:"For the Italian city, see
Lupara is an Italian word used to refer to a
sawed-off shotgunof the break-open design type. It is traditionally associated with Cosa Nostra, the Italian organized crimegroup dominant in Sicilyfor their use of it in vendettas, defense - such as its use against Mussolini's army when he decided to break up the Sicilian mafioso network - and hunting. [cite book |last=Chalker |first=Dennis| authorlink=Dennis Chalker |title=One Perfect Op : an Insider’s Account of the Navy Seal Special Warfare Teams |coauthors=Dockery | year= 2002|publisher= Morrow|location=New York |language=English| pages=251 |isbn=0-671-02465-5 ]
The word 'lupara' means literally 'wolf-shot', reflecting its lethal power and its history of use in
Mafiakillings. It is also one of the oldest Italian firearms originating in Sicily. It became popular because it can be more easily handled in close quarters than a longer full length gun. The shorter barrels, generally without a choke, also provide greater spread of the shot increasing the chances that a user will hit their desired target.
From the word "lupara" originates the Italian expression of "lupara bianca" (white lupara), a term especially used by journalists to refer to a mafia-style slaying in which the victim's body is deliberately hidden. The word was also popularised by the author
Mario Puzoin his bestselling novel "The Godfather" where the lupara is used extensively by the mafia in Sicily, including Michael Corleone's bodyguards. cite book |last=Puzo |first=Mario |authorlink=Mario Puzo| title=The Godfather |year= 2002|publisher= NAL|location=New York |language=English |isbn=978-0451205766 |pages=192, 203, 329, 335, 337, 349]
An early example of criminal use of the weapon in the United States was the assassination of the New Orleans chief of police, David Hennessey, in October 1890. [cite book|last=Smith|first=Tom|title=The Crescent City Murders|year=2007|publisher=The Lyons Press|isbn=1-592-28901-0] The murder punctuated a rivalry between gangs of Sicilian fruit company
stevedores whose contracts did not fall under the auspices of the local longshoreman's union. A pile of sawed-off shotguns was displayed after the murder, including a homemade gun with a folding iron stock, and another with a hook on its stock with which to hang the gun under a coat. Racist provocation following the failed prosecution of a group of suspected men resulted in a mob assault on the New Orleans Parish Prison and the subsequent lynching of many Italian prisoners. This was possibly the first time the term "Mafia" was used during a criminal trial.
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