(CNSNews.com) - Democrats in Congress have introduced a bill to outlaw a specific gun, which a leading gun control group describes as "a clear and present threat to police officers" and "a tragedy waiting to happen."
The bills introduced in the House and Senate on Thursday (H.R. 800/S. 397) would make it illegal for anyone except a police officer or military official to possess a Fabrique Nationale (FN) Five-seveN pistol, which can shoot armor-piercing bullets.
Gun control activists call the Five-seveN a "cop-killing gun," and they have enlisted the support of several law enforcement organizations in their effort to outlaw it. Steve Lenkart, the legislative director of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, a labor union, has called the handgun "an assault weapon that fits in your pocket."
"We are very grateful to Senators [Frank] Lautenberg (D-N.J.), [Jon] Corzine (D-N.J.) and [Chuck] Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Congressman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) for introducing legislation in the Senate and the House of Representatives to outlaw this weapon," said Michael Barnes, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence united with the Million Mom March.
According to a Brady Campaign press release, the "easily concealable, lightweight handgun" retails for about $1,000.
The Brady Campaign says it bought a Five-seveN from a Virginia gun dealer in January, and it says ammunition purchased with the gun was able to penetrate a protective vest. (Virtually all rifle ammunition will penetrate the most common types of body armor worn by police.)
Shoot Wayne LaPierre?
According to the Brady Campaign, the National Rifle Association has defended the weapon and questioned the Brady Campaign's testing of the Five-seveN.
Michael Barnes suggested that NRA President Wayne LaPierre "put on a bullet proof vest, and we'll fire the weapon at him, and see what happens.
"He should put his body where his mouth is," Barnes said.
The NRA responded, calling it "pathetic to see the gun control lobby make hysterical statements to resurrect their failed political agenda."
The NRA noted that according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the armor-piercing ammunition is only available to the military and police.
"The Brady Campaign continues to deceive the American people in their effort to ban firearm ownership by all law-abiding Americans," the statement said.
Just another pistol
There is nothing special about the "Five seven," the NRA says on its website.
"It is a semi-automatic pistol, just like millions of other semi-automatic pistols. BATFE has determined that it is 'particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes,' and has approved its importation.
"There is also nothing special about the 5.7mm ammunition being sold to the public," the NRA said, since under federal law, only non-armor-penetrating types of 5.7mm ammunition may be sold.
In a recent response to "misinformation" about its Five-seveN pistol, FN Herstal USA made the following points:
-- The Five-seveN handgun is a full-size pistol and is not easily concealable. In fact, it is larger than most current-issue sidearms carried by law enforcement agencies throughout the U.S.
-- The maximum effective range of the Five-seveN handgun is 35 to 50 meters, which is comparable to other commercially available sporting pistols in its range and effectiveness.
-- The only ammunition available to the public are the cartridges defined by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (BATFE) as suitable for sporting use.
-- All 5.7 x 28 restricted ammunition (armor piercing) is sold only to law enforcement and military agencies. This ammunition is released and shipped from a U.S. Customs controlled custom bonded warehouse, only with approval from the BATFE and U.S. Customs.
Legislation introduced two weeks ago in Congress would shield gun manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers from civil lawsuits stemming from the misuse of their products by others.
Supporters of the legislation, including the National Rifle Association, call it a "reckless lawsuit preemption bill." It's intended to prevent anti-gun groups from accomplishing their apparent goal of suing the gun industry into bankruptcy.
But gun control activists such as the Brady Campaign call it an "immunity" bill and say it would "take away the legal rights of gun violence victims."
In a press release issued Thursday, the Brady Campaign warned the legislation "would shield FN Herstal, a Belgian company, from potential lawsuits based on the sale of its cop killer gun."
In fact, the bill would shield all law-abiding firearms manufacturers from politically motivated litigation.
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