Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Story From Moscow Gets More Bizarre By The Moment

I spent some time talking to John Wiley of Associated Press in Spokane, and he tells me that there is a lot of head scratching going on right now in Moscow. Contrary to the initial news reports of a broken gun safe, and that Hamilton used an M1A and an SKS, it now appears that he used an M1A and a legal, class III full auto AK-47. He purchased both of those before his domestic violence conviction a couple of years ago. Probation officers did not search his home to take them away, because a domestic violence misdemeanor isn't a disqualifier under Idaho law, only federal law--and probation is a state agency, not a federal one.

This makes me scratch my head--and I let the reporter know that he needs to looki into this. To transfer a class III weapon requires the signature of a police chief, sheriff, or some other Chief Law Enforcement Officer stating that your purchase of a full auto weapon does not violate any state or local law. I would think that having signed such a letter, when Hamilton ended up with this series of problems--domestic violence conviction; hospitalized for suicide attempt; threats to kill lots of other people--that they would have made some attempt to inform BATF that someone prohibited under federal law didn't just have some guns, but a full auto weapon.

The reporter tells me that the bullet holes in some of the cars were evenly spaced, straight lines--consistent with a full auto, but not a semiauto.

UPDATE: What is making less and less sense is that this guy Hamilton worked as a janitor--and somehow he bought a full auto AK-47 (somewhere between $5000 and $10,000, based on these these Idaho class III dealers here and here).

UPDATE 2: This story gets weirder. See here for an update that suggests that Hamilton's AK-47 was not a legal full auto.

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