SPAS 12: The weapon that triggered a ban

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The Franchi SPAS-12 is a combat shotgun manufactured by Italian firearms company Franchi from 1979 to 2000. The SPAS-12 is a dual-mode shotgun, adjustable for semi-automatic or pump-action operation. The SPAS-12 was sold to military and police users worldwide on the civilian market and has been featured in many movies, TV shows, and video games.

The appearance and intended purpose of the SPAS-12 initially led to its “military” designation as a combat shotgun. The SPAS-12 was designed from the ground up as a rugged military shotgun, and it was named the Special Purpose Automatic Shotgun.

In 1990, Franchi renamed the shotgun the Sporting Purpose Automatic Shotgun, which allowed continued sales to the United States as a limited-magazine-capacity, fixed-stock model until 1994.

Following the United States Federal Assault Weapons Ban 1994, imports of SPAS-12 shotguns to the United States were stopped. In September 2004 the ban expired, but Franchi had ended production of the SPAS-12 in 2000 to focus on the manufacturing of the SPAS-15 model.

This comment under the video says it all:

…this weapon was the poster child of the 1994 assault weapons ban. this weapon was everything wrong with the ban. This was purely banned on the basis of looks and looks alone. this shotgun does nothing that any other shotgun at the time did. it ran pump or semi auto, that’s it. it didn’t load with a drum mag or other type of loading device. it loaded 1 shell at a time. however, because of HOW IT LOOKED! it was banned by name, and some would argue was the downfall of the company and an iconic shotgun. I both love and hate this gun. Love it cause how it looks and how it functions, but hate it because it reminds me of that dark day in 1994.