A reader/viewer named John sent me this letter after seeing the Richardson Guerrilla Gun video. It was written by Richardson himself in 1965, as part of the formal record on Congressional debate of HR6628, which would have strengthened the Federal Firearms Act. Here’s what Richardson had to say:
Senator THOMAS J.DODD,
Senate Subcommittee To Investigate Juvenile Delinquency,
Washington , D.C.
DEAR SENATOR DODD :
I am writing this statement, at your invitation, in lieu of appearing personally to testify against the proposed legislation H.R. 6628. I would like this to be inserted in the printed record.
Briefly, this type of legislation, if enacted, would not accomplish its purpose, i.e.,stopping criminals from getting guns.
I am qualified to testify on this subject as former Chief of Staff in the Philippine Guerrilla Forces on the island of Leyte, where our jungle arsenal made these same guerrilla guns by the thousands between 1942 and 1944. In addition, I was the first “zip gun” manufacturer in the United States. My company, Richardson Industries, East Haven,Conn., produced and sold over 2,600 guerrilla guns in 1945–46, which sold nationally for $4.98 to $7.98.
Serviceable shotguns, parts and labor, in quantities of 1,000, can be manufactured in any plumbing shop in America for less than $3 each. For an electric type trigger, for high accuracy, the same gun could be produced in quantity for less than $8 each. Fully automatic shotguns, for less than $20 each.
The reason for this low price and ready availability is the fact that the guns can be manufactured from standard 3/4- and 1 1/4-inch water pipe, steel rod, a welding torch and a metal disk with a nipple as a fixed firing pin. The gun is operated by bringing the barrel and shell manually back against the fixed firing pin. There are no moving parts. The electrical model would employ the electrical elements of a Brownie Flash Camera, available at your drug stores anywhere.
Summing up, teenage gangs in any large metropolitan area have made their own “zip guns” when necessary. This is a matter of record and some concern to policemen everywhere. If H.R. 6628 were to be enacted, law enforcement is further complicated by the fact that no record of these homemade gun sales could be made, and that the component parts could be shipped anywhere without fear of detection ,
For those who would deny the effectiveness of this type weapon , I might add that with the refinement of steel tubing, chambering the barrel, electric firing and the addition of a 48- to 56-inch barrel, front sights and magnum load shotgun slugs, the normal “zip gun” can become as accurate and effective as most any model presently available. We did this in the Philippines during the war, by necessity, in less than 6 months. We could and would do the same thing here if the necessity arose, but it wouldn’t take as long.
Rochester, N.Y., July 12, 1965.
Interestingly, this also gives us a rough production total for the original Richardson guns (2,600), assuming the number has not been exaggerated here.
Here is the segment from the Congressional record as a PDF, for those who are interested. Thanks for sending this, John!