Lawgiver

Lawgiver

[law-giv-er]
The Lawgiver is a fictional weapon used by the Judges in Judge Dredd and related series that appear in the UK comic books 2000 AD and the Judge Dredd Megazine.

The Lawgiver is a handgun featuring semi- and fully-automatic fire, manual and automatic focusing and targeting, plus an in-built computer capable of controlling its operation. It fires a range of speciality ammunition. An in-line gunsight shows the view directly down the barrel. A Lawgiver can only be operated by its designated Judge owner, whose palm print is programmed into the gun's memory.

Its appearance was altered dramatically in 1995, around the release of the Judge Dredd film. Originally depicted as sleek and silver, it was modified to look blockier and black (see right).

Security

Should an attempt be made by an unauthorized person to use the Lawgiver, it will explode in that person's hand. Recognizing that this generally practical safeguard can sometimes impede Judges in the execution of their duties, the Justice Department computers contain instructions on bypassing Lawgiver palm-recognition systems. These instructions can be accessed by senior Judges, but are generally employed only in severe emergencies.

In the story "The Narcos Connection", criminal Nero Narcos sabotaged a new batch of upgraded lawgivers by programming them to self-destruct when used by their authorized users (once they received a radio signal, so the rogue command took effect in all weapons simultaneously). This resulted in large numbers of judges being crippled or killed at the precise moment they were attacked by Narcos's "Assassinator" robots at the beginning of the Second Robot War in 2121.

Ammunition

The gun has a maximum range of up to three miles and has six distinct settings which can be engaged by voice command:

  • Standard execution - A standard bullet, with identical effects to normal kinetic energy projectile weapons.
  • Heat Seeker or Hot Shot - A standard bullet propelled by the unstable element, 'Argon 886'. Heatseeker rounds lock onto the target's heat source, enabling the Judge to target fleeing perps, accurately fire in low-light situations and so forth.
  • Ricochet - A metal bullet coated with rubber. Ricochet rounds can bounce off solid surfaces while retaining enough kinetic energy to penetrate flesh. This enables the Judge to, for example, kill a perp that is using a human shield, bouncing their shot off a back wall and hitting the target from behind.
  • Incendiary - Capable of setting its target on fire. Less widely used due to practicalities of incinerating targets in built-up city areas, although useful against unconventional adversaries such as Judge Death.
  • Armour Piercing - Armour piercing rounds are extremely dense and contain a more powerful charge for higher muzzle velocity. Useful against cybernetic criminals and armoured opponents. When used against human targets, it can travel through multiple targets.
  • High-Explosive (Hi-Ex) - A round containing an amount of extremely concentrated high explosive. Judges must employ caution when using this extremely dangerous round; the blast caused by the exploding bullets can just as easily harm those firing as the target. Generally used rarely; against crowding attackers or large/dangerous foes.

Some stories by Judge Dredd creator John Wagner have added a stun bullet, while stories by Gordon Rennie have included a stunner beam (which doesn't always work). An "exorcist" bullet for use against supernatural enemies was developed by Gordon Rennie. These and the six modes of fire listed above are canon. The Judge Dredd audio drama Wanted: Dredd Or Alive has a Tracer bullet, which allows Judges to electronically track what they've shot.

Some publications replace the standard bullet with the Grenade setting. In addition, the novelizations of David Bishop replaced the Incendiary round with a Gas round, which released a cloud of Stumm gas, the Mega City equivalent of CS or tear gas.

The Movie Version

In the film Judge Dredd the "Lawgiver Mark II" handgun is visually different but still capable of firing several types of ammunition, including standard bullets, rapid fire (all types of ammo), explosive grenade rounds, the "double-whammy" (twin rounds fired simultaneously in different directions) and signal flares.

Each individual round fired is tagged with the DNA code of the Judge to whom the weapon belongs, thus making identification of the shooter possible with the recovery of the slugs from a victim.

Instead of exploding when an individual other than a judge picks up the weapon it emits a very powerful, incapacitating (and often deadly) shock until the weapon is dropped.

External links

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