Friday, October 08, 2004

Target practice triggers gun debate: "A couple of times a week, Jean Murray goes into her back yard, sits down in a plastic lawn chair, and aims her .22 caliber pistol at a makeshift target several hundred feet away. Murray is often joined by her daughter, Linda Rall, and Rall's boyfriend, Windy Skillin, each using a gun to fire at the sheet metal propped up by tires, which serves as their target. For the 67-year-old grandmother, target practice is not just a way to relax. Murray, a widow, says she doesn't care for the coyotes that roam the 40 acres of fields hand woods she owns around her home on the Bridge Road, and if she spots a coyote, she shoots to kill. Her weekly target practice sessions have riled neighbors and thrust Murray into a community debate over a new weapons ordinance that would require anyone who target-practices on a regular basis to register each year with Brunswick police."


In a new twist on the idea of concealed weapons, a local gun maker and gun shop are debuting a new type of firearm: one that could almost fit in your wallet. It's a two-shot weapon made from a piece of metal the height and width of a standard credit card, and about a half-inch thick. Each barrel fires seven standard steel BBs. It will retail for $100. "This I can see being the ultimate self-defense weapon," said Mark Koscielski, owner of Koscielski's Guns and Ammo, the only gun shop in Minneapolis.

Koscielski and Patrick Teel, who makes the guns in suburban Blaine at his company AFT Incorporated, gave The Associated Press a preview on Tuesday, a day before they planned to officially unveil the device. They said the guns are meant to be used for close-range self-defense and wouldn't be effective as offensive weapons. "They are very effective at five to 10 feet. They're absolutely useless at 20 feet," Teel said.

The credit card-sized shotgun is a muzzleloader, meaning it doesn't use shotgun shells. The user has to measure out some gunpowder, pour it in each barrel, drop seven BBs in each barrel, and tamp in a small wad of paper. A knob on one end serves as a safety, and two buttons set into a hole in the body are the electrical triggers. Each barrel fires with a loud pop.

Teel said the main value of the new gun is that it gives the owner a chance to get away from an attacker. "This is no more deadly than a .22," Teel said. "But the difference is you have multiple wounds, which means you'll try to get away quicker, and it will cause more pain. ... There will be more blood, which the cops will be able to see."


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