Gun Lobbyist and Gun Dealer Sandy Abrams Heads to Trial for Illegal Assault Weapon Sales, Cited for 900 Federal Gun Law Violations Over Nearly a Decade

Oct 16, 2007, 01:00 ET from Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence

    BALTIMORE, Oct. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sandy Abrams, who for
 years was the go-to guy in Maryland for journalists who wanted to interview
 an opponent of gun control laws, is set to go on trial Wednesday, charged
 with illegally selling assault weapons to a criminal who used one of the
 guns to shoot at Baltimore County police, and for illegal possession of a
 fully automatic machine gun with a silencer.
     Abrams faces Maryland state charges for illegal gun sales after Federal
 authorities revoked his Federal firearms license last year. National Rifle
 Association attorneys had vigorously defended Abrams and sued to prevent
 the government from revoking his license. The trial is scheduled to begin
 at 9:15 AM in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County.
     "Sandy Abrams shows the NRA's hypocrisy in supporting a 'serial
 violator' of Federal gun laws and using NRA lawyers to keep him in business
 despite Abrams being cited with hundreds of gun law violations," said
 Daniel R. Vice, Senior Attorney at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun
 Violence. "The NRA's opposition to common sense gun laws and support of
 rogue gun dealers highlights the real danger that weak Federal gun laws and
 corrupt gun sellers pose to our communities."
     A Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence report, Death Valley, profiles
 Abrams, one of the leading suppliers of crime guns in America. The report
 cites law enforcement traces of 483 crime guns to Abrams' shop, Valley Gun,
 from 1996 to 2000 alone, ranking it 37 out of nearly 80,000 gun dealers
 nationwide in total crime guns traced to their stores. Valley Gun's
 firearms have been linked to at least 11 homicides, 41 assaults, 49 drug
 crimes, and 101 cases of illegal concealed carrying of guns.
     The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) cited
 over 900 violations of federal law at Valley Gun, including illegal gun
 sales and the disappearance of more than 1/4 of the shop's entire inventory
 - at least 422 firearms "missing" from the store with no record of sale.
 The U.S. Department of Justice called Abrams' shop a "serial violator" who
 has "endangered the public by failing to account for hundreds of weapons."
 Abrams resigned from the National Rifle Association's Board of Directors
 last year, after the Brady Center exposed his citation for hundreds of
     Despite Abrams being cited with 900 Federal gun law violations, weak
 Federal gun laws meant that all ATF was ultimately able to do was revoke
 his license. No Federal criminal charges were ever brought. Moreover, in
 response to an NRA-backed lawsuit, in June 2006, the Bush Administration
 filed legal briefs stating that Abrams would be permitted to transfer
 hundreds of firearms from Valley Gun's inventory to Abrams' "personal
 collection" despite revocation of his shop's license. Abrams now faces
 charges for illegal sales from his personal collection of firearms.
     Abrams is charged with illegally selling felon Keith Showalter a
 Yugoslavian SKS assault rifle, a Bushmaster XM-15 assault rifle (the same
 model used in the D.C sniper shootings), and a Remington semi-automatic
 assault rifle. Showalter had been found guilty of violent crimes and had
 been fined for drug charges, and was barred under Federal law from
 purchasing or possessing a firearm. On February 18, 2007, Showalter fired
 seven shots from an SKS assault rifle at two Baltimore County police
 officers. The officers returned fire and killed Showalter. Abrams is also
 charged with illegal possession of a fully automatic machine gun with a
     Death Valley: Profile of a Rogue Gun Dealer is available online at
     As the nation's largest national, non-partisan, grassroots
 organizations leading the fight to prevent gun violence, the Brady Center
 to Prevent Gun Violence is dedicated to creating an America free from gun
 violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in
 their communities.
     Contact: Peter Hamm, 202-898-0792,

SOURCE Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence