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Thursday, February 21, 2013

East Bay Man Built Homemade Machine Guns in Garage Just to See If He Could

Posted By on Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 7:00 AM


There's been much talk lately about where guns come from. Gun shows. Straw purchases at gun shops. Black market dealers. Online auctions. Father's nightstand. Nevada.

Add "residential garage" to the list.

An East Bay man, federal prosecutors claim, built six fully automatic machine guns in his garage.

On Oct. 18, according to court documents, Newark police officers headed to the home of Harry Shepherd Lewis Jr. The department had received a tip that Lewis "might be involved in the manufacture of firearms."

Lewis was cooperative, the complaint states, and admitted making guns from scratch because "he wanted to see if he could actually build a firearm." He then allegedly handed authorities a bag containing all the weapons he had made over the past six months.

In all, officers seized six guns, two silencers, two magazines for .22 caliber ammunition, and one magazine for 9 mm ammo. All of it, FBI agent Todd Dorman wrote in an affidavit, appeared homemade.

The guns were crafted from "metal components" that "appeared to have been assembled by being welded, lathed, and bolted together. The guns had the size and appearance of conventionally manufactured assault weapons, however, the welds of the firearms, and the basic construction of the firearms, were consistent with non-commercial welds and had a homemade appearance."

According to the court documents, Lewis told authorities that all six guns were fully automatic. Five of them shot .22 caliber bullets, and the other shot 9mm rounds. None of them, obviously, had serial numbers.

"Lewis said that all the firearms he manufactured were operable, and said he had conducted test firing of the weapons in his backyard," the affidavit states. "Lewis said he manufactured each weapon in his garage."

Prosecutors charged Lewis with possession of a machine gun, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. Lewis is scheduled for a bail review hearing early next month.

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Albert Samaha


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