Fortunately for the police in question the gun jammed after two shots, at which point they shot the guy.
It’s all very unusual and bystanders report thinking it was something for a movie, but my understanding is that MAC-10s (being full-auto weapons) were horribly expensive to legally procure (something like $3-5k), and assuming this particular one did not have its papers in order, it can only have been even more expensive than that. So, if someone can afford to buy a MAC-10, why were they running panhandling schemes in Times Square?
The answer is one that people like myself have been giving for years: it wasn’t a MAC-10.
You know how when someone decides to go crazy and shoot up a room of people with a rifle? Invariably it is described as an AK-47 or an M-16. It is not, of course, but it looks like one, and so it is one.
The natural result of this is that we get accused of obfuscating the issue, and that we are making a distinction without a difference. It falls right in line with a policy strategy originated by one Josh Sugarmann, head of the Violence Policy Center:
This is why we have endless arguments over the distinction between “assault weapons” and “assault rifles”. The obfuscation is intentional.
For the record, you can get a semi-automatic MAC-10 lookalike, post-1986 and designed around a closed bolt (hence not convertible to full-auto), for $449.95. It is functionally nothing more than an awkward .45 handgun, of which there are millions, just less menacing in appearance. That is a far cry from a real MAC-10, which goes for $2,500 (minimum, in my experience) and requires all sorts of paperwork and approvals from the federal government.
In short: it wasn’t a MAC-10. It was just reported that way.
The story makes several references to the number of rounds in the magazine, saying the gun held 30 rounds and there were 27 left it in when the police recovered it etc.
I’m not aware of ANY “normal” handguns with 30 round magazine capacities (with the exception of things like Lugers with snail-drum magazines), so the information so far is indeed consistent with an SMG (or semi-auto version thereof).
The fact of the matter is that SMGs- even “semi-auto-only” versions- aren’t cheap (I mean, $450 is still a fair bit of money for a panhandler, one would think), which got me wondering how a panhandler managed to get one…
Different models of Glock aren’t really a “Variety of Weapons” IMHO.
Also, “Glock” is on the “Journalist List of Evil Guns” (remember they can avoid metal detectors, right? :rolleyes:), so if the guy had a Glock with a 30 round magazine that’d be highlighted in the story. The Mac-10 hasn’t really been a “well-known” gun since the 1980s and to the casual observer it looks more like an Uzi than anything else.
So whilst I usually have a sub-zero opinion of the media’s firearm knowledge, I’m inclined to say the guy really did have a Mac-10 (or semi-auto version thereof) and not something else, and the journalist who wrote the story either knows something about guns (not impossible) or they got a statement from a police officer who identified the gun.
According to ABC, the gun was stolen from someone in Virginia in October and the guy who got shot had a business card for a gun dealer in that state in his pocket.
They also have a photo of the gun here. It doesn’t look like a conventional MAC-10, and a quick search suggests it’s probably one of these. So you’re right, it’s likely a semi-auto variant, but even so… it’s an odd thing for someone to be carrying in Times Square, from what I can tell.
If it were a full-auto MAC-10, he wouldn’t have gotten off just three shots. The rate of fire on the MAC-10 is so rapid it would be hard to let off less than five or six shots; you can empty the entire 30 round magazine in less than two seconds. (If you notice in movies and TV featuring this gun, they have to cut away and cut back to keep the gun firing for more than a couple dozen frames.) You also can’t hit any target with this gun except at virtually contact range.
The panhandlers at my mother’s parish mainly come in two flavors: there’s the old alkie who’s been a fixture for years and there’s the guys with backpacks who are in their way to somewhere they’ve heard it’s possible to get day jobs (if there’s a female transient, she’s usually with a guy). The alkie knows by now that he’s a lot more likely to get money if he’s sober. All these people do their best to be clean, often they have come directly from sleeping at Caritas’ dorms.
A third occasional flavor is the stinkers. If female, they have a baby; whether male or female, they stink to high hell. Actually it’s more as if their clothes stink, rather than them: the stench is moldy, not sweaty.
I’ve seen stinkers get into brand-new vans (pristine and, judging by the plate, less than a month old). One of the sunday school teachers not only saw a stinker get into a brand-new van, she saw that the van was full of clothesracks of the kind used by the vendors at the towns’ weekly outdoors market. She jotted down the details and was able to identify them the following market day.
Some panhandlers make good money (as River Hippie pointed out) and for some it’s a side business.
One of the notable aspects of the MAC-10 (actually the MAC Model 10 or M10) is the high degree of reliability owning to the simple operation. Although it fires from an open bolt–which is undesirable from a tactical perspective–it is highly reliable from a feed and eject perspective. The same cannot be said for many of the semi-automatic clones, of which this is likely one.
I still find it very odd that a panhandler was armed with any firearm, particularly a bulky submachinegun. Most panhandlers, if they are armed at all, carry knives or compact handguns. Their primary weapon, used against tourists and residents who have not become sufficiently inured, is an obnoxious attitude and poor hygiene. I’m typically able to drive off panhandlers in Los Angeles and San Francisco by simply putting on my “cop face” and being excessively and pointedly polite. I’ve never had one openly threaten me, especially with a weapon.
OK, from the various readings what I get is the following:
(a) The description of the activity the person was engaged in would more accurately be described as “hustler” or “scammer”, than “panhandler”, no?
(b) The firearm in question would most likely be better described as a “MAC-10 lookalile/knock-off”. In recent pop perception in the USA anything with that configuration will be referred to as “a MAC 10” just like almost anything with a pistol grip, banana clip and upper piston will be called “an AK 47”. This may be a cheapo lookalike and thus the jamming (plus the guy may have tried to fire it stupid-style, rotated sideways; or else some jacket-pocket lint got into the works).