Oh, for fuck's sake...
The Times Square "bomber"'s gun? The one Bloomberg is trying to inflate into a pressing need for more useless gun laws? It was a pistol carbine:
It is fearsome looking, a carbine hybrid of a pistol and a long gun with a mouthful of a name: the Kel-Tec Sub Rifle 2000. Mr. Shahzad bought it, new, in March for about $400. It was found in the Isuzu Trooper that he drove to Kennedy International Airport on Monday, loaded, with multiple extra clips.
Because the Kel-Tec Sub Rifle 2000 is classified as a rifle, it required no permit, as pistols do in Connecticut. But with its folding stock, hand grip and appetite for pistol ammunition and not rifle ammunition, the Kel-Tec was about as close as one could get to a pistol that is not technically one.
They're trying to make this sound extra-scary, as if it's the best of both rifles and pistols. In fact, pistol carbines are easily the worst of both worlds. They have all the low power of handgun rounds with the lack of concealability (and legally mandated minimum barrel length) of rifles. They're niche guns primarily valuable to people who have trouble accurately aiming home-defense handguns. If we really want to try to rate guns on a scale of dangerousnessness, pistol carbines would be near the bottom, probably just over double-barreled shotguns.
The NYT is trying to imply that there's a "loophole" because this rifle uses handgun cartridges. This is not an advantage. The implication, insanely, is that this gun would be less dangerous if it used a rifle cartridge that's twice as powerful.