.
"They are so accurate, so powerful and so deadly that they should only be used in a military setting," Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., said this week on Capitol Hill, where he and other lawmakers introduced legislation to restrict sales of the gun made by several companies, including two from Utah.
Around a news conference table set with one of the bazooka-like rifles, Moran, the bill's Democratic co-sponsors, gun-control advocates and law enforcement officials discussed various potential terrorist scenarios using the gun, from shooting down airliners to detonating chemical weapons.
"If one of these weapons were used to puncture a rail car carrying a hazardous substance like chlorine gas, it would be catastrophic," said Moran, whose bill would require federal licensing of .50-caliber owners, similar to existing laws for machine gun owners.
The bill's chances of passage in a Republican dominated Congress are slim. All of Utah's federal lawmakers have at least a "B-plus" pro-gun voting record by the National Rifle Association and those House members contacted Friday said they had yet to see Moran's bill and had no comment on it.
Tom Diaz of the gun-control group Violence Policy Center said such charges are hypocritical coming from an industry that has fostered a paramilitary image for the .50-caliber.
"I've got several books marketed by these enthusiast groups and their 'sniper schools' that lay out elaborate scenarios of attacking airfields and shooting down helicopters, showing you exactly where to shoot to knock it down," said Diaz. "Yes, nobody has ever been killed by these things. But does that mean we can't have a public policy until people become better shots and hit a fully loaded jetliner on a taxiway?"