Press Reactions

From Boston Globe
By Frederic M. Biddle

"Violent crime is reportedly on the wane, but you wouldn't know by watching Hot Guns . The good news doesn't contradict the fact that nearly 40,000 people are killed and a million crimes committed each year with handguns. Tonight's installment of FRONTLINE skillfully retraces one gun's path to tragedy, while intriguingly but ineffectively taking aim at a greater story."

"...Why, exactly, would Lorcin mislead the ATF about internal theft that cost it millions? Clearly, FRONTLINE is hinting that more than a few rogue plant workers may have been involved, even though the ATF links as many as 6,000 guns to Jeremy Mendoza, the worker arrested in McCrary's sting. But the documentary stops there. Waldorf--and the executives of a half-dozen competing cheap guns companies in Southern California, nearly all of whom are related by blood or marriage--would make for a fascinating, multipart documentary, with deadly shades of Dynasty. After all, their companies ultimately account for far more deaths than any thieving employee."

From New York Times
By Walter Goodman

"The 'hot guns' of the title are the small-caliber handguns favored by America's fearful and its felons. In particular, an undercover agent on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms tells of a black-market operation that sent thousands of down-market Lorcin .380's around the country. The program meanders into familiar news magazine neighborhoods as it tells of the growing popularity of the small guns both for self-defense and for stickups.

Blame is directed at the manufacturer, Lorcin Engineering, for sloppy or non-existent security. A hidden camera captures a company employee and the Federal agent doing their business, moving the goods from car trunk to car trunk. The hour has the feeling of promotional spot for the bureau, which has suffered some unfavorable publicity in recent years.

Acting as a sort of Consumer Reports, the producers caution that cheap guns have a propensity to jam. That cannot be reassuring to customers who buy them for what the manufacturer calls 'affordable self-protection,' but it also raises the possibility that jammed guns in the hands of the bad guys could save the lives of some convenience-store clerks. So there's one novel idea here: if we can't cut down on the sale of guns at least make sure they don't work."

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