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Entries in Firearms (3)

Friday
Jul132012

Bonnie and Clyde’s Guns to Hit the Auction Block

American Stock/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- They could not save Bonnie and Clyde from an ambush by six Texas Rangers in 1934, but guns recovered from the infamous gangster couple’s bodies at the time of their capture are expected to attract sky-high bids at a September auction.

After Texas Ranger Capt. Frank Hamer and his posse gunned down Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow on a road in Gibsland, La., 78 years ago, Hamer found a Colt .38 revolver taped to Bonnie’s inner thigh and a pistol tucked into Clyde’s waistband. Hamer kept them, having been promised by Texas prison general manager Lee Simmons that he could have anything the outlaws carried with them if he succeeded in capturing them.

The guns are scheduled to be auctioned Sept. 30 at RR Auction in Amherst, N.H., along with a gold watch Clyde was wearing when he was killed, a cosmetics case in which Bonnie carried her lipstick, a powder puff, Coty face powder and a letter from Clyde to his brother signed with his code name “Bud.”

RR Auction Vice President Bobby Livingston said the items are all coming from the estate of Robert Davis, a Texas collector who acquired them at an auction in 1986.

Livingston predicted that each gun would sell for between $100,000 and $200,000 but said “the sky is the limit on artifacts that have this type of provenance.”

Two guns seized from Bonnie and Clyde after a 1933 shootout with police in Joplin, Mo., sold for a combined $210,000 to an unnamed bidder in Kansas City earlier this year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr052012

Gun Sales Booming: Doomsday, Obama or Zombies?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Buyers in record numbers are flooding into gun stores, retailers say. Ammo, too, is flying off the shelves. The reasons for the spike, last seen in 2009, include fears that a second Obama administration might restrict gun ownership and the popularity of TV shows devoted to doomsday preparation and killing zombies.

"He's never been pro-gun," says Cris Parsons of President Obama. Parsons, 31, owns a Texas gun purveyor called the Houston Armory. So far, Parsons insists, Obama has been "pretty coy" about his antipathy toward guns--and he likely will remain so during the campaign. To do otherwise would "upset a lot of people."

But if Obama wins a second term, he'll have "nothing to lose," says Parsons.

Alan Korwin, author of nine books on gun laws, including Gun Laws of America, says gun owners are worried that the president, as a lame duck, will clamp down as never before on gun ownership.

Parsons says about 40 percent of Armory customers cite this fear as their reason for stocking up on guns and ammo now, before the election.

"Frenzy" is the word he uses to describe their buying. Dollar sales for the Armory are up 30 to 40 percent this quarter compared to last. Parsons thinks his store's performance is indicative of sales nationally, based on what he hears from dealers, suppliers and other store owners.

Gun maker Sturm, Ruger says that in the first quarter it received orders for more than 1 million firearms--so many that it has now had to stop taking orders. It expects to resume accepting orders, it says, at the end of May.

Stocks of gun makers are surging. Sturm, Ruger's share price is up 55 percent this year. Smith & Wesson soared 91 percent. Sporting goods and hunting retailer Cabela's is up 53 percent.

Other forces besides politics, though, explain the current boom. "There the 'preppers," explains Parsons, "and then there's this whole Zombie Apocalypse thing."

He refers to two hot trends in popular culture.

The first is a National Geographic TV show called Doomsday Preppers that chronicles the preparations being made by people convinced that a doomsday of some kind is coming. A whole industry has sprung up to sell preppers survival and self-dense goods, including guns and ammo.

Then there are zombies--zombie movies, zombie comics, zombie novels, zombie TV shows. Americans' fascination with all things zombie, Parsons says, has grown to such proportions that arms manufactures now have come out with zombie-specific firearms and ammo. Products include a line of Zombie Max ammunition (slogan: "just in case") made by Hornady Manufacturing. "We can't keep it in stock," says Parsons. "It comes in a cool, colorful box with a Zombie on it."

There are more than a dozen manufacturers, says Parsons, making zombie riffles, some with a picture of a zombie on them. The two position on a zombie rifle's safety, instead of being marked "safe" and "fire," are labeled "dead" and "undead."

Says Parsons, summing up the reasons for record gun sales, "You got zombies, you got 'preppers, and you got Obama."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec142011

Most Private Gun Sellers Break Rules, Probe Finds

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- More than six in 10 private gun sellers agreed to sell a firearm to a buyer who said he probably couldn't pass a background check, according to a report released Wednesday by New York City officials as part of an undercover investigation.

Federal law prohibits felons, domestic abusers, drug addicts, and the mentally ill from buying firearms, and federally-licensed firearms dealers are required to conduct background checks and keep paperwork on their buyers. But unlicensed private sellers -- who account for about 40 percent of U.S. gun sales -- do not have to conduct background checks on their buyers. They are prohibited, however, from selling firearms to someone they know to be a prohibited purchaser.

These private sellers have found a safe place to conduct their business in the online market, where sellers' identities are not required and transactions are often not recorded, according to the office of Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

In the last 15 years, a large percentage of firearms sales in the U.S. have moved online, through sites like GunBroker.com, which reported about $1 billion in sales in 2009, up from about $12 million in 2000. The site has over 1.8 million registered users. Many sales on sites like GunBroker.com are, "largely unregulated and undocumented," according to the report, making it difficult to calculate the exact number of online gun sales.

But investigators are certain the online market is vast. This year, on 10 websites alone, investigators found more than 25,000 guns for sale, according to the report.

The report, called "Point, Click, Fire: An Investigation of Illegal Online Gun Sales," documents the findings of city investigators who tried to determine whether unlicensed private sellers advertising firearms online refuse to sell to buyers who could not pass a background check.

Members of the 15-person investigative team posed as illegal purchasers, asking sellers to meet in person to exchange guns for cash. Out of 125 online private sellers in 14 states who advertised on 10 websites, 77 agreed to sell a gun to a buyer who could not pass a background check.

Roughly 82 percent of private sellers who advertised on Craigslist, which prohibits firearms listings, failed the test, agreeing to sell firearms to someone they knew to be a prohibited buyer.

The report offers several recommendations: that federal law should require a background check for every gun sale, not only sales by licensed sellers, that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) should improve enforcement of existing laws by conducting undercover investigations, and that websites should adopt stricter protocols to deter crime.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio