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Kimber's Controversy: How Firearms Brand Stirred Up Debate

By    |   Wednesday, 22 Apr 2015 05:34 PM

Controversies involving guns and gun manufacturers are nothing new. Back in 2008, Kimber Firearms was involved in a controversy resulting in a new pistol that was marketed to the public after being designed with help from the LAPD’s undercover Special Investigation Section.

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The weapon in question was known as the Kimber SIS .45 ACP. Very similar to those carried by the Special Investigation Section, the version which was available to the public had a stylized “SIS” engraved into the slide mechanism. The difference between the version used by the LAPD and civilians were a different firing mechanism, gun sights and a special safety firing pin in the LAPD version.

The price of the civilian version was more than $1,000. Kimber made a donation to the Los Angeles Police Memorial Foundation for each one sold.

While Councilman Jack Weiss was quoted by the Los Angeles Times as calling the pistol “very disturbing,” Police Chief William J. Bratton referred to it as a “non-issue.”

The official position of the LAPD was that they did not endorse the weapon and have no control over how Kimber markets their products to consumers. At the time, the head of the elite department indicated that the weapon would enhance the LAPD’s image to the public by impressing them with their training and equipment, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Shortly after the weapon was introduced, Patrick Sweeney from Guns and Ammo was able to visit the LAPD’s Police Academy and use the version used by the police. Sweeney found the weapon to be accurate, hitting his target 300 yards away on only his third shot.

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It is important to note that this is not the first time that firearms companies have made weapons stylized after law enforcement agencies to the public. A representative from the state’s Justice Department’s Bureau of Firearms mentioned two similar incidents, reported the Los Angeles Times. Both weapons were made by Smith & Wesson and took place in the 1970s and 1980s.

The controversy centered around the marketing of a weapon that took advantage of the SIS’s reputation – one that included several payouts in civil rights lawsuits and a high number of deaths by members of the SIS. According to the Los Angeles Times, at least 37 suspects had been killed from the time the department was founded in 1965 and the time that the Kimber SIS was made introduced.

The Firearms Blog posted
a notice from Kimber in December 2009: “Note: the SIS family is discontinued as of January 1, 2010. Kimber will ship outstanding orders but they will not take orders on the SIS line after 1/1. If you want one, don’t wait too long or they will be unavailable!”

Kimber’s website has links to catalogs going back as far as 2009. They avoided posting the 2008 catalog on the site, which presumably would have had the controversial weapon within its pages.

This article does not constitute legal advice. Check the current gun laws before purchasing or traveling with a firearm.

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Controversies involving guns and gun manufacturers are nothing new. Back in 2008, Kimber Firearms was involved in a controversy resulting in a new pistol that was marketed to the public after being designed with help from the LAPD’s undercover Special Investigation Section.
guns, kimber, gun control
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2015-34-22
Wednesday, 22 Apr 2015 05:34 PM
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