In the continuation of a series on the “hidden life of guns,” the Washington Post tells how a .45-caliber pistol made its way from Brazil to Miami to a wholesale firearms distributor in South Carolina to a pawnshop, where the $250 firearm began a 680-day odyssey through at least four states, four owners, and two crime scenes before ending up in the hands of a 27-year-old parolee who used it to kill Philadelphia police officer Patrick McDonald.
The Post took an in-depth look at the circuitous paths taken by that gun and a .380-caliber FEG semiautomatic pistol used in the slaying of an Indiana state trooper. Both are handguns – the weapon most often used to kill police officers in the past decade. And both deaths occurred after traffic stops, the situation in which officers most often lose their lives. The two guns were initially sold by federally licensed firearms dealers, one at the South Carolina pawnshop, the other at a high-volume gun store outside Chicago. At least three guns sold at the Chicago area store, Chuck’s Gun Shop, turned up in fatal shootings of police, the most of any store in the Post’s review.