A Cleveland case of one youngster’s shooting another shows the difficulty of tracking old weapons. The seven-shot revolver that 14-year-old Thomas Mattice said he found behind a grocery was used to shoot Jarvis Evans, 10, says the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The boys say they are still friends, though they are not permitted to have contact with one another while Thomas faces felonious-assault charges in juvenile court that could imprison him for three years.
Police asked the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives to trace the gun, but, as with many of the 1,400 firearms Cleveland police have found this year, the search was fruitless. The gun was made 33 years ago by General Precision of Waterbury, Conn. It was shipped to California, then to Ohio, where it was sold by a “supermart” in 1971, the last year for which the agency could find a recorded transaction for it. It was never reported stolen. The gun could have changed hands dozens of times through private or casual sales, which don’t have to be reported to the government, said a police spokesman. “They end up on the street and in the wrong hands,” he said.