OMG! It’s an Old Gun! In a Book! OMG!

Maybe we should start spending more time browsing the stacks. Some little blue-haired lady got the shock of her life last week when she cracked open a copy of Outerbridge Reach that had been donated to the Porter County Public Library. The book, according to, had been hollowed out and held – gasp! – a gun . . .

“Somebody just opened it up and said, ‘Oh my,’ ” said Assistant Library Director Phyllis Nelson.

The weapon was described by police as a gold, wooden handle, A.S.M. brand, .31-caliber, single shot, black powder gun.

Oh my. As you can imagine, the little Italian Stallion caused quite a stir. But not to worry, Phyllis made sure the proper authorities were called.

Police determined the gun had not been stolen and it is being held as evidence.

Evidence of what isn’t quite clear. But they have some experience with this kind of thing in the Valparaiso Library.

Nelson said this is not the first time a gun was found in a book donated to the library. There was another incident sometime before she came on staff 12 years ago.

“I’ve just heard the story,” she said.

You just know this will be the subject of stories around the tea pot for weeks.


  1. avatar GS650G says:

    Was the book arrested for possession of a handgun?

    1. avatar speedracer5050 says:

      A felony offense since it had possession on State/Federal Property!!
      The gun will be locked up for the rest of it’s life. Oh yea, it won’t be in jail, probably someone’s gun safe!!!

  2. avatar sanchanim says:

    On a side note, that is truly a rare find! I am sure there are those types of antiques about, but in it’s original book case, is rare indeed.
    I wonder what the story is behind it, and how much it would be worth? I am sure the history on it must be fascinating.

    1. avatar g says:

      I was thinking the same thing… I wonder what amazing story is behind this antique gun – who bought and why? What sort of history has it had?

    2. avatar Crash says:

      If that pistol is ever auctioned they should include the book. Part of the history.

  3. avatar Bob's Yer Uncle says:

    We were not allowed to have guns in the dorm room when I was in college. So I kept my Browning Hi-Power in a hollowed-out dictionary. Worked Great!

    1. avatar Hinshelworld says:

      Love my Hi-power…

  4. avatar Oddux says:

    Sad part: that should have its history traced and be put in a collector’s case, but will now sit in a cardboard box in an evidence warehouse for ages.

  5. avatar Mark N. says:

    An ASM is not an antique. Armi San Marcos, from Italy. Like a Pietta or Uberti.

    1. avatar Thomas Paine says:

      yeah, maybe it’d go for $75.

  6. avatar jwm says:

    All I want to know is how that damn book got a ccw and me, a law abiding citizen, can’t get one based solely on my zip code.

    Instead of a gun free zone I live in a constitution free zone.

  7. avatar MBryant says:

    I think I will update my library card & check-out some books.

  8. avatar Gerald Kuntze says:

    Is this even legally a firearm?

  9. avatar Aharon says:

    Never judge a book by its cover. Knowledge + action = power. Keep reading.

  10. avatar APBTFan says:

    Am I the only one that woulda kept it? Book and all – pay the fine for the book and have a great story.

  11. avatar Dean Weingarten says:

    The pistol is an A.S.M. .31 caliber muzzleloader. It was made in Italy and available in the U.S. in the middle 1980’s.

    It can be converted to .22 rimfire with a barrel sleeve. I had a couple of them, but had problems with the mainspring breaking.

    Someone did a nice job on hollowing out the book. It is not as easy as it looks.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      While I certainly agree that hollowing out a book is difficult, this looks llike a manufactured one made for that purpose, probably was included with a donation of used books from someone’s estate. Notice the latch and the lined interior.

  12. avatar DonN says:

    That is fantastic!


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