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We’ve been tracking – on and off – the growing number of gun makers and related companies that have decided to tell New York State law enforcement and other government entities to stick their business where the sun don’t shine since the SAFE Act was signed into law. seems to have the unofficial official list, now up to 142 participants. A few churlish commenters, though, have noted that some (most?) of the companies announcing that they won’t take one red cent from the Empire State probably never did any bidness with them anyway. Well here’s one – Serbu Firearms – that actually had a chance to tell someone from Bloomberg’s Army who wanted their rifle to take a long hike off a short pier. Check out the email exchange Mark Serbu had with a member of the NYPD Firearms and Tactics Section, as posted on Serbu’s MyFace page after the jump . . .

On 03/18/2013 01:24 PM, XXXXXXXX wrote:
> Mr. Serbu,
> My name is XXXXXXXX. I am assigned to the NYPD Firearms and Tactics Section. I have been directed to research a new semi-automatic .50 caliber platform for my department.
> Two weeks ago I spoke to Deanne at your office regarding the possibility of obtaining one of your rifles for test and evaluation.
> If you would please get back to me either way regarding this proposal I would appreciate it.


Yes, I got the message and tried to return the call but got no answer. I appreciate your interest in our BFG-50A; I’m sure it would be an excellent addition to your department’s arsenal. Unfortunately, we have a policy of selling to state law enforcement agencies only what is allowed to be sold to private citizens in that state. Since the passage of the NY SAFE act, the BFG-50A is considered an assault weapon and as such is no longer available to private citizens in the state of New York. Therefore we have to respectfully decline to supply your department with BFG-50A rifles.

Mark Serbu


I feel bad because I’d love to get my rifle into as many police departments as possible…who doesn’t want their law enforcement agencies armed with the best possible tools to take out the bad guys? I heard a rumor that the only other company with a .50 BMG semi-auto rifle in production won’t sell to NY police agencies either. So because of a stupid law the venerable NYPD won’t have the best tools for the job….


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    • Beat me to it. It’s to neutralize hard targets like vehicles like tanks and buildings… like the ones used by street gangs in New York… wait… that’s doesn’t sound right.

      I don’t pretend to be an operator, but why would a civilian law enforcement agency need the range and destructive power of the .50 BMG, an anti-material weapon designed for the battlefield?

      Or if I were to take the up the tactics of the anti-gunners, I don’t know what I’m taking about but I don’t understand why anyone needs a .50 BMG.

      • They are effective against light aircraft and helicopters. I’m pretty sure that is the intended use.

        • So where in NYC is shooting down a helicopter or a plane a good idea? I don’t see a legitimate use for a .50 bmg anything in the arsenal of a police department at any location in America.

          If they need a .50 bmg anything often enough to justify the expense, training and risk maybe it’s time to talk about having the military on standby to assist the cops.

          And if they can’t prove a pressing need to have the military on standby they don’t need .50 bmg anything.

        • Another falsehood. Unless you hit a vital component, a single shot from a .50 cal is NOT going to knock an aircraft out of the sky.

    • whether or not this seems like a legitimate reason is not for me to say, but as i recall our local county police department claiming they needed with the following rationale:

      “The county Police Department first seriously considered purchasing a .50-caliber rifle in late 2010. Plitt explained last week the location of Anne Arundel County between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore called for the addition of the high-powered weapon.

      “We are in the hub right here,” he said, noting the proximity of Fort George G. Meade, the National Security Agency, BWI Thurgood International Airport and several other potential terrorist targets.

      The problem, Plitt explained, was that the department had few options if a terrorist tried to drive a truck bomb into a local building. County snipers – there are about a dozen – routinely carry .308-caliber rifles. The guns are powerful and accurate, but not great at stopping a runaway truck.

      One shot from a .50-caliber rifle, however, can take out a vehicle’s engine, according to Sgt. Jim Phillips, a leader of one of the county’s Quick Response Teams.

      “You’ve got a little league pitcher and a major league pitcher,” said Phillips, comparing a .308 rifle to a .50-caliber rifle.

      Plitt stressed last week the gun would only be pulled out for “extraordinary police events” – like a terrorist attack. It will not be deployed for more routine hostage stand-offs and bank robberies.

      “It’s not an anti-personnel gun,” he said.”

      that said, every other agency in the state that’s not the State Police has decided they DON’T need a .50 BMG rifle, so you tell me.

      • So the government is just going to have a sniper with a .50 cal on scene when someone decided to drive a truck bomb into a building? What a load of BS!

    • Exactly, Trevor. Why do second responders need that much firepower? Who are they at war with?

    • More likely then not they want one for long range shots across tarmacs in case an airliner is taken hostage and they need to take a shot through the plane’s windscreen.

    • Yeah, my question also. I don’t think any Municipal police department should have access to a weapon like that. Too many scared trigger happy cops out there (Dorne chase).

    • It really, really raises my hackles when someone in government poses the question why do I “need” such-and-such gun. It’s my right under the Constitution and I don’t have to justify why I “need” it. The wonderful irony is that NYPD has no 2nd Amendment rights, so it should have to justify every single bit of its armament. AND KUDOS TO SERBU FOR PUTTING ITS MONEY WHERE ITS MOUTH IS!!

    • .50 BMG rifles are considered anti-materiel rifles. SWAT teams keep them on hand in case they need to penetrate a armored vehicle or dispatch an assailant behind cover. Look up Killdozer and other videos where criminals get armored cars or the like. Anybody that asks why anybody in this country should own any weapon needs to leave. We all have the rights to own whatever weapon we want. If I want an M2 .50 machine gun on my roof because it makes me happy, I should be able to have it. Its not a matter of need, its a matter of CAN.

      • Generally, I like what you are saying, the spirit of it anyway, but how will “the right to own whatever weapon we want” work when a graduate physics student decides to put together an atom bomb in his basement? Do we accept the risk that he won’t level a city block or two, or even a city?

        Personally, I would be happy if we could hold onto the right to own semi-autos and less rapid-loading firearms of any caliber 50 or under, so long as the police were limited to the same kinds of weapons and the same kinds of armor that any citizen could buy. We just can’t keep up in terms of armaments to the military which spends hundreds of billions each year on designing, building, and maintaining weapons of mass destruction.

        As one of my favorite authors, Edward Abbey, wrote, “The tank, the B-52, the fighter-bomber, the state-controlled police and military are the weapons of dictatorship. The rifle is the weapon of democracy.”

        I think that is true.

        He went on (which I’m posting just because you might enjoy it):

        “Not for nothing was the revolver called an “equalizer.” Egalite implies liberte. And always will. Let us hope our weapons are never needed — but do not forget what the common people of this nation knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny.”

          • “A 50cal is a Firearm An A- Bomb is a weapon of mass distruction 2 different categories”

            Agreed, but the comment was that all “weapons” should be permitted. The Second Amendment says “arms,” not “firearms,” and so there is room for discussion as to which arms are covered by that amendment. That’s all I was saying. If we sound too extremist and fail to recognize that some arms are unacceptable in private hands, then we sound kind of crazy. Even firearms can’t be taken off the table for discussion. I doubt many of us would argue for the private ownership of howitzers, lobbing multi-ton projectiles dozens of miles away. Those are chemically-propelled “firearms.” What I’m saying is that we need an agreed-upon “line in the sand.” We will not agree to give up AR-15s, but we don’t require private arms that can hurl massive shells into nearby cities. And there probably things in-between that we might wish to take off the table. I personally don’t want to see rocket launchers sold at Walmart.

    • For you guys asking why NYPD wants a .50 BMG: Anti-materiel. Immobilize a vehicle from 100 yards away during a standoff, destroy a potential bomb from a distance, etc.

      Good work Serbu throwing the SAFE act act back in their faces.

    • Not the main point certain states consider certain rifles and other firearms as assualt weapons mark serbu is saying if we can’t sell it to your states civilians y should u be allowed to be privileged with our firearms you made the rules

  1. I don’t know if Mark is a TTAG reader but as a shooter in NYC who isn’t a cop, I appreciate the support.

  2. What the hell do the police need .50 cal rifles for? Unlike citizens who have an obligation to defend the country, the police are o ly supposed to enforce the law. There is no scenario I can imagine where that type do rifle is needed by them.

    • Sometimes you find insurgents are entrenched behind thick walls of a compound and a .50 cal is the only way to punch through the walls and create some exposure. Special incendiary rounds with detonation timers can be used as well to punch through and explode on the other side, eliminating the threat. Overwatch positions from about a mile away also extends the operating range of a single recon unit to cover far more area.

      Oh I’m sorry, I though we were talking about the military in Afghanistan because the Police have no practical reason to use a .50 cal. Perhaps that is why police departments across the nation are claiming they are “outgunned”, unless they have a full armory of .50 cals and armored cars to get around they can’t be certain.

    • I’ve heard .50 cals are excellent for disabling vehicles. 1 or 2 rounds fired into the engine block stops the engine pretty quick.

      • Except a 5.56 or 7.62 also does the job without going through the other side and through just about everything else.

        • The 5.56 is going to be iffy for that, especially if you use frangible or soft point rounds.

          There are, as you note, 30 caliber rounds that will do that job just fine.

        • I wouldn’t want to depend on a 5.56 to stop any engine except maybe my Briggs & Stratton at close range. It doesn’t start half the time anyway.

      • True. But that’s assuming that the sharpshooter is in position before the driving starts. They’re popular at roadblocks but we have this pesky thing called the Constitution that, for the most part, prohibits those.

        The only thing I can think of where a .50 bmg would be useful for a cop is from the door of a heli during a prolonged high speed chase through a populated area where the risk of collateral damage is high and the car has to be stopped asap. Even then however, you still run into the problem of firing a .50 bmg from the door of a helicopter in a heavily populated area. It would be cheaper and safer, for the dept and bystanders, to just put a couple of 5.56 into the radiator and let the car over-heat. Or Idk, train your officers to PIT.

        • LAPD shot up a truck 102 times and only managed to wound one of the 2 occupants. clearly the NYPD is learning from their mistakes and moving to bigger rounds

    • Actually they are to “keep the peace”; laws are one of the tools given to them as are their badge and gun, to enable them to keep said peace. They have NO Constitutional authority as law enforcers.

    • Mark bloomberg is a communist pig and can stick his SAFE act policy “where the sun does not shine”

  3. Quote: “So because of a stupid law….”

    I would suggest that this person from “NYPD Firearms and Tactics Section” take the conversation to the asshat’s in the state legislature who passed the law and the bigger asshat governor who signed it!

  4. Well why on earth does the NYPD need a weapon of war? When will they require the need to blow the limbs and heads off of people? What will they ask for next, bazookas and tanks?
    The only thing a police officer should have is a billy-club, like those in the peaceful UK.

    • Yeah, about those bobbies in merry olde England.30 years ago you would have been correct about the billy, now it is more likely to be a select-fire H&K MP5. Not quite as peaceful since they disarmed their law abiding citizens.

      • Armed police here seem to be steadying up on semi-auto H&K G36 rifles, FWIW, though they’re still very rare sights outside airports and Westminster.

        And sadly, we armed citizens were so few and so hedged about with rules that disarming us made no difference either way.

  5. They need a 50Cal for all the Big Gulp Bandits running around NYC it’s an Assualt Cup, Using a high capacity magazine filled with 44oz of sugar…

  6. Why do the police need a .50 caliber cannon? It’s crazy. This is no way to fire the .50 inside the city without hurting bystanders. A .308 Remington 700 should be good enough.

  7. Venerable:
    Accorded a great deal of respect, esp. because of age, wisdom, or character: “a venerable statesman”.

    I question the application of this adjective to the NYPD…

  8. “Since the passage of the NY SAFE act, the BFG-50A is considered an assault weapon” The NYPD prefer the term “high powered rifle” as long as it is in the hands of a police officer who can’t hit the broad side of a barn or tell the difference between a large man and two elderly women with newspapers, so I’m sure they would appreciate you not calling it an assault weapon.

  9. If the NYPD really want’s a .50 cal sniper rifle, why don’t they just send an officer to a gun show and purchase one from a private seller? Supposedly, that’s a very easy way to acquire any type of firearm in the U.S…

  10. Well, thank goodness! Why would a police force of any kind need access to such a horrid gun? I mean, really! Guns, guns, guns, you gun-clingers and your damn guns! Criminals need dialogue and counseling, not guns in their faces! Someone fetch me a tissue, I’m getting all weepy here.

    Criminals are just misunderstood! There’s no such thing as a “bad person” – there’s only good people with bad ideas! I say these police need to invest that money they would have spent on such a terrible gun and put it towards more social workers/psychologists on staff.

    Yes. Yes, indeed.

    /sarc off

      • The BMG 50 cal cartridge was designed by Browning in the 1900’s right after the 1919 30 cal machine gun. This was later designed by Ronnie Barett, to use the same round in a semi auto snipper platform rifle. The 50 BMG stands fr 50 cal Browning Machine Gun. Its alot of fun, I he a couple, its a rich mans sport I hardly ever shoot them, with ammo about 10 dollars a rnd right now, up from 3 to 5 a round. heuse of this cartridge was orginaly designed for light armor targets, sch as APC’s and HalfTrcks The snipper system used against hard and soft targets out to 1 mile, and sometimes a little further. There are special rounds for special targets, I really cant get into that info, kinda hush hush. But the standard rnd is a 685 grain to 750 grain bullet travling 2500 FPS, depending on action, barrel length, baromic pressure, temp, and angle of the barrel, and elevation. If NYPD wanted one of these, they would use only as a hard taret weapons system, anotherwards no humman targets. There wouldnt be enough left to scrape into a bag otherwise.

        • Uh David, I was in the Army, I know what a 50 BMG is! My question was about the BFG-50A, and what the B F G stood for!

      • Okay guys, and gals…You ever ried to stop an 1 wheeler with 80000 thousand pounds coming down the road at you?? Ive seen M60,s and 240BRAVO’s shoot 200 rnds full auto at one, NO STOPPING IT!! If your SWAT there is need to be able to stop an armored or hard target, its that simple. And I used one over in the sand box, and fired in my overwatch position while troops where advancing. Some one had to take out the fucks with mortars and rockets. And they make rounds that fragment and come apart as soon as they contact. Would it be a wasteof money, yeah until you needed it!!

  11. Lets not become asshat anti 50BMG guys, Not here. Your asking them why they need a 50, is the same as thim asking us the same shit!! I commend all the manufactures saying SORRY, NO DICE. WE WANT TO KEEP NY SAFE!! LOL Government, and state contracts make companies, and for them to tell a contractor to PISS OFF, takes alot of BALLS! I heard Barrett told them the same thing, sure will sell you guys a semi 50BMG, as soon as you get ride of that bullshit safe act. Its not to much fun when the shoes on the other foot, is it NYPD??? Wait till they try in get armor, or Glocks as soon as there contract expires…No more goodies for the states goin against our BILL OF RIGHTS!!! And thats the way it should be, let NYPD go back to there 38 spl 6 shots that have bin stored away since the went Glock. You are goin to see a huge trend start to stop selling guns and equipment to the government and states not supporting the PEOPLE!! They have bit off more than they can chew, now let them CHOKE ON IT!!

    • “Your asking them why they need a 50, is the same as them asking us the same sh*t!!”

      I agree with your overall point BUT unless the police have a marksmanship sports team that is not funded by the tax payers, I see no need for them to have this. New York City is not Falluja where what is beyond your target is likley to be more targets.

    • Actually, that’s not true. The police work for the people and spend the people’s money. They should only be purchasing what they need to do their jobs. It is perfectly valid for a citizen to question money spent by the government whether it is for a sniper rifle or a pencil.

    • “Your asking them why they need a 50, is the same as thim asking us the same shit!!”

      No, it is not.

      It is my (our) job to tell the government what they can and can’t do, what they need and don’t need.

      It is not their job to tell me what I can and can’t have, and what I do and don’t need.

      If we citizens wish to tell the government–at ANY level “No”, then it’s NO.

    • In the United States of America, it is the right and duty of the people to ask why a government agency needs weapons or power. The government, on the other hand, is restricted by the Constitution from being able to ask that same question.

      We, the people, need to limit and restrict government power. The government has no business restricting us in similar ways.

  12. I question the “test & Evaluation” statement. It more likely means “We have ammo and want to play!!”

  13. After being foiled in its attempt to secure a .50BMG rifle, the NYPD will now try to purchase yellowcake uranium powder from an undisclosed African nation.

  14. In Baghdad we didn’t use .50 because of the collateral damage threat. Of course that was while conducting military operations, in a war, not conducting law enforcement in an American city.

    • I knew some guys who said they fired Mk 19s at less than 100m because even though the round wouldn’t fuse (standoff distance) it would knock a hole the size of a softball through a compound wall. I don’t know if that is true,

      I do know we had a Mk19 ND at the gate of Camp Slayer (South Victory, now) while I was on tower guard and it punched through the curtain wall around the camp with no problem at all.

  15. Why would ANY civilian police department require a .50 cal? Its military uses are obvious, however I am hard pressed to see where blowing through a wall one cannot see through is beneficial to police use. If one cannot see beyond a wall one may be unable to ascertain who is beyond the wall, risking killing or injuring those who may not be bad guys. The public should not be put at risk by haphazard use of TRUE weapons of war. On the flip side-civilian use of the .50 BMG is pretty much only long range target shooting, and the ammo required is rather expensive, limiting its use to smaller numbers of people. Furthermore-when was the last time it was used criminally? it is large and cumbersome not exactly the first choice when a criminal requires a firearm to do his “work”.

  16. I am an army guy. We all like the xm 110 but it is nowhere near as accurate as an m24. I have never actually shot one but some of my battle buddies from my first tour had since gone back and used the 50 for destroying IEDs from a safe standoff. I’m merely a designated marksman, but most of my sniper friends detest the .50 for its lack of accuracy and obscene weight penalty. And other than in an anti-armor role I can’t imagine a reason for the police to need one of these.

    Anyway kudos to these folks for giving NY the finger.

    • If you ever get a chance to shoot one of Serbu’s .50s, do give it a try. I think you’ll find the accuracy better than some of the Barrett offerings.

      • Maybe they need to contact Barrett Firearms for an “inferior” T&E version….no wait, that won’t wok either…

    • .408 CheyTac is a much better AMR round than .50 BMG. That said, it’s hard to argue with something that will go through a BMP the long way (APIT/SLAP).

      • Depending on your objective, there’s generally a superior ‘modern’ replacement for .50 BMG. Most of what I like about the round is it’s ubiquity.

        Present panic-buying shortage aside, if things ever do go sideways, the stuff one will be most likely to ‘find’ out there will 5.56, 9, .22, .50, 12ga and what not.

    • Nah that would be copyright infringement!! Now if it could shoot room clearing wads of green plasma then you could call it the BFG9000!!!
      Such a fun game!!!
      Give the NYPD the chainsaws and see how they do with them first.

      • ‘Best Doom mod I ever saw replaced the sound effect of the BFG firing with a file of Sam Kinison screaming. The computer went “Oh-OOOOOOOH!!! and everything in front of you died.

  17. I think no one should sell anything to a city with a random “stop and frisk” policy, which is an obvious and dangerous violation of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches.

    Anyway, when I win the lottery and can buy a couple 50 caliber rifles, I’ll buy one from Serbu and one from Barrett.

  18. Legitimate police use: taking out a hardened target such as – what? A stolen APC, maybe. Stolen from the police, most likely.

    Legitimate personal use: defending your family when SRS comes for your kids because you don’t attend church.

    (Yes, this has happened in this century in western Kansas. Yes, I live in eastern Kansas. No, not my kids.)

    Illegitimate use: point it through the rear window of a Volvo and the armored car behind you will follow your directions without argument.

    Useful little bugger, what?

  19. I now see why a lot of you have a fear of weapons.
    You have no clue what you are talking about and figure that gives you the right to administer “expert” opinions on what people who DO know what they are talking about do or do not need (smh)

  20. The idea that they would know enough in advance to be ahead of and in the path of a truck carrying explosives is ridiculous. If you knew that much about the truck and the path it was GOING to follow, then you’d just arrest them before they got in the damn truck.
    If they would have said, we needed a 50 cal. because we’re concerned about the DHS’s purchases of 2,700 armored vehicles and 2 billion rounds of ammo! then they’d have had a sympathetic ear. Personally, I think they act without wisdom and virtue when they get together with these weapons. They revere the process and escalation more than they think about the morality of the actions. Waco, Ruby Ridge, and countless other incidents that went unseen are the examples of why these departments need limits.

  21. This one is simple… They need it to counter the almost 3000 armored vehicles that the DHS is buying. I can see a criminal, or the DHS using these illegally. :^D

  22. So, let me get this straight. A group of people are saying that another group of people should not have access to certain weapons. And those who can not get access to those weapons are pissed off/paranoid/insulting others. Now we have it another way, that another group of people is saying that a different group of people should not have access to certain weapons. Both sound the same…because they are. Don’t be hypocrites.

    • It’s a bit different, isn’t it? We’re paying their salaries. I don’t think anyone here wants to dictate what someone can or can’t own as a private citizen. But police departments wasting my tax money on unnecessary garbage they don’t want us to own kind of pisses me off.

      Way to miss the difference, Shawn.

      Take R’s advice.

  23. the 50 cal was used all through WWII for anti-aircraft. Almost all of the US’s airplanes had 6 of them in the wings. I’m guessing it would be great on high altitude drone strikes. Where only one hit would do the job.

  24. Text for the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution, aka TheTruthAboutGuns Amendment:

    The militia of the National Guard of the United States, and all local, state, and federal law enforcement personnel operating within the United States of America and its territories, shall possess no weapons, ammunition, or related materials not also available to American civilians for legal purchase and private possession.

  25. Kudos to Serbu and apparently Barrett, based on Mr. Serbu’s comments above, for standing on principle. I cannot envision any situation where a police department, especially in a cramped municipality, would have need of weapon with an effective targetting range in excess of a mile, especially not with the ability to rip a man in half with a single shot. Think of the potential for collateral damage. A 30.06 or a 308 have a range of a half mile anyway, and plenty of knock down power. If they have to deploy a specially trained sniper and grab one of these out of the department gun locker, just to stop a truck bomber headed for the court house, then they have time to deploy tack strips and barricades as well.

  26. Well if things should change, Serbu should supply it to police departments with two shot clip’s! Why should government’s have so much of an advantage over we the people?

  27. Ha Ha Ha – you know they don’t give a damn what any of you think, in fact cops (they like to think of themselves as ‘operators’) view all of us as the enemy and don’t forget it – I know.

  28. I always love it when the bullies get bullied. Doesn’t feel so good on the other end does it NYPD?

  29. What we need is a list of the gun manufactuers that sell to them and all gun owners should boycott them,I am sure public gun sales out number sales to New York City law enforcment I would!!!!

    • “What we need is a list of the gun manufactuers that sell to them”

      Yep. That would be easier than figuring out who doesn’t…probably.

  30. I agree no to the NYC police dept they would not have enough training to learn to use them, i also do not think many officers should have full auto maby 11 a sargent or higher in SWAT bet a regular beat cop a ar 15 is more than enough and nypd beat cops should go back to wheel guns they tend to fire the full mag all the time
    rumor is blooming idiot mayor wont let them train too much

  31. Mike Bloomberg is a communist pig and can stick his SAFE act policy up “where the sun does not shine”.

  32. Actually there are a lot of reasons why that need and must have a .50 rifle. The problem is the perception generated on the television and most news articles written by people who know nothing about ballistics, hydrostatic shock, cross sectional density, ballistic coefficient, retained mass at impact, retained velocity at impact, retained kinetic energy at impact, primary and secondary wound channel, horizontal dispersion, range of motion, rate of motion, duration of motion, and much more which determines the time of flight to the target and how well the impact will serve against the target. It’s not like on TV where the shot is from across the street as you may have a minimum of a 600 yard stand off distance to be able to see the source of the problem. Given that standard most light rifles the police use are already in need of close to 10 feet of drop and that does not allow for wind compensation. Now add the problem of Transonic destabilization and you have yet another factor to consider. For all those who keep asking why they need one that fact that you don’t know what to ask suggests you have no idea how to use one or why it is important.

  33. Very sad that you decide to blame the NYPD for a law they had nothing to do with. I was planning on purchasing one of your rifles but after leaving my fellow brothers in blue abandoned, I think I will look elsewhere.

  34. Yes! This is what I like to hear! I’m definitely going to buy a serbu for this reason alone. Don’t get me wrong I support our law enforcement and I have the upmost respect for them as well as all our military branches and first responders. What I do not respect are most of these corrupt politicians. Maybe New York will wise up and get rid of these morons that run their state and the other liberal states will follow.

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