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Entries in guns (11)

Sunday
Jun162013

Texas Gov. Rick Perry to Tour Conn. Gun Manufacturing Plants

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WEST HARTFORD, Conn.) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry will tour gun manufacturing plants in Connecticut on Monday and extend an open invitation to manufactures to set up shop in Texas.

During the job tour, Perry will visit the Colt manufacturing plant in West Hartford, Conn., and Connecticut gun-maker Mossberg & Sons in North Haven, Conn., hoping to lure them and other firearm companies to Texas.

A number of gun-makers in Connecticut have said they're looking into leaving, after the state passed some of the toughest gun laws in the country in response to last year's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The legislation bans the sale of certain types of weapons but doesn't restrict manufacturing.

Colt's president says that Colt was proud to call Connecticut home for 175 years, but, now needs to consider all options.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
May102013

State Department Orders 3D Gun Plans Offline

File photo. Image Source/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A non-profit corporation has removed plans for a 3D-printed firearm from its website, saying it was ordered to do so by the U.S. State Department.

“#DEFCAD has gone dark at the request of the Department of Defense Trade Controls. Take it up with the Secretary of State,” the Twitter account associated with the nonprofit Defense Distributed tweeted Thursday.

Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson told Forbes Magazine he received a letter from the State Department Thursday, ordering him to remove blueprints for several 3D-printable weapons Wilson posted on the Internet, claiming these documents could have violated U.S. laws regarding the sale of weapons internationally.

A State Department spokesperson told ABC News Friday that they do not comment on individual cases of this nature, but confirmed that they had been in contact with Defense Distributed.

“In accordance with the Arms Export Control Act, any person who engages in the U.S. in the business of manufacturing or exporting defense articles, furnishing defense services, or engages in arms brokering covered by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) is required to register with the State Department (via the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls),” a State Department spokesperson said in an email to ABC News Friday.

“The U.S. government views the export of defense articles and defense services as an integral part of safeguarding U.S. national security and furthering U.S. foreign policy objectives. The United States is cognizant of the potentially adverse consequences of indiscriminate arms transfers and, therefore, strictly regulates exports of defense items and technologies to protect its national interests and those interests in peace and security of the broader international community,” the spokesperson wrote.

Defense Distributed writes that its mission is to “defend the civil liberty of popular access to arms” by making information on how to print 3D weapons available internationally.

The corporation tested the first fully 3D-printed gun at a range in Texas on May 2. The gun successfully fired a round, according to Forbes Magazine, which sent a photographer along to capture the event.

British 3D printing company Digits2Widgets warns 3D printers made for private use in homes are not capable of producing a weapon like the one demonstrated in Defense Distributed’s video.

“The level of precision detail that they can achieve and the poor engineering quality of their own plastic materials would make it suicidal to attempt to print and fire the gun made from any of these machines,” the company wrote in a blog post Wednesday.

Defense Distributed did not respond to a request for comment Friday.

Wilson, a Texas law student who lists anti-statist and libertarian philosophers as his influences, appeared in a YouTube video, firing a gun with a 30-round, 3D-printed magazine in February. At that time, Wilson told ABC News he was hoping to change the debate over proposed gun control restrictions that have since died in the Senate.

Government leaders “act like passing a law will keep magazines off the street, but we want to show them that magazines will always be on the street,” he said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan182013

Gun Store Owners React to Obama’s Firearms Proposal

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After President Obama proposed federal laws to require background checks for all gun purchases, reinstate a ban on some assault-style weapons, and other actions, gun store owners had mixed reactions when asked how the possible changes could affect business.

“It’s not going to have an impact on our sales,” Jerry Aday, a store owner in Topeka, Kan., told Kansas First News.  ”As such, what’s having the impact on it is the fact that people are fearful they might not be able to buy anything, and our government is going to start tracking guns and that type of thing.”

Aday said when it comes to gun safety, the best bet is to focus on education programs.

He said last year gun sales were steady, but spiked in December.

“I want the gun laws, or whatever passes, to pass, to have an impact on the crime, an impact on the killings, an impact on the criminals,” he said.

At a shooting range and gun store in Raleigh, N.C., Lynn Howard, owner of the PDHSC gun shop, was anticipating the effects if national legislation is enacted.

“This is the doors being opened.  If this goes forward, what will fall next?” Howard said in an interview with ABC News affiliate WTVD-TV.

Customers also expressed concerns for their Second Amendment right to bear arms.

“It’s not the ‘Bill of Needs.’  It’s the Bill of Rights.  It’s our right, as a citizen, to own whatever firearm we desire,” said Derek Ward, a customer.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec242012

Assault Weapons Ban Talk Sparks Rise in Gun Sales

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The National Rifle Association may still get its way and defeat the lawmakers calling for a ban on the sale of assault rifles, but some gun store owners say it seems their customers aren't taking any chances.

"We have never seen anything like this," said Larry Hyatt, who owns a gun shop in Charlotte, N.C.  "We have the Christmas business, the hunting season business, and now we have the political business."

"We have seen a lot of things, but we have never seen anything like this, this is probably four times bigger than the last time we saw a big rush," he said.

Some of the customers in his store said it is the talk of stricter gun control in the wake of the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that is driving the rush.

"The way they are trying to approach it, they are just making people who have never thought about buying a gun, now they want to come in here and buy a gun," one customer said.

At NOVA Firearms in Falls Church, Va., there have been "skyrocketing" sales following the Newtown shooting, chief firearms instructor Chuck Nesby said.

"They've been off the charts.  Absolutely skyrocketing," Nesby said.  "If I could give an award to President Obama and Sen. Feinstein [it] would be sales persons of the year."

He was referring to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who said she will introduce an assault weapons ban in January.

Sales are up 400 percent, Nesby said.

"We're completely out of the so-called assault weapons, semi-automatic firearms that are rifles," he said.  "Forty percent of those sales went to women and senior citizens.  We can't get them now.  Everybody, nationwide is out of them -- the sales have just been off the charts nationwide."

The shooting on Dec. 14, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza broke in to the elementary school and killed 20 children and six adults with a semi-automatic rifle, has even some former NRA supporters saying it's time to change the rules on assault weapons.  

Those guns were banned from 1994 until 2004, when the ban expired and was not renewed.

Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas suggested Sunday on CBS' Face the Nation that new regulation should be considered.

"We ought to be looking at where the real danger is, like those large clips, I think that does need to be looked at," Hutchison said.  "It's the semi-automatics and those large magazines that can be fired off very quickly.  You do have to pull the trigger each time, but it's very quick."

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat but a long-time opponent of gun control who like Hutchison has received an A rating from the NRA, has also come out in support of strengthening gun laws.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec192012

Bushmasters Disappearing from Shelves After Newtown Shooting

iStockphoto/Thinkstock (file photo)(NEW YORK) -- Two reasons explain why the Bushmaster rifle -- the weapon implicated in the mass murder of children in Newtown, Conn. -- is disappearing fast from gun store shelves: It's been vilified and it remains hugely popular.

Customers are buying Bushmasters so fast that stores have trouble stocking it.

"We sold 14 yesterday," says Ross Meyer of Gunworld & Archery in Elko, Nev.  "That's way up.  All of our suppliers are out of them."

Andrew Molchan, director of the National Association of Federally Licensed Firearms Dealers (NAFLFD), says, "Naturally, when something's a lot in the news, it has increased sales.  I doubt there's much inventory left at this point.  There are no discounts, that's for sure."

Daniel, an assistant manager at Discount Shooters Supply in Roseville, Calif., tells ABC News, "We don't really have a lot in stock, because it's been so popular.  They've been selling faster than manufacturers can produce them."  His store, he says, has only one left on display.

The Bushmaster is only one version of a generic rifle called the AR-15, a civilian cousin of the M-16 developed for the U.S. Army in the 1960s.  Other manufacturers produce versions of their own, most at a lower price than the Bushmaster, which retails, says Molchan, for $700 to $900.

Smith & Wesson, Colt, Remington, Ruger, Olympic Arms and others make AR-15s.  "There probably are 30 to 40 different manufacturers," says Daniel of Discount Shooters.  

Prices for Bushmasters have risen by as much as 50 percent since Friday, the store reports.  The weapon's notoriety, though, cuts two ways.

Cerberus Capital, a New York City firm that owns Bushmaster, announced on Tuesday it would be selling the company and the subsidiary that includes it.

Calling the Connecticut shooting a "watershed event," Cerberus in a statement said, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and communities impacted by this tragic event."

Major retail chains, including Dick's Sporting Goods, have announced they are suspending sales of Bushmasters or similar rifles, partly as a gesture of respect to those killed, but also to insulate themselves from public censure.

Dick's, in a statement posted on its website, says: "We are extremely saddened by the unspeakable tragedy that occurred last week in Newtown, CT, and our hearts go out to the victims and their families, and to the entire community.  Out of respect for the victims and their families, during this time of national mourning we have removed all guns from sale and from display in our store nearest to Newtown and [have] suspended the sale of modern sporting rifles in all of our stores chainwide."

Walmart, without making any public comment, has pulled Bushmasters from its website.

Molchan dismisses such gestures as commercial expediency.

"Dick's?  The AR-15 represents maybe 1/ 200th of their gross sales.  They'll suspend selling it, but they'll get $10 million in free publicity.  Even more so with Walmart.  [The gun is] maybe 1/10th of 1 percent of their gross sales.  I guess it's the right thing to do.  It's certainly the right P.R. thing to do," he says.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec182012

Investment Firm Drops Stake in Bushmaster Group in Wake of Shooting

iStockphoto/Thinkstock (file photo)(NEW YORK) -- A major investment firm said on Tuesday it is dropping its stake in the group of companies that manufacture the assault-style rifle that officials said was used in last week's rampage at a Connecticut elementary school.

Calling the shooting a "watershed event" in the national debate on gun control, Cerberus Capital, a New York-based firm that manages over $20 billion, said in a statement Tuesday it planned to sell off its investment in the Freedom Group.  Freedom Group bills itself as a "family" of more than a dozen firearm companies including Bushmaster Firearms.  

Officials said it was a Bushmaster assault-style rifle, the civilian version of the military's M-16, that 20-year-old Adam Lanza used in a majority of the rampage that took the lives of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday morning.

"It is not our role to take positions, or attempt to shape or influence the gun control policy debate. That is the job of our federal and state legislators," Cerberus said on Tuesday.  "There are, however, actions that we as a firm can take.  Accordingly, we have determined to immediately engage in a formal process to sell our investment in Freedom Group... Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and communities impacted by this tragic event."

Bushmaster has not responded to an emailed request for comment from ABC News and has not addressed the deadly incident on its website as of this report.

Cerberus' move comes as investigators said they will be going back to the beginning -- back to the day Lanza was born and the day the Bushmaster was manufactured -- in an attempt to figure out what may have caused the troubled young man to so easily get his hands on such a deadly weapon.

Officials said the rifle was purchased legally by Lanza's mother, Nancy, in 2010, well after family friends said Lanza's behavioral issues were clear.

Richard Novia, the advisor for the tech club at Newton High of which Adam was a member until he left the school two years ago, said that Lanza could not feel pain and if he cut or hurt himself, "he would not know it."

Ryan Kraft, a former baby-sitter of Lanza's, said Nancy told him never to leave her son alone, "never even to go to the bathroom or turn [my] back on him at any time."

Police have not said exactly what model of AR-15-type semi-automatic rifle Lanza used -- and Bushmaster offers more than a dozen different types, not to mention a host of modifications that can be made to the guns -- but generally the weapons can take a high-capacity 30-round magazine and have an effective firing rate of 45 shots per minute, according to a Bushmaster manual posted online.

A February report by Guns and Ammo magazine noted a growing demand in recent years for AR-15-type rifles -- and specifically those loaded with .223 caliber bullets as Lanza's was -- for use in home defense.  The .223 caliber load is popular, the article says, because it has better fragmentation upon impact, meaning it will deal a lot of damage with less chance of accidentally continuing through the target and endangering whoever's in the background.

"This thing is just a killing machine," Josh Horwitz, Executive Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, told ABC News Monday.  "It's designed, like I said it was designed... very similar to the weapon that's used in the battlefield."

Connecticut's gun laws are some of the toughest in the country, according to anti-gun groups, but they do not specifically ban the Bushmaster AR-15-type guns and the weapon can be easily modified to dodge other restrictions.  On Bushmaster's website, the company offers to help customers make sure their assault-style rifles are "state compliant."

"But it's still just as deadly because what makes it dangerous is the ability to take almost unlimited amounts of ammunition and a pistol grip," said Horwitz.  "That's what allows the shooter to keep the barrel down on the target."

Forensic psychologist Michael Welner told ABC News on Tuesday that while the shooting has certainly reinvigorated America's decades-old gun debate, the media has been missing an important part of the lesson from the shooting: the crush of media coverage gives mass shooters exactly what they want.

"If you can keep an assault rifle out of his hands the body count will drop, and that's great, but the mass killings will continue to happen unless, systemically, we do address it as a social phenomenon and recognize that there are things that promote it, for example, his picture on our screen and us even caring to go all the way back to find out what his grievance is..." Welner said.  "He's looking for legitimacy... [Shooters] want to go from irrelevance to hyper-relevance."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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

Friday
Dec022011

Guns Were Big Sellers this Black Friday

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Americans were big spenders on Black Friday -- especially when it came to guns.

Numbers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation show an all-time one-day high for background check requests from gun buyers last Friday. There were 129,166 requests to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) -- a third more than the previous record of 97,848 on Black Friday 2008, FBI spokesman Stephen Fischer said. On Black Friday last year, there were 87,061 requests.

Gun buyers may be on a shopping spree partly because of the economy and its impact on the criminal justice system, suggested Andrew Arulananbam, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association. “They read in the headlines stories about prisoners having furloughs and law-enforcement being laid off,” he said. “They realize it’s going to be up to them to protect themselves and their families.”

But Caroline Brewer, a spokeswoman for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said the Black Friday sales surge “might say something about marketing” but didn’t reflect actual patterns in U.S. gun ownership.

“The trend that has been observed for decades now is that fewer and fewer Americans own guns, but those who do own continue to add to their stock,” Brewer said.

She cited the University of Chicago’s General Social Survey, which found that household gun ownership hit its peak in 1977, when 54 percent of American households reported having any guns. By 2010, this number had dropped to 32 percent; not coincidentally, gun laws in many states across the country became increasingly restrictive in the years since hitting that high water mark.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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