Originally Published: February 1, 2005 7:10 a.m.
It's probably unfair to expect the writer of a fictional CBS television series to do any better research than the news division did on the Bush National Guard story.
But it isn't unreasonable to expect the writer of the usually realistic "Cold Case" series to recognize current law and physical reality.
This past Sunday, CBS aired a "Cold Case" episode that knowledgeable gun owners call the typical "evil gun" story. The officers on the series track the history of a fully-automatic Mac-10 submachine gun used in a drive-by shooting.
How did the writer err? Let us count the ways.
• In the series, the manufacturer of the gun blissfully disclaims responsibility for the gun not reaching the distributor when it left the factory. Although the script is muddy about whether it was fully automatic or semi-automatic, the maker and the distributor would be in big trouble either way, and especially if it were fully automatic. The missing gun would be the subject of a major federal investigation until they found it, and the rest of the story couldn't have happened.
• A gun dealer with a business name and supposedly a federal firearms license sells the gun at a gun show with no background check, a violation of federal law that he couldn't cover up and that would land him in jail.
• The street vendor that sells the gun to a 12-year-old purports to have converted it to full-automatic. Mike Smisko, a customer service specialist and firearms designer at Sturm, Ruger & Co. says it's a virtual physical impossibility to convert a semi-automatic MAC-10 to full auto. To the extent it might be possible, the converter would have to be a professional and have access to parts available only to the military and police.
One has to wonder if the script author learned from Dan Rather or vice versa.