Powerful new handguns called “big boomers” by the gun industry are a growing threat to the nation’s law enforcement officers, according to a study by the Violence Policy Center, a Washington, D.C., advocacy group. Body armor used by police has been able to stop handgun rounds and saved thousands of lives over the last three decades, the study states, but standard body armor cannot stop rifle rounds. The study warns that the gun industry is aggressively marketing a growing number of new handguns designed to fire bullets with rifle power. The rounds these guns fire can penetrate all but the most resistant body armor, such as that used by many SWAT teams.
“The gun industry has once again proven that it is willing to put profits over health, safety, and even national security,” said VPC Senior Policy Analyst Tom Diaz, the study’s author. “The firearms industry is congratulating itself that ‘big boomers’ are ‘good for business,’ even while these guns are ending up in the hands of felons and drug dealers in the United States. One need look no further than Mexico–where these guns are smuggled in by drug traffickers and used to kill police–to understand the growing threat these weapons represent to U.S. law enforcement and security forces.” The study traces the proliferation of “big boomers” to the 2003 introduction of the first vest buster: the Model 500 S&W Magnum from Smith & Wesson.