As usual the "artists" not only failed history class, but they failed to see the real reason the Saturday Night Specials exist.
The term Saturday Night Special became popular around the time of the 1968 Gun Control Act (which unilaterally outlawed the importation of small handguns), but the term had been in use since the days of Prohibition.
A Saturday Night Special is usually defined as a small, compact, affordable (and sometimes cheaply made) handgun. These handguns became popular in the latter part of the 19th century as Deringers and small revolvers.
Here are some examples of early compact guns:
Around the turn of the century, the semi-automatic pistol made its debut. Fabrique Nationale introduced the John Browning designed, mini pistol, the model 1906. Followed quickly by the Colt version known as the "Vest Pocket". The Colt's official name was the Model of 1908.
During the post war period (1945-1965) Europe had been exporting small compact semi-automatics (and a few revolvers) to the United States. Not all of these could be classified as Saturday Night Specials, but many of them were inexpensive. One of the smaller guns that was brought to the US market was the Walther PPK and the smaller TPH (in .22 & .25). While the Walther's were not cheap (and still aren't), it was a cheap design to copy. The blow-back operation required less machining and the fixed barrel made the engineering a low tech affair.
In 1968 the Unconstitutional, Nazi based (don't believe me? look it up!), Gun Control Act of 1968 was passed by the Democrat led Congress and signed by the Democrat President LBJ. The Act outlawed the importation of guns that were small. The Walther PPK was just on the edge of being too small and thus could no longer be imported. Beretta also lost the ability to import its line of compact semi-autos. They eventually (as did Walther) set up production within the United States.
Also banned from importation was the offerings from Rohm of Germany, these guns were of low quality and perhaps the epitome of the Saturday Night Special. It was a Rohm RG-14 Revolver that was used by John Hinkley Jr in an attempt to assassinate President Reagan in 1981.
With the importation ban, a void was left in the market place. Companies like Jennings, Sundance, Sterling, Lorcin, Raven, Phoenix Arms, American Arms, Bryco, Bauer, LW Seacamp, AMT and others began making compact semi-auto pistols to satisfy the demand. Many of these were copies of the Walther PPK design.
Of course not all of these were cheaply made and affordable. Some where of great quality and their price reflected that.
Here are some of the lower priced compact automatics.
One of the 1st handguns I purchased was a Jennings J-22 like the one below, I paid $49.99+ tax. It was good gun for the price, but I sold it to buy a better quality gun. The design and lines were obviously influenced by the PPK.
This brings us to the reason the Saturday Night Special exists. There has always been and always will be a need for inexpensive defensive handguns by those who could not otherwise afford to purchase a higher quality firearm.
Many have claimed that the attempts to outlaw these handguns are racist in nature.
It stands to reason that if the majority of low income households are non W.A.S.P., the popularity of these guns among the minorities would be higher.
Roy Innis, the President of the Congress for Racial Equality (and a personal hero of mine) stated once: "To make inexpensive guns impossible to get is to say that you're putting a money test on getting a gun. It's racism in its worst form."
This is true of most gun regulations. Gun banners believe that by making guns or ammo more expensive, fewer people will buy them. This may be true, the problem is the "fewer" people they are talking about is the poor (and often people of color). My belief is that they do want to disarm the poor, an integral part of their "war on poverty".
By keeping the poor reliant on government programs (including law enforcement) they can count on getting their vote every November.
just look at what happened with Class III weapons. With the ban on manufacturing of new fully automatic weapons, came a huge increase in the value of the existing ones. Only the rich or the most dedicated fan will pony up the 10,000+ Quatloos to own one.
When it comes to criminals getting their hands on Saturday Night Specials, one could make the assumption that their access to these guns would be increased. Criminals who commit crimes with guns, by in large live in low income neighborhoods. The same neighborhoods in which the Saturday Night Special is so popular (again due to their low price).
Your assumption, however, would be wrong.
Studies have shown time and time again that most criminals steal their guns (or trade them for drugs), rather than buy them. In 1977 the FBI completed a study in which they found that no correlation existed between the price of a gun and its likelihood to be used in a crime.
Furthermore, The Wright and Rossi evaluation of the 1983 National Institute of Justice study (p. 238) concluded: "The people most likely to be deterred from acquiring a handgun by exceptionally high prices or by the nonavailability of certain kinds of handguns are not felons intent on arming themselves for criminal purposes (who can, if all else fails, steal the handgun they want), but rather poor people who have decided they need a gun to protect themselves against the felons but who find that the cheapest gun in the market costs more than they can afford to pay."
Perhaps the "humanitarians" on the left could start a government relief program to help arm the poor? .........Don't hold your breath.
So the next time you look down upon an "affordable" gun, remember that they exist because there are gun owners among us that cannot afford a Sig or a Beretta and must buy something within their means to protect their family and property.
The Truth About Guns