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Weapons of Choice

by David Codrea

“Smith & Wesson is the handgun of choice among America’s criminals.”

We know this because Steve Bailey of The Boston Globe tells us so. The columnist berates the gun maker for not pursuing an agreement hatched between its former British owners and the Clinton administration to ward off lawsuits by imposing draconian restrictions on firearms dealers.

“Smith & Wesson’s .38-caliber revolver is the handgun traced most often in crimes,” he proclaims.

“As the cops and ministers work the streets in Boston, the gun lobby is working the halls of Congress in Washington,” Bailey whines, anticipating the end of the federal “assault weapons” ban.

What that has to do with S&W .38s is anyone’s guess, but it dovetails nicely into the Violence Policy Center’s hysterical assertion that “Drug traffickers are finding that assault weapons < provide the extra firepower necessary to fight police and competing dealers. Right-wing paramilitary extremists < have made these easily purchased firearms their gun of choice.”

Agreeing with the anti-gun fanatics at VPC is the anti-gun fanatic at LAPD, Chief William Bratton, who tells Los Angeles Times readers “[M]ilitary-style assault weapons < are not necessary for hunting or self-defense, but their light triggers and rapid-fire capability make them weapons of choice for criminals.”

The Chief must be on to something, because the Consumer Attorneys of California not only back him up, but narrow down the model, claiming “The TEC-9 is the assault weapon of choice among criminals.”

Except the San Francisco Chronicle tells us “AK-47s have emerged recently as ‘the gun of choice’ among San Francisco’s gang-bangers.”

And that’s not the only dissension in the ranks. According to Legal Affairs magazine, “In the 1990s, manufacturers increased production of nine-millimeter handguns — the gun of choice for murderers.”

Offering yet another competing view is the Contra Costa Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, which argues “Junk guns [are] the gun of choice for criminals < their low cost makes them perfect for criminals who need a gun they can throw away after a crime.”

Agreeing is former California Assemblywoman Sally Havice, who voted to ban affordable handguns using the rationale that ‘They are the criminal’s gun of choice.”

Their inability to reach a consensus notwithstanding, it’s evident that those who would eliminate private ownership of firearms all agree on one thing: they mean to leave us no choice.

But let us now return to Boston, where “police say they are seeing a surge in the number of gang-related attacks involving machetes.”

“‘It seems to be that machetes are the weapon of choice,’ Detective Brian Kyes told our friends at The Boston Globe.

Trying to bring some perspective to the debate is Hispanic community leader Pastor Luis Morales, who argues that these are gardening tools with lawful and productive uses, and that anything can be used as a weapon.

“What about baseball bats?” he asks. “They are also used in gang-related attacks. Even a shoe can be considered a weapon if someone uses it to hit someone else.”

So don’t be surprised when some statist zealot suggests basketball high-tops are the criminals’ footwear of choice...

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