An employee of WTS Paradigm in Middleton, Wisconsin shot four co-workers last Wednesday. Three were hospitalized and are recovering. One was grazed by a bullet, treated, and released. The shooter, Anthony Y. Tong, was killed in a shootout with police.
Tong was prohibited from possessing firearms in 2004, after an incident in which he exhibited paranoia. When his home in Madison, Wisconsin, was searched, firearms parts, ammunition, and a silencer were found, according to police.
The search of Tong’s house at 9738 Gilded Cider Blvd. following a court-authorized, no-knock entry revealed a cache that included six ammo storage cans filled with nearly 100 boxes of ammunition of varying calibers; black powder guns, a pellet gun and a knife; three ammunition belts, multiple magazines, scopes and a silencer; ballistic vests and helmet; and more than a dozen computers. The items were scattered in three bedrooms, the basement and living room.
The ammunition and silencer listed above were illegal for Tong to possess. The other items listed in the report are generally not prohibited and don’t require a background check to purchase.
As a prohibited person, there was motivation to obtain firearms and ammunition by means other than purchase from a federal firearms licensee.
It’s also unclear how he acquired the pistol since he couldn’t legally purchase firearms. A search warrant unsealed Friday afternoon shows Tong had a cache of gun parts in his home, suggesting he may have built the pistol himself. Foulke said federal authorities were having trouble tracing the gun’s origin, calling the weapon “unique.”
One reason for the gun’s “unique” status would be if the firearm were homemade.
In an industrial society, firearms are not difficult to make. People have been doing that for hundreds of years. It is difficult to enforce gun control laws when the First Amendment insures that all the technical knowledge needed to make firearms is readily available on any smart phone.
Firearms can be built with tools no more sophisticated than a drill, a hammer, and a few files. Multiple sources of high quality steel are readily available.
In 1977, police in Washington, D.C. reported that one fifth of the guns they confiscated were homemade.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, Analysis of Operation CUE (Concentrated Urban Enforcement), interim report 133-34 (February 15, 1977).
In countries with extreme restrictions on gun ownership, individuals or criminal enterprises often make their own firearms, including submachine guns. Homemade submachine guns are found from the Philippines to Brazil, from Israel to Canada and Australia.
It will be interesting to see if the AP reporter is correct in suggesting the handgun used by Tong was, in fact, homemade. It seems that no matter how many laws are enacted to disarm a society, anyone who really wants a firearm — criminals included — manage to find a way.
©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.