Tiny guns, manufactured in a former gas station in the Michigan Soo, have attracted concern from both law enforcement officials and a Washington-based gun control lobby.
As SooToday.com reported earlier today, the Stinger Pen Gun (shown) can be bought for US$250 without the detailed background check required by the U.S. National Firearms Act any time so-called "gadget" weapons are sold.
The folding pen, available for additional cost in a model that resembles a jack-knife, shoots .22 calibre ammunition.
The website of Stinger Manufacturing Corp. also shows a barrel extension that converts the tiny firearm into a "sniper" rifle.
One year ago, the pro-gun website Keepandbeararms.com obtained a confidential 'Officer Safety Alert' distributed by the criminal investigations division of the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations at Andrews Air Force Base.
Located in Maryland, the air base is home to Air Force One and is charged, among other duties, with providing air transport for U.S. President George W. Bush.
Leaked report shows scrutiny by law enforcers
Angel Shamaya, the founder and executive director of Keepandbeararms.com, indicates that the document was leaked to her organization by "a friend who works in law enforcement - a patriot who is as tired of gun control as we are."
The confidential flyer indicates that Stinger's Sault-manufactured products have attracted scrutiny from both intelligence officers at Michigan State Police and the Office of Command Security at the U.S. Department of Defence's Defense Reutilization & Marketing Service.
The document was authorized for widespread distribution to other military and government criminal investigative organizations, security forces and local law enforcers.
To read the leaked alert, please click here. (Adobe Acrobat required.)
Violence Policy Centre
The Violence Policy Center, a Washington-based national non-profit foundation that advocates gun-control measures, is critical of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for allowing Stinger Manufacturing to continue selling its controversial products.
Josh Sugarmann, the Violence Policy Centre's executive director, describes the Stinger Pen Gun as "a clear threat to public safety and law enforcement."
"ATF clearly has the authority, and legal responsibility, to reclassify Stinger's pen and knife guns under federal law to tightly restrict them and should do so immediately," Sugarmann says.
The U.S. National Firearms Act was passed in 1934 in a bid to restrict the ability of gangsters to arm themselves with machine guns, sawed-off shotguns, and other weapons.
That law specifically requires owners of so-called gadget guns, including guns disguised as walking canes and pens, to register the weapon, undergo a background check that often takes months, and to get approval from local law enforcement agencies.
However, ATF has chosen to exclude Stinger Pen Guns and Knife Guns from these requirements, because the weapons cannot be fired in their original configurations.
To discharge these weapons, the barrel must be bent away from the handle, a conversion that Stinger ads boast takes just two seconds.
Emergency responders also concerned
"Stinger's pen and knife guns can be re-classified tomorrow to protect public safety on the street, in our offices, and in the air," Sugarmann says.
"And if the Ashcroft Justice Department truly cares about public safety, it will do so immediately."
Dennis R. Krebs, an emergency medical technician/paramedic with the Baltimore County Fire Department and author of a survival guide for medical support personnel, posted a warning about Stinger's Knife Gun to the website EMSZone.com.
To read Krebs' weapon advisory, please click here.