The year was 1998. Marc Morial, Mayor of the City of New Orleans, spearheaded an effort to bankrupt the gun manufacturers and dealers in this country by filing a lawsuit claiming that they were responsible for causing countless deaths and injuries due to the number of guns that the manufacturers and dealers sold every year. They ignored the fact that each of these guns were sold legally, in full accordance with federal, state and local laws. The lawsuit named every domestic manufacturer of firearms in America: Smith & Wesson, Sturm Ruger, Beretta U.S.A., Colt, Glock, and several smaller companies. It's purpose was clear: to bankrupt these companies and put them out of business. And in this effort, they had the full support of then-President William Clinton.
There was just one problem, though--one that the defendants and their National Rifle Association attorneys were quick to bring to light: For decades, the City of New Orleans had itself sold thousands of confiscated and surplus firearms to some of the same wholesalers that the targeted dealers used for distribution. In short, if any of these companies was guilty of anything, New Orleans was equally guilty.
This effort quickly tanked, and led to the passage of new laws nationwide designed to bar states and local units of government from bringing any more such asinine lawsuits. (Thanks, NRA!)
One gun in particular that the City of New Orleans took a lot of heat for selling: The Beretta 92F 9mm Semi-automatic pistol. New Orleans sold 700 of these pistols that were retired from the New Orleans Police Department as part of their effort to re-equip their police officers with new Glock handguns. Beretta and Glock--two of the companies that New Orleans did business with then turned around and sued. Talk about hypocrisy.
Well I recently came upon one of those Beretta 92's, complete with it's NOPD marking intact. I'd been looking for one of these pretty much since the days of that lawsuit, but they've been harder to find than Sen. Mary Landrieu's integrity.Here it is--Exhibit A in the response to Morial's stupid lawsuit--a New Orleans Police Department-marked pistol that the City of New Orleans made available to anyone with a little cash who could pass a federal background check.
I sold off all of my Beretta handguns a few years ago when times got tight, and to be honest, I've not missed them. I always found them to be a bit large and cumbersome for a 9mm and not quite as accurate as other guns in it's class. However, as a former resident of the Crescent City and as an observer of that lawsuit and the NRA's crushing defeat of the plaintiffs, I'd always wanted one of these. And I've searched for years without success, until today. As of today, I've finally got one.
I'm also proud to report that I took it right from the FFL dealer to the range, and it shot just the way that a Beretta shoots--totally reliably and as accurately as their muddy triggers allow. I'm happy.
I don't normally name my guns, but if I did, I would name this veteran of New Orleans "Katrina".