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Dec 5, 2014 7:37 PM

Gun used to shoot George Wallace being auctioned

The Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) An Illinois auction house is selling the revolver that almost killed former Alabama Gov. George Wallace in a 1972 assassination attempt as he ran for president.

Rock Island Auction Co., which specializes in rare firearms, listed the revolver for sale in a Friday auction. Company vice president Judy Voss said the company's investigation shows it is the same gun that was used by Arthur Bremer in the shooting.

"There is no doubt," Voss said.

Voss says the serial number on the gun matches that listed on police reports. Voss says a May 15, 1972, date and initials etched into the gun also match law enforcement records.

Bremer shot Wallace during a Maryland campaign stop for the Democratic nomination for president, which he lost to George McGovern. The shooting left Wallace paralyzed from the waist down and in constant pain for the rest of his life. Bremer at the time said his intent was to gain fame by killing either Wallace or then-President Richard Nixon.

Voss said the serial number on the gun also matches the Casanova Gun shop receipt where Bremer purchased it.

The auction company gave a presale estimated value of between $15,000 and $30,000. It was not immediately known if the gun sold on Friday.

Voss did not say who was selling the gun or how they came to possess it. She said many of their sellers and buyers prefer to remain anonymous. Part of the paperwork accompanying the auction includes a redacted letter referencing a fight between local and federal officials over evidence.

John Erzen, a spokesman for the Prince George's County, Maryland, State's Attorney's Office, said he doesn't know what became of the weapon after the shooting and doesn't know who's selling it.

Bremer, 64, was released from the Maryland Correctional Institution near Hagerstown on Nov. 9, 2007, after serving 35 years of a 53-year sentence for attempted murder.

Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services spokesman Gerard Shields said Friday that Bremer was still living in rural western Maryland. He said Bremer has a job doing home restoration work and has complied with the terms of his release. He has contact with the Division of Parole and Probation twice a month, Shields said.

The Alabama Department of Archives and History has the blood-stained suit that Wallace was wearing that day.

During the civil rights battles in the 1960s, Wallace, as governor, stood in a doorway to try to prevent two black students from enrolling at the University of Alabama.

He had run for governor on a platform of continued segregation for his state and throughout the South, famously delivering the line during his inaugural speech of: "Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever."


A previous version of this story incorrectly said the year etched into the gun was 1952.


Associated Press writer David Dishneau contributed to this report from Hagerstown, Maryland.


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