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Pocket-Sized Shotgun Hits Stores
MINNEAPOLIS, Oct. 6, 2004

In a new twist on the idea of concealed weapons, a local gun maker and gun
shop are debuting a new type of firearm: one that could almost fit in your
wallet.

It's a two-shot weapon made from a piece of metal the height and width of a
standard credit card, and about a half an inch thick. Each barrel fires
seven standard steel BBs. It will retail for $100.

"This I can see being the ultimate self-defense weapon," said Mark
Koscielski, owner of Koscielski's Guns and Ammo, the only gun shop in
Minneapolis.

Koscielski and Patrick Teel, who makes the guns in suburban Blaine at his
company AFT Incorporated, gave The Associated Press a preview on Tuesday, a
day before they planned to officially unveil the device.

They said the guns are meant to be used for close-range self-defense and
wouldn't be effective as offensive weapons.

"They are very effective at five to 10 feet. They're absolutely useless at
20 feet," Teel said.

The credit card-sized shotgun is a muzzleloader, meaning it doesn't use
shotgun shells. The user has to measure out some gunpowder, pour it in each
barrel, drop seven BBs in each barrel, and tamp in a small wad of paper. A
knob on one end serves as a safety, and two buttons set into a hole in the
body are the electrical triggers. Each barrel fires with a loud pop.

Teel said the main value of the new gun is that it gives the owner a chance
to get away from an attacker.

"This is no more deadly than a .22," Teel said. "But the difference is you
have multiple wounds, which means you'll try to get away quicker, and it
will cause more pain. ... There will be more blood, which the cops will be
able to see."

The new guns don't count as firearms under federal regulations because
they're muzzleloaders, Koscielski and Teel said. It's illegal to carry one
without a permit to for a concealed handgun, they said, and they both
pledged not to sell them to anyone without valid identification and either a
carry permit or a purchase permit.

Thirty-seven states have laws that require officials to issue concealed
carry permits to qualified applicants and nine others have laws that give
officials some discretion over whether someone gets a permit. Only Kansas,
Illinois, Nebraska and Wisconsin lack a law allowing some form of concealed
carrying of guns.

Koscielski was widely credited with coining the term "Murderapolis"
when the city's homicide rate shot up in the 1990s. He's run unsuccessfully
for mayor, fought zoning battles to stay in business and been investigated
by federal agents.

Koscielski conceded that gun opponents are likely to criticize the new
devices. But he said they're legal, will set off metal detectors and are
readily identifiable.

"We all have a right to defend ourselves," he said.

At least one gun salesman was skeptical of the weapon's self-defense value.
Mike O'Brien, a gun salesman at Joe's Sporting Goods in St. Paul, wasn't
familiar with the new devices, but said muzzleloading is a "slow and
tedious" process.

"Us guys here would consider something like that useless," said O'Brien. "A
.177 caliber BB is ballistically a joke, OK? I'm sure it could cause injury
and damage, but as a self-defense weapon, no. Not to anyone familiar with
firearms."

Guns that small have been around in various styles for a long time, and some
have become curiosities and collectors items, but have failed as weapons,
said O'Brien.

"It might do damage to eyes, that sort of thing. But serious damage to a
200-pound drug-crazed evildoer, no ― it'd just make them mad," he said.

By Steve Karnowski
İMMIV The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be
published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.