New York Times/August 16, 1999
By Barry Meier

The violent path of Buford O. Furrow Jr., the white supremacist who wounded five people last week at a Jewish community center in Los Angeles and killed a letter carrier there, highlights another aspect of the nation's guns laws: members of hate groups, even those that espouse attacking others, can legally buy firearms or become, as Furrow did, a licensed firearms dealer.

It now appears that Furrow, who belonged to the Aryan Nations, a neo-Nazi group, and was apparently a follower of other hate groups, legally acquired some, if not many, of the weapons that he carried in the Los Angeles shootings prior to his arrest last October. At that time, he pleaded guilty to assault following an attack on a nurse at a Washington state psychiatric hospital where he had gone to seek admission, saying that he was having fantasies of committing a mass killing.

It was only following his release from jail in May that Furrow, as a convicted felon, was barred from owning firearms, though Washington state parole officials apparently never checked to see whether he did. Between 1992 and 1995, the period when Furrow belonged to the Aryan Nations, he was a federally licensed firearms dealer, a position that allowed him to buy guns and ammunition from distributors at a discount. He was subsequently associated with a number of hate groups.

Jeffrey Roehm, a spokesman with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the federal agency that regulates the sale of guns, said that federal officials did not know how many weapons Furrow bought when he had a dealer's license. But Roehm said that a membership in an organization, even those espousing racial violence, does not prevent a person from legally buying guns or becoming a dealer. Along with convicted felons, those barred from gun ownership include illegal aliens, users of illegal drugs, those convicted of domestic assault and those determined by a court to be mentally defective. "Membership in an organization has never been a crime," Roehm said.

David McGee, the owner of the Loaner, Too, pawnshop in Everett, a city about 25 miles north of Seattle, said in a telephone interview that Furrow took out loans on guns he pawned eight times from April to September 1998. In at least one case, McGee said, Furrow bought guns into the pawnshop in the morning to get a loan and then returned later the same day to redeem the loan and get his guns back. One gun involved in that loan was a Glock 9 mm semiautomatic pistol that Furrow used to shoot and kill Joseph Santos Ileto, a letter carrier, because he was a "nonwhite."

The Los Angeles Times reported on Saturday that unidentified federal and state officials had told the newspaper that Furrow had used a Chinese-made Norinco 9 mm semiautomatic rifle in his attack on the Jewish community center in Granada Hills. Officials had said earlier in court papers that the weapon involved was an Uzi.

Jesse Chester, an ATF spokesman in Seattle, said in a interview on Friday that there were "indications" that Furrow had acquired some of the weapons found in the arsenal he brought to Los Angeles in trades after his release from jail in May.



To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.