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Smith & Wesson revolver to mark legal win

  Law Center  -   POSTED: 2008/07/22 16:07

Smith & Wesson thinks the Supreme Court’s recent Second Amendment ruling is a legal victory worth notching on a gun. The Springfield firearms manufacturer said yesterday it will make an engraved version of its Model 442 revolver to commemorate the historic June 26 high court decision striking down the District of Columbia’s strict handgun ban. Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. said it will give a gun to each of the six plaintiffs in the case, including lead plaintiff Dick Heller, an armed security guard and hero to gun-rights advocates across the country. Heller couldn’t be reached yesterday.

Gun dealers will start selling the revolver this fall, with some profits going to the Second Amendment Foundation, a pro-gun legal-action group that is teaming with Smith & Wesson on the project.

“I think it’s a phenomenal idea. It’s going to be a collector’s item for sure,” said Jim Wallace, executive director of the Northboro-based Gun Owners’ Action League of Massachusetts. “I wouldn’t mind having it in my collection.”

Some see the special pistol as a shrewd move by Smith & Wesson to target gun enthusiasts, especially those who may still be sore about the company’s 2000 adoption of gun-safety measures to settle a federal lawsuit. That controversial capitulation sparked a National Rifle Association boycott.

“This commemorative gun, although seemingly tasteful, is clearly playing to the extreme gun-rights audience,” said John Rosenthal, the founder of Stop Handgun Violence Inc., a nonprofit group known for its gun-control billboard on the Massachusetts Turnpike near Fenway Park. “It’s less than an honorable move.”

The Model 442 revolver has a suggested retail price of $561 but the commemorative version would presumably cost more.

Tom Taylor, Smith & Wesson’s vice president of marketing, did not return calls for comment.

Last month’s 5-4 ruling was the Supreme Court’s first conclusive interpretation of the Second Amendment since it was ratified in 1791, according to constitutional scholars. The decision affirmed the right to keep guns in self-defense in the home but at the same time was not expected to affect existing federal gun restrictions.


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