FL, USA. I correlate "two beers" with 0. TX, USA. There is another company making mac clones. Can't think of what company it was, though. Don't think of it as being outnumbered and surrounded, think of it as a really low risk of ammunition wastage. WV, USA. Originally Posted By dep There is another company making mac clones. Mater Peice Arms Leindad Cobray and last, and certainly least..
Vulcan God of POS guns. Master Piece Arms Yep Open bolts were not banned, and the one for sale is legal. BATF decided that converting the Open bolts to MG's were too easy, and deamed that semi's needed to be closed bolt systems. Open bolt semi automatic Firearms that were produced before the cut off date were grandfathered as being legal to own. Originally Posted By Dano Open bolts were not banned, and the one for sale is legal.
Where there any produced after the cutoff date and ifso what is the status of these guns. Thx Fast. AZ, USA. Thx Fast Dano covered it pretty well. The issue is not MAC 10s, it is "open bolt vs closed bolt" semi autos. Open bolt weapons are cocked with the bolt back and a sear holding them open. The firing pin is permanently fixed to fire whenever the bolt closes.
The trigger simply releases the sear releasing the bolt. Removing that complexity is very easy. Hence, the BATF decided to ban the manufacture and sale of open bolt semiautos. When they did, they allowed those weapons ALREADY made to remain legal to own and sell as semi-auto weapons not under the restrictions placed on machineguns and the like.
So manufactuers of MACs and the like re-engineered them to meet this requirement. End of story. This is why the pre-ban open bolt Macs are somewhat rare. So yes Macs are produced afterr the date in a closed bolt configuration. For myself, I see no real use for one. I like the full auto Macs. Lots of fun for the money. And the only advantage to an open bolt versus newer semi-auto is the ease of conversion to full auto. But then - doing that conversion is a ticket to Club Fed and an introduction to a new roommate named Bubba.
Real stupid. Soooo, no real point to them IMO. And the short answer is no new ones are made to open bolt spec. Now, if you live in a machinegun friendly state you can still buy an open bolt full auto MAC for a sort of reasonable sum. But don't do it the illegal way. The ad continued, "Time for spring cleaning.
Why try cleanups with inadequate equipment?? Buy the machine designed to clean thoroughly on the first pass. The company's latest innovation is the Ladies' Home Companion, apparently intended for use by women to protect themselves and their homes.
H&K, UZI's MAC SALE - mojihujavuta.tk
A variation on the Street-Sweeper, it is just under two feet long, has a twelve-shot revolving drum, and fires a heavy. Moreover, the trigger requires thirty to forty pounds of pressure. Daniel advertised the gun as being "ideal for use in confined spaces," yet Don Flohr, a Maryland State Police firearms expert who tests weapons for the roster board, refused to test-fire it for fear of damaging the state's testing range. An official with Maryland's Handgun Roster Board calls it "a sick joke.
I'd have liked to ask the Daniels why they seemed hell-bent on skirting firearms laws, but neither returned the many calls I made recently to their Atlanta headquarters. At the Baltimore county pistol range, Leonard Supenski had me slip on pistol earmuffs and safety glasses. Then he shoved a clip into the Cobray and passed it to me. He invited me to blast away.
The trigger was quick—no more demanding than that of a cap pistol. I fired with abandon at a series of steel man-shaped targets called Pepper Poppers, after their inventor. The targets are designed to fall backward when struck by a bullet. The earthen wall came alive as if a tribe of beetles had suddenly decided to decamp.
I downed all four targets and then turned the gun on a loose piece of wood embedded in the earth behind them. Shards blew off in all directions. Shell casings rocketed past me, one striking the rim of my safety glasses and bouncing off my eyebrow. In a matter of seconds I'd used up all thirty-two rounds. Watching the dirt fly, one can be lulled into believing that this is, after all, just fun and games.
I wanted to fire off another clip; hell, I wanted to "rock and roll," the gun culture's euphemism for firing a machine gun in full auto. This WAS fun. Remote destruction is a dynamite rush. The clerk who sold the kid that goddamn gun was an ex-cop. To be a gun dealer in America is to occupy a strange and dangerous outpost on the moral frontier. Every storefront gun dealer winds up at some point in his career selling weapons to killers, drug addicts, psychos, and felons; likewise, every storefront dealer can expect to be visited by ATF agents and other lawmen tracing weapons backward from their use in crime to their origins in the gun-distribution network.
One must be a cool customer to stay in business knowing that the products one sells are likely to be used to kill adults and children or to serve as a terroristic tool in robberies, rapes, and violent assaults. Yet gun dealers deny at every step of the way the true nature of the products they sell and absolve themselves of responsibility for their role in the resulting mayhem. Guns used in crime are commonly thought to have originated in some mythic inner-city black market.
Such markets do exist, of course, but they are kept well supplied by the licensed gun-distribution network, where responsibility is defined as whatever the law allows. Guns Unlimited demonstrates the kind of position every legitimate gun shop must eventually find itself in. Guns Unlimited considers itself a "good" dealer. Indeed, in the view of Mike Dick, the general manager of the company and the son of its founder, Guns Unlimited is not just a sterling corporate citizen but also a de facto deputy of the ATF and a vital bulwark in the fight against crime and civil-rights abuse. Nonetheless, Guns Unlimited sold Nicholas Elliot a gun under circumstances that led, early last year, to a jury verdict against the dealer in a civil suit, brought by the husband of the slain teacher, which charged the dealer with negligence.
Federal law bars anyone under twenty-one from buying a handgun, but Nicholas acquired his with ease through a "strawman" purchase three months before the shootings, when he was fifteen years old. Straw-man purchases, in which a qualified buyer buys a handgun for an unqualified person, are the primary means by which America's bad guys acquire their weapons, and one the ATF cannot hope to put an end to, given the implicit and explicit restraints on its law-enforcement activities.
One peaceful September weekend Nicholas Elliot, apparently at loose ends, asked his second cousin, Curtis Williams, a truck driver in his thirties, to take him to look at guns in a gun store. Nicholas had pestered Williams before, calling "all the time," as Williams remembered it. Williams didn't want to go—he was busy stripping wax off a floor in his home and wanted to finish the job that day—but he felt guilty. Williams decided that he could be back in plenty of time to finish stripping the floor.
He suggested Bob's Guns, a few minutes away. When he arrived at Nicholas's house, however, he learned that the boy had other ideas. He didn't want to visit just any gun store, according to Williams's court testimony. He wanted to go to Guns Unlimited, in Carrollton. Williams didn't know the store, but he did know Carrollton.
It was little more than a wide space on Route 17 in Isle of Wight County, a rural wedge of land bordered on the north by the James River and on the east by the Portsmouth-Norfolk metropolitan area. It was a long drive from Nicholas's house, on Colon Avenue in Norfolk's Campostella neighborhood: a round trip of ninety minutes minimum, and that was just travel time. Williams told Nicholas he didn't have enough gas for the trip. The easy, fluid commerce of guns embraced them the moment they entered the shop.
An elderly couple browsing in the store approached almost immediately and offered to sell Williams a gun in a private sale. With the help of Tony Massengill, a firefighter and former policeman now moonlighting as a gun salesman, Williams and Nicholas looked at numerous guns, Nicholas acting more and more like an earnest shopper, not some kid infatuated with guns. Soon, Williams testified, Nicholas was asking to see particular guns and peppering Massengill with detailed questions about muzzle velocity and comparative power. When Nicholas asked to see the Cobray, Massengill obliged.
This did not surprise Williams. He knew a lot of adults who had bought guns for their kids; he knew a lot of kids who had guns. The store was larger then, and configured a bit differently from the way it is now, but it was still small enough that anyone watching would have been aware of the exchange. What Massengill did see, however, became a matter of debate. He claimed he did not remember the sale at all, although, curiously, another employee, present in the store at the time but not actually involved in the transaction, testified later that he remembered seeing the buyers in the store.
This clerk, Christopher Hartwig, also testified that he and Massengill had discussed the purchase after the shootings. Williams testified in court that when the money changed hands, Massengill was still behind the counter at the place where he had last talked with Nicholas, some eight or nine feet away.
Nicholas and Williams returned to the counter to buy the Cobray. Massengill passed Williams a copy of Form Everyone who buys a gun from a federally licensed firearms dealer must fill out this two-page form, which, among other things, asks the would-be purchaser if he is a drug addict, is a convicted felon, is mentally ill, or is an illegal alien; if he has renounced his U. The form goes nowhere.
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It is kept in the dealer's files provided the dealer in fact keeps such files, and keeps them accurately for later reference should the gun be used in a crime and traced by the ATF. By federal law, the buyer need present only enough identification to prove that he is twenty-one or older and resides in the state in which the dealer is located. State and local laws may add requirements. Williams testified that as he began filling out the form, Massengill told him, "The only thing that will keep you from buying this gun here in this store is you put a 'yes' answer to these questions.
Everything should be marked no. If you put a yes up there, that will stop you from getting the gun. Nicholas, meanwhile, had taken the gun from the counter and begun looking it over. He left the store carrying the gun. Immediately after the Atlantic Shores shootings ATF agents arrested Williams and charged him with making a straw-man purchase. He was tried promptly and served thirteen months in prison.
During the trial the federal prosecutor asked him, "What would ever possess someone who's thirty-six, thirty-seven, years old to arrange for a fifteen-year-old young man to get a weapon like that? What no federal authority ever bothered to ask, however, is what would possess Guns Unlimited to allow this sale to be made, given the apparent level of Nicholas's involvement.
I met Mike Dick—his full name is J. The store is one of seven in a tiny mini-mall fronted with a white-gravel parking lot that blazed in the morning sun. Mike and his father, James S. Dick, hold two of the nation's , federal firearms-dealer licenses—two of the 7, licenses issued to residents of Virginia, where gun controls are virtually nonexistent. Dick was late, but two of his clerks arrived and invited me inside to wait. The shop, no larger than a suburban living room, was a fortress. The Dicks had embedded steel "tank traps" in the sidewalk out front, to prevent a recurrence of what has become a fairly routine kind of burglary at the gun stores of America: crashing through the front display window with a truck.
The Dicks installed the tank traps a few years ago, after a thief backed a dump truck into the store. Now an alarm system guards the place at night. The front door has been reinforced with steel. Steel herringbone grates cover the inside surfaces of the two large plate-glass windows. A big Pepsi machine stands against the grate just inside the door as a barrier to anyone hoping to cut through the glass to reach the door locks.
The day I was there, the two clerks wore large-bore handguns strapped to their hips, one a revolver, the other a semi-automatic pistol. One clerk, dressed in black and wearing tinted glasses, told me that he and his partner were careful to stand at different points in the shop so that no one could get the drop on them simultaneously.
He untacked a brief news clipping from the bulletin board behind him and proudly handed it to me. The item reported how just that week a Portsmouth gun-shop owner had shot and killed a would-be robber. No charges were filed. Mike Dick arrived, wearing jeans and a T-shirt. He is a young man whose prior career was in the hospitality hotel and restaurant industry. He joined Guns Unlimited to help his father salvage the business, which in the three years since the shooting had suffered badly—not from public condemnation but from the recession and the sudden decampment of so many military men from the Hampton Roads area during the Gulf War.
The domestic gun industry as a whole has likewise experienced declining sales over the past few years, and last March one of the country's highest profile arms makers, Colt's Manufacturing, filed for protection from creditors under Chapter At the time of the shooting, however, the industry was enjoying a robust surge in sales, and Guns Unlimited was thriving. As of James Dick owned three Guns Unlimited stores. By the time I met his son, however, Guns Unlimited had also been placed in Chapter 11; the Carrollton store was the only one operating.
At its peak the company advertised aggressively on television and with huge billboards featuring a giant handgun and proclaiming, "NO PERMITS," a reference to the fact that in Isle of Wight County, as in most of the rest of Virginia, you don't need a permit to buy a handgun. Regulations are much stiffer in individual cities in the Hampton Roads area, however: Portsmouth, for example, requires that buyers first get a city police permit.
Guns Unlimited used the placement of its three stores to defeat these laws. In a deposition the aforementioned Christopher Hartwig, a clerk at the company until May of , said that if a customer at the Portsmouth store needed a gun right away, a clerk would drive the gun to the Carrollton store and meet the buyer there.
You would want it today if you got the money. So they'd send the gun, you know, to the other store and then all the paperwork, everything, would be done right there. He told me he'd been invited to join the state police firearms advisory board, and had assisted the ATF in numerous investigations, often calling the regional office after—or even during—suspicious transactions.
At the same time, Guns Unlimited sold an especially lethal weapon to an adolescent—a weapon, moreover, that its own staff said served no useful purpose. Hartwig added that one kind of customer did seem drawn to the weapon. We usually joke around about it because that's the first thing they want to look at when they come in, or we get phone calls, 'Do you have an Uzi, do you have an M,' because they see it on TV. They feel pretty powerful having one of those. Nicholas, who is black, was adamant about going to Guns Unlimited.
Traffickers, gang members, and other killers have likewise chosen Guns Unlimited, a fact that has given the dealership a certain notoriety in Virginia's Tidewater region—unjustly, perhaps, but also unavoidably, given the peculiar nature of firearms retailing. In two cases in the s gun traffickers recruited straw-man buyers to acquire large numbers of guns. In both cases, according to documents in Norfolk federal court, the traffickers specifically directed their recruits to Guns Unlimited; in both cases Guns Unlimited did indeed act as an exemplary corporate citizen. In one case, Amir Ali Faraz, a twenty-two-year-old student, asked a friend of his, Matthew Jones, about buying "a couple of firearms"; Faraz couldn't buy the guns on his own, he knew, because his permanent residence was in Pennsylvania and he had only a Pennsylvania driver's license.
Jones got him a Virginia license belonging to a man of roughly similar appearance who had lost it earlier in the year. Jones took Faraz to Guns Unlimited, where Faraz bought six high-caliber handguns—four for himself and one each for Jones and a friend of Jones's who had accompanied them to the store.
In the gun trade buying more than one handgun at a time automatically raises a warning flag; in fact, the ATF requires dealers to mail in a multiple-purchase form any time a customer buys two or more handguns within a period of five working days. Nonetheless, in the absence of specific local regulations, anyone can walk into a gun store and buy a hundred handguns.
The dealer is under no obligation to telephone the ATF, or even to inquire why anyone would want so many guns. All the dealer must do is mail the form by the close of business on the day of the purchase.
Semi Auto MAC 10
The buyer, meanwhile, is free to scoop up his hundred handguns and start selling. The ATF will investigate high-volume purchases, provided it learns of them. If a purchase takes place on a Saturday night, however, the ATF won't see the form for several days. Meanwhile, the guns will begin their rapid migration through the illicit-arms network.
Guns trafficked from Norfolk, Virginia, for example, typically wind up in the hands of crooks in Washington, Philadelphia, and New York, half a day's drive up Interstate 95—nicknamed the "Iron Road" for all the illicit weapons that make the trip. That the notification procedure takes place by mail in an age when virtually every ordinary consumer transaction involves some immediate form of computer verification is but one of the peculiar ironies that characterize arms commerce in America.
Mike Dick managed the first sale to Faraz, and was immediately suspicious, enough so that he telephoned the Norfolk office of the ATF to alert them to Faraz's purchases. He also mailed a multiple-purchase form. Over the next two weeks Faraz returned three times and bought twenty-nine more guns, selling twenty-five to Jones, according to court documents. On the last of these shopping trips Faraz placed an order for thirteen more handguns, all high-quality Glock pistols. Dick telephoned the ATF while Faraz was still in the store, and helped choreograph an undercover operation against Faraz.
Dick allowed the ATF to choose the day on which Guns Unlimited would notify Faraz that the guns he had ordered were ready for pickup. Agents arrested Faraz and, after allowing him to deliver ten guns to Jones, arrested Jones as well. Both men were convicted of violating federal firearms laws.
If I just refuse to sell them weapons, nothing's going to happen. They're just going to go to someone less ethical than myself. And he may send the multiple-purchase form in; he may not send it in. Not all dealers are good. Society did not make out in this deal quite as well as Guns Unlimited did. Yet twenty-nine of the forty eight high-caliber handguns that Faraz bought wound up in Matthew Jones's hands and presumably in the gun-trafficking network.
Some of the guns were kept by Jones, Faraz, and Faraz's friends. In the second trafficking case a local college student, Dean Archer, was recruited to buy guns by a convicted felon. He made his first purchase on December 1, , when he bought four handguns from Guns Unlimited- four pistols made by Davis Industries, a favorite of traffickers who buy them cheaply in Virginia and other jurisdictions with lax controls and then sell them at a steep markup to inner-city buyers.
No one at Guns Unlimited seemed particularly concerned about the purchase. No one felt moved to call the ATF. When the ATF learned of Archer's purchase—three days later—the agency was instantly suspicious and launched a preliminary investigation. A few days after the first purchase Archer reappeared at Guns Unlimited, this time accompanied by a young woman, Lisa Yvonne Scott. Scott bought seven cheap Davis handguns. Again, the form arrived three days after the purchase—more than enough time for those guns to make their way from hand to hand, state to state.
And again, the ATF immediately assumed that something illicit had occurred. By this point, however, eleven of the country's favorite crime guns were on the street. A few days later Scott appeared again and bought thirteen Davis pistols. Nonetheless, Archer and Scott left the store with their new purchases. The total of cheap and deadly Davis pistols bought by the pair had risen to twenty-four.
The two were arrested and convicted. Clearly the store had been helpful to the ATF. But why would Guns Unlimited even consider selling a handgun to a buyer presenting an out-of state license for identification? Dick explained that the clerk accepted the license as identification only because it had a photograph of Archer and established the link between his face and his name. A Norfolk rent receipt and an ID card from a local college established that he lived in Virginia.
The fact that he was enrolled in college explained why he would have a New York license and be renting an apartment in Virginia. Federal law grants a licensed gun dealer broad discretion to refuse to sell to anyone; a brochure mailed to licensees states in bold print, "Know Your Customer. I asked him how he felt knowing that Nicholas Elliot and various gun traffickers had specifically sought out Guns Unlimited as the place to acquire their guns. Because I come out of hospitality, customer service is my number-one concern. Beyond all others.
The ethnicity of an individual, in my restaurants, my hotel rooms, my store, is absolutely unimportant. I don't care what part of town you live in, what race you're of, you're going to be treated like a human being. Dick cut me off. Dick remembers the case well. Dick would later testify that he "somehow missed" that omission. No one at the agency's Norfolk office knew of Hill or had any reason to worry about him.
Dick sold him the guns. I asked Dick why, given his concerns, he made the sale. But do I trample on somebody's individual rights simply because I feel bad and the ATF says I have the discretion to do it? A week after Hill bought the guns, he fired into a crowded street in Philadelphia, killing one man and wounding two. He was found guilty of first-degree murder early last year and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Did it cause you any sleepless nights? I did everything I possibly could have, short of compromising something I feel very strongly about. And that is, I'm not going to decide if you are a worthwhile person or not. He gave me red flags. I checked him out. Had there been anything, had ATF found mental instability in his background, had ATF said he was [dishonorably] discharged, I could have gone to him and said, 'Jean-Claude, I'm not going to sell you these guns.
It's not necessarily tied to any Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms—it's not tied to my right as a retailer not to do business with somebody. I just would not want to put myself in the position of deciding someone else's character arbitrarily based on my own opinion. Empowering people to do that is dangerous. In most jurisdictions in America, however, there is little else to keep guns out of the wrong hands.
Form , far from helping, has become a conduit for the evasion of responsibility. You'd have to be naive indeed to answer yes to any of the eight questions about your criminal background and mental health. And in most jurisdictions no formal channel exists to check the truth of your answers. In Virginia changed its gun laws, establishing an "instant-check" system that requires dealers to run a quick criminal check on every purchaser.
But the system tells nothing about whether a buyer has been committed to a mental institution. One can argue that it is unfair to ask America's gun dealers—businessmen, after all—to go beyond what the law requires of them. Nevertheless, dealers and their official lobbyists—the NRA in particular—played a large role in shaping existing firearms regulations and in making Congress squeamish about establishing anything even faintly resembling a centralized, automated registry of all the nation's gun owners.
Blame aside, Form is flimsy protection indeed for an enterprise under assault from all quarters. Mike Dick must defend against trucks. He must be vigilant for traffickers, killers, and other felons seeking to buy his wares. He wears a handgun to work 40 percent of the time but concedes that it provides only limited protection from robbers.
I came here out of necessity to help my father. It has become a challenge to me, taking a declining business under constant siege by various aspects of society—it is a monumental challenge. My goal is to become profitable enough that at some point we can sell and I can go back to what I do best, and that is run hotels. They are selling a legal commodity. Obviously guns can be used in crimes. We try to deal with them fairly.
Leonard Supenski was a bit less circumspect. Of James Dick he said, "That guy is a pariah. He ought to be turned out of that industry. But ATF didn't do anything. ATF should have nailed him to the cross. Gun aficionados may liken the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to the Gestapo, but in its relationship with America's gun dealers the ATF behaves more like an indulgent parent. This is partly the result of restrictions imposed by budget and statute, and partly an institutional reluctance to offend its primary source of investigative leads or to provoke the cantankerous gun lobby.
The ATF is in the business not of seeking to prevent the migration of weapons, a spokesman told me, but of building and preserving a paper trail for the day when those weapons will be used to commit major crimes. In fairness, the ATF, like the dealers it monitors, is in an almost untenable position. It must police the nation's , licensed firearms dealers with only inspectors, each of whom must also conduct inspections of wineries, breweries, distillers, liquor distributors, tobacco producers, and the country's 10, explosives users and manufacturers. In , of the 34, Americans who applied for a license, only seventy five had their applications denied.
Depending on one's stance in the gun debate, the application process is either too stringent or appallingly easy. An applicant doesn't have to demonstrate any knowledge of firearms, not even whether he knows the difference between a pistol and a revolver. It is much harder to get a license to operate a powerboat on Chesapeake Bay, to become a substitute teacher in New Jersey, or to get a California driver's license—and far, far harder to get a Maryland permit to carry a single handgun—than it is to get a license that enables you to acquire at wholesale prices thousands of varieties of weapons and have them shipped right to your home.
Roughly half of federal firearms licensees don't maintain bona fide stores, according to the ATF, but operate instead out of their homes. Many sell guns at gun shows; many don't deal guns at all but hold a license simply in order to buy their guns at wholesale prices. A small but obviously important proportion use their licenses to buy guns wholesale for distribution to inner-city arms traffickers. My neighbors may not want to hear this, but last May 15 I applied for a federal firearms license as part of an effort to inject myself as deeply as possible into America's gun culture.
The form asked the same eight questions about a person's criminal past and mental health which appear on Form I received my license on June 22, well within the forty-five days in which the ATF is required to accept or deny an application. No one called to verify my application. No one interviewed me to see if in fact I planned to sell weapons. And I was not required by federal law to check with authorities in Maryland and Baltimore about specific local statutes that might affect my ability to peddle guns in the heart of my manicured, upscale, utterly established Baltimore neighborhood.
As far as the federal government was concerned, I was in business, and could begin placing orders for as many weapons as I chose. If the current rate of licensing continues, the number of federal firearms licensees will double in the next decade, to well over half a million—even though the fortunes of domestic arms manufacturers are likely to continue their current decline. With more-intense competition for the shrinking gun-consumer dollar will come far greater incentive to do only the minimum required by law to keep guns out of the wrong hands.
And that's largely true. When law-enforcement officials actually request a federal trace, the ATF tracing network often proves a very effective investigative tool, both in solving crimes and in identifying renegade dealers. A fundamental problem with this approach, however, is that by the time the ATF tracing network gets involved, the guns in question have been used in crime, typically serious crime involving homicide, assault, or narcotics peddling. Current statistics suggest that the ATF is reluctant to police the vast dealer network.
From through the ATF revoked an average of ten licenses a year. The low was in , with none, and the high in , with twenty-seven. This rate seems low given the sheer numbers of licenses and the rate of violations discovered whenever the ATF's skeleton crew of inspectors does routine compliance audits. In , for example, inspectors conducted 8, of these routine inspections; they found violations in 90 percent of them. The ATF publicly argues that the vast majority of licensees are honest, law-abiding citizens, and that only "one or two" go bad.
Even if true, this argument would hardly be comforting, given the speed with which guns migrate. A single illicit dealer can put hundreds, perhaps thousands, of weapons into the hands of would-be killers and felons before a sufficient number of his weapons are used in crimes, and enough of these are traced, to raise the ATF's suspicions.
The fact is, many dealers do operate illegally, as the ATF discovers on those rare occasions when it takes a preventive approach to firearms-law enforcement. A classic example of such enforcement, and the kind that ought to be pursued as a matter of routine, is Project Detroit, an ongoing effort by the ATF and the Detroit police to trace as many guns confiscated in that city as possible.
In its report on the first phase of Project Detroit, covering guns confiscated by the Detroit police from January of to April of , the ATF, typically, was careful to note, "just because [a federal firearms licensee] has sold a large number of weapons that were subsequently used in crimes does not necessarily indicate the [licensee] is intentionally diverting weapons to the criminal element.
Yet of the five licensed dealers who turned up most often in Project Detroit traces, four became the targets of full-scale ATF Investigations. The worst offender was Sherman Butler, of Sterling Heights, Michigan, near Detroit, whose Sherm's Guns accounted for twenty-nine traces stemming from a range of crimes that included at least two homicides. Butler's specialty was the sale of S. Daniel semi-automatics modified to include a sixteen-inch barrel and shoulder stock, thus qualifying them as long rifles and allowing customers to avoid more-stringent federal and state rules governing handgun sales, such as Michigan's requirement that anyone buying a handgun must first have a state license to purchase.
In all, this first phase of Project Detroit involved the tracing of 1, weapons, leading to investigations of thirteen licensed dealers and successful prosecutions against ten. Two suspects died. One case is pending. The ATF discovered that three of these dealers had, as a routine business practice, obliterated the serial number on every gun they received from wholesalers.
The Project Detroit report failed to note what ought to be the most troubling finding of its investigations: that apparently honest dealers accounted for the remaining 1, traces, a fact that testifies again to the high costs imposed on the rest of us by even legitimate gun shops. Indeed, of the top ten dealers, four weren't investigated by the ATF but nonetheless accounted for ten to twenty traces each, including traces involving at least four homicides. In all, Project Detroit traded guns sold by legitimate dealers from New York to Alaska and used subsequently in AT LEAST two kidnappings, thirty-four homicides, and scores of narcotics offenses—again, from only 1, traced weapons.
In his introduction to the report, Bernard La Forest, the special agent in charge, wrote, "What would the results indicate if we had the capability of successfully tracing 10, to 15, weapons seized by all law enforcement agencies in this metropolitan area? He heard about the shooting on the news and quickly volunteered his help to Detective Donald Adams, the Virginia Beach homicide investigator.
Rowley ordered a trace. The serial number was relayed to Tom Stokes, the special agent in charge in Atlanta, who managed after considerable effort to reach Sylvia Daniel by phone. In a departure from the usual frosty relations between her company and the ATF, Daniel agreed to stop by her office on the way to her company Christmas party to look up the serial number herself.
The number led to a distributor, who in turn said he had shipped the pistol to Guns Unlimited. By eleven o'clock that evening Rowley, another agent, and Adams were at Curtis Williams's door. As noted, Williams went to jail. As far as federal law was concerned, however, Guns Unlimited did nothing wrong when it sold the Cobray to Williams, even under such obviously suspicious circumstances. Williams had shown the appropriate identification and had filled out Form properly, dutifully writing "no" after every background question on the form.
No one thought to investigate Guns Unlimited, not even after the suit for negligence yielded a judgment against the company. Nothing that came up during the investigation of Williams pointed to wrongdoing on the part of Guns Unlimited. The most striking thing about his cargo, however, was not the inherent firepower, which was indeed prodigious, but rather the weapons savvy evident in what he had done to the gun and its ammunition to make them even more efficient at killing.
Nicholas loved guns. He read books and magazines about guns. He papered the interior of his school locker with glossy photographs of big-bore revolvers and pistols, the kind that dominate the pages of such magazines as American Handgunner and Guns and Ammo. His love of guns was common knowledge among the other students at Atlantic Shores, and it served to increase his alienation from his peers. In conversation, according to a fellow student, Nicholas had a passion for discussing "which bullets had more firepower. One told a Norfolk newspaper, "All the kids said he was going to shoot someone.
From a length of rope he had fashioned a combat sling similar in concept to slings that anti-terrorist commandos use with the compact Heckler and Koch submachine gun to help control the weapon during combat. He carried a crude silencer made from a pipe wrapped in fabric, and a "brass catcher" he had made from cloth and tape, to be attached to his gun to catch ejected cartridge cases. Nicholas also brought six round magazines, each long and thin and made of gray plastic, giving him a total of bullets ready to fire. He had "jungle-clipped" the magazines—that is, he had taped them together in pairs so that the instant he expended one magazine he could yank it out, flip the assembly, and ram in the fresh end.
Nicholas came prepared for the possibility that he might use up the rounds stacked in the six magazines. He carried hundreds of extra cartridges, including several boxes containing thirty-two rounds each- exactly enough to refill an expended clip. To speed the process of refilling, Nicholas had inserted a thin but strong piece of white string through the base of each magazine. When tugged, Adams told me, the string would pull down the spring-driven feeder inside the magazine, thus easing the resistance.
He could then insert each cartridge more quickly and with less strain. Finally, Nicholas modified even the bullets themselves. He filed a groove into the tip of at least one bullet, apparently in the hopes of turning it into a "dumdum"—a bullet that breaks apart on impact, thereby in theory becoming considerably more deadly. Nicholas modified other bullets by drilling from the tip downward to form "hollowpoints.
Homicide, or rather the homicide fantasy, is one of the engines that drives America's fascination with guns. Target shooters spend hour after hour firing into human silhouettes. Practical shooting competitions held nationwide test civilian competitors' ability to hit silhouettes after leaping from a car. In this context, models of guns used in grisly crimes actually gain popularity. After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, sales of the otherwise undistinguished Mannlicher-Carcano rifle used by Lee Harvey Oswald soared.
Even the murder of schoolchildren can increase sales. After Patrick Edward Purdy opened fire on a school yard in Stockton, California, with an AK, sales of the gun and its knock-offs boomed. Guns Unlimited felt the surge in demand. This passion for lethality suffuses the gun and ammunition design process. Manufacturers routinely test their prototypes by blasting away at blocks of goo—"ordnance gelatin"—intended specifically to simulate human tissue. Their enthusiasm for gore can lead to some vivid advertising. On a recent visit to a gun show at the county fairground in Frederick, Maryland, I stood beside a man and his young son who, like me, were intently watching a promotional video produced by Power-Plus, a maker of exotic ammunition.
The narrator, dressed in a dark T-shirt and speaking in that laconic back-country drawl that characterizes today's notion of toughness, demonstrated his company's rounds by firing a sample of each into a fresh block of yellowish gelatin, with the camera then moving close to offer a side view of the depth of penetration and the jagged wound channel coursing through the translucent plasma. Each round did more damage than the last, until the narrator fired a sample of the company's Annihilator high-explosive cartridge, which slammed into the gelatin, exploded, and knocked the quivering block from its stand.
He did not stop here, however. Next he demonstrated the effects of the company's bullets on a pail packed with clay. This time those of us watching were treated to the additional audio enticement of the wet slapping sound of the clay as the bullets entered, fragmented, and ruptured the surrounding muck, gouging caverns the size of pumpkins. A few men walked the aisles wearing little signs on their backs listing the guns they owned and wanted to sell. Another man had stuck a "For Sale" sign in the barrel of the rifle slung over his shoulder.
Seated behind battered folding tables, dealers sold guns, books, accessories, and ammunition. Several dealers sold books on how to kill and, for those who knew how already, how to do it more effectively—including books on how to make silencers, military manuals on how to make booby traps, Army manuals on how to make "improvised munitions," and a nifty little tome, courtesy of the Pentagon, on how to polish up your sniper skills. Gun writers, too, help orchestrate the mood that so infuses the gun culture. They know what their readers want.
The newsletter Gun Tests routinely rates the penetration power of handguns and ammunition the way Consumer Reports rates new cars. American Handgunner's "Combat Annual" reviews six high-caliber revolvers, calling them "The Ultimate Manstoppers! Soaking up bullet after bullet, a cop-killing PCP freak just won't die! Massad Ayoob's chilling account on page Gun writers often skirt the gory reality of gunplay by deftly avoiding such words as "kill," "murder," and "death," using instead "knockdown," "stopping power," and—my favorite—"double-tap," meaning to shoot a man twice.
Double Tap also happens to be the name of a Virginia Beach gun store, whose sign features a black silhouette with two red holes over the heart.
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To the gun writers, no firearm is unworthy of praise, not even the Saturday-night specials made by the now defunct RG Industries, one of which was used by John Hinckley to shoot President Ronald Reagan and permanently disable James Brady, his press secretary. Moritz tested a. The RG was a little slower.