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L.A. Police Investigator: Children Can Buy Mail-Order Guns

Jan. 29, 1963 - A Los Angeles police investigator said today that any child could get a mail-order gun “as long as he has a piggy bank, can draw the numerals ‘21,’ and scrawl his name.” Sgt. Kenneth Carpenter, investigator for the L.A. Board of Police Commissioners, made the statement in testimony as hearings on the mail-order traffic in weapons were opened by the Senate subcommittee on juvenile delinquency. “There are no laws adequately regulating mail-order gun sales,” he said. “This means that virtually anyone can get a gun. No one knows just how many of these weapons in the hands of juveniles, juvenile delinquents, ex-convicts, aliens, narcotics addicts, mentally ill persons, and adult criminals have contributed to the tremendous rise in the nation’s crime rate.” He urged federal action, including a ban on interstate shipment of concealable weapons purchased by mail order. Noting that most of the gun sales were solicited by mail-order coupons in “nationally circulated pulp magazines,” Sgt. Carpenter said the dealers often send the buyer a form to fill out. In it, the buyer “certifies” that he is 21, has not been a convict, and is not an alien or a fugitive from justice. “This so-called ‘verification’ is a mere formality, having no regulatory effect upon the flow of gun traffic,” the policeman said.


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