Scott Hoffman is so determined to repeal the state’s new gun laws that he is selling one of his most prized possessions, a one-of-a-kind Smith & Wesson pistol once touted as the most expensive handgun in the world.
Hoffman’s asking price for the special edition Smith & Wesson 629 .44-caliber Magnum, the same type of revolver made famous by the “Dirty Harry” movies: $100,000.
The owner of Hoffman’s Gun Center and Indoor Range said that he will use that cash to support candidates committed to overturning gun and ammunition restrictions passed after the Newtown school shootings.
“I feel so strongly that the law that was enacted is so wrong on so many levels that I wanted to demonstrate my commitment to see that it’s either overturned or people are put in place who have views like myself,” Hoffman said. “I’m giving up something I love to fight those laws.”
Hoffman said that restrictions enacted by the legislature, including bans on assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, will not prevent another school shooting and infringe on the rights of law-abiding gun owners.
“It’s just fundamentally wrong, but more than that, it’s not going to save one life,” Hoffman said. “It’s not going to save one child. It looks good.”
A better response to the killings would have been to increase security at schools, including stationing armed guards, he said.
“If you look at it this way, we protect everything,” Hoffman said. “You can’t go into a federal building without being checked. So why shouldn’t we protect our children?”
Andrew Doba, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s spokesman, strongly disputed Hoffman’s contentions that the Gun Violence Prevention Act will have no effect on public safety and that it harms legal gun owners.
“It contains a number of common-sense initiatives making it harder for people who shouldn’t have firearms to get them,” he said. “As much as the other side wants to make this about overreach, it clearly is not.”
Doba added that most Connecticut residents back the legislation.
“This is a bill that was passed with bipartisan support in both chambers and supported by the vast majority of Connecticut residents,” he said. “It will make our state safer, and it was the right thing to do.”
Hoffman’s late father, Marvin “Dino” Hoffman, bought the .44 Magnum new for $80,000 in 1979. Smith & Wesson auctioned the weapon to raise money for the 1980 Olympic shooting team, Hoffman said.
The next year, the Guinness Book of World Records named the pistol the most expensive handgun ever made up to that time, Hoffman said.
The stainless steel gun is ornately engraved and inlaid with 24-karat gold. A scene of a frontiersman fighting a bear, based on a painting titled “The Last Cartridge,” is inlaid in gold between the cylinder and the grip. The pistol grip is ivory decorated with scrimshaw and more gold.
The gun is on display at Hoffman’s store on the Berlin Turnpike and has never been fired, Hoffman said.
“It’s a work of art that happens to be a firearm,” Hoffman said when asked why he’s never shot the revolver. “You could shoot it, but why would you? You run the risk of damaging it.”
Hoffman said that he once considered charging a fee to shoot “the world’s most expensive handgun,” but abandoned the idea out of concern that the weapon could be damaged.
Hoffman is advertising the gun on Gunbroker.com for 90 days. He said he’s already received several inquiries.
“One guy wanted me to trade his shares in his company,” he said. “Hopefully, some rich guy or somebody that is dear to the cause will make me an offer.”
Hoffman admits that part of him hopes that the gun doesn’t sell. If that happens, he still plans to help fund an effort to repeal the state’s new gun laws.
The writer of this article is not related to the owners of Hoffman’s Gun Center and Indoor Range.