'Clown Guns' Could Protect People from Trigger-Happy Police

The round-nosed firearm slows bullet speed by as much as 80 percent.

Alternative Ballistics

Toronto police are considering adopting “clown guns” as a nonlethal alternative to their normal firearms. That would follow a recent coroner’s inquest into the fatal shooting of a 45-year-old man that urged them to explore new options.

The Toronto Star reports the tech works by fixing an extension to the gun that slows a bullet to about 20 percent of typical speed. Instead of penetrating the target, the bullet should only strike the surface — hard enough to break bones, but not hopefully not to kill. Ferguson, Missouri cops tested them this February under similar public pressure.

Called “the Alternative,” it got its “clown gun” name because of the bright, round, orange clown nose shape of the extension on the barrel.

Remember, this is not being considered out of the human deceny of the Toronto police department, but rather an increasingly shameful record for gunning people down, often black men and people with mental illness. Although no one watching seems to keep good stats on exactly how victims of police shootings break down along racial lines, a Star analysis found that out of 51 fatal shootings involving Toronto cops, 18 involved black men. That’s 35 percent of all fatal shooting victims to their 9 percent of the population. If it takes a derisively named gun attachment to slow such an ugly roll, that’s one shot the police ought to take.