The gun that led to the arrest of Raymond Felton on felony possession charges has a long history of controversy that could make the New York Knicks point guard’s case a political battleground.
Felton is facing three charges, including two felony gun charges, for the possession of the FN Herstal Five-SeveN semiautomatic pistol.
The gun was first designed by FN Herstal at the request of NATO in the late 1980s for gun manufacturers to produce smaller weapons capable of penetrating body armour, according to ShootingTimes.com.
However, a variation of the pistol, which has been called “an assault rifle that fits in your pocket,” was later introduced for civilian use.
The “Cop Killer” Gun
Despite claims from the manufacturer that the 5.7x28mm ammunition for the civilian version would not penetrate armour, tests by the Brady Campaign showed that the bullets were armour-piercing, giving the gun the ominous nickname, “cop-killer.”
The NRA countered by saying the tests were not conducted properly rendering the results meaningless.
New York Senator Charles Schumer, seen above holding a FN Herstal Five-SeveN, introduced legislation in 2005 to have the pistol banned.
The proposed legislation never faced a vote and later died.
The gun was once again the center of controversy when Nidal Hissan used a FN Herstal Five-SeveN to kill 13 people and wound 32 others in the Fort Hood shooting in 2009. The gun used in the Fort Hood shooting by Hasan was purchased privately and legally.
The FN Herstal Five-SeveN is also a popular gun among Mexican drug cartels, with the guns being smuggled across the border from the United States. The guns are used in their wars against each other and against the Mexican police, reinforcing its notorious nickname.
According to one report in the Boston Globe, the pistol was used to kill “at least a half-dozen police officers” in 2007.
In 2008, New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress was arrested for carrying a loaded handgun into a New York City nightclub and accidentally shooting himself in the leg.
At the time, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg came down hard on Burress and wanted him prosecuted “to the fullest extent of the law.” Many felt Bloomberg wanted to make Burress an example under the city’s new tougher gun laws. Burress served two years in prison.
Felton faces 15 years in prison if convicted of the most serious offence.
With the controversial history of the gun in Felton’s possession, it is easy to imagine that this case will once again bring up debate over the legality of this particular gun and whether Felton should serve as an example for possessing one illegally.
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