Sunday, December 23, 2007

Bostodelphia 21 Gun Salute to the Firearms of 2007 #4: Heritage Rough Rider SA .22 Revolver

Number four in our twenty-one gun salute to 2007 was selected for the budget conscious. Made in the U.S.A., the Heritage Rough Rider single action .22 revolver has a manufacturer's suggested retail price of just over $160, but simply typing "Heritage Rough Rider" and ".22." into Google gives product search results as low as a little over $140.

While the phrase "Saturday Night Special" is more a term of journalism and politics than technical classification, .22 revolvers like the Heritage Rough Rider are cheap guns. In the online gun culture, some reference is made to "kit" or "starter" guns, usually with .22 revolvers in mind, presumably having something to do with their ease of use and low monetary investment. For instance, in a 2003 post on plans to attend Washington state gun show, gun blogger "Jeffersonian" opines, "Not expecting to expand the collection, unless I find a splendid deal on a .22 revolver for luring people into the gun culture." If the AK-47 makes our salute (duh), there may well be some punning about "gateway drugs". However, we at Bostodelphia want to point out here that some in the self-styled gun culture do apparently speak of "gateway guns."

And sometimes the gateway opens a bit prematurely, and accidentally. Last June, Philadelphia media reported about an incident around the Wonderland Pier of Ocean City, N.J. where an off duty Philadelphia police officer lost his (presumably personal, non service) North American Arms .22 magnum revolver. Unlike the gun pictured in this post, the gun in this incident can actually fit in the palm of an adult's hand, and apparently can be easily mistaken for a toy. In fact, the 16 year old girl who found it initially thought it was cap pistol until she fired it into a sand dune. Still, she held onto it, even taking it on one of the pier's rides. Fortunately, this incident doesn't go much beyond embarrassment for an unnamed police officer as the girl and the girl's mother turned the weapon in after reports of the officer's missing piece were televised.

That said, less than a month later, a .22 revolver, perhaps more along the lines of the Rough Rider, initiated self-styled thug Charles Meyer into the American incarceration system. Meyers, 18 at the time, shot once and killed 14 year old Tykeem Law. Law was riding a bicycle in front of car transporting Meyer, and Law's unwillingness, reluctance, or inability to clear out of the vehicle's way to Meyer's satisfaction apparently prompted Meyer's firing. "With a body on him," as the thugs put it, Meyer was welcomed into the "inside" of the criminal fraternity with a variation of open arms: a courthouse holding cell beating on the day of his arraignment that postponed his hearing until late September.

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