Fact Sheet on the Manufacturer of the Gun Reportedly Used in the Shooting at Theo J. Buell Elementary in Flint, Michigan

According to the Detroit News, a 32-caliber Davis Industries semiautomatic pistol was allegedly used by a 6-year-old boy to shoot and kill his first grade classmate.

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Dealer literature describes the Davis P-32 as “our original pocket pistol.”
Davis Industries Pistols Traced to Crime Scenes by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in 1997

Area 32 caliber pistols All pistols
Michigan 57 242
U.S. Total 1,062 4,722

Davis Industries Pistol Production History

Year .22 .25 .32 .380 9mm .45 Total
1986 21,286 4,060 8,034 0 0 0 33,380
1987 24,557 3,525 36,316 0 0 0 64,398
1988 27,215 2,901 56,317 0 0 0 86,433
1989 26,618 2,818 54,894 19,919 0 0 104,249
1990 28,492 3,770 40,888 70,102 0 0 143,252
1991 29,915 2,886 37,459 100,816 0 0 171,076
1992 37,114 3,532 38,126 109,007 0 0 187,779
1993 43,501 4,465 31,729 98,576 0 0 178,271
1994 21,124 1,075 13,032 31,380 18,513 0 85,124
1995 11,283 281 3,959 26,866 2,782 0 45,171
1996 10,013 614 4,696 22,099 1,671 0 39,093
1997 9,024 547 4,874 20,321 1,859 0 36,625
1998 8,537 360 4,822 17,947 1,642 0 33,308

Company Facts:

Davis Industries is one of six companies in southern Califonia known for manufacturing the majority of Saturday Night Special handguns, or “junk guns,” in the United States. In a 1992 Wall Street Journal article, reporter Alix Freedman noted that Davis Industries was founded in 1982 by Jim Davis and his wife Gail. Gail Davis is the daughter of Saturday Night Special patriarch George Jennings. Wrote Freedman, “Low costs and high production are key….The popular Davis derringers account for about 25 percent of Davis’s annual production…and they pay off all overhead, letting Jim Davis make pure profit from the rest of the product line.”

According to its promotional material, dealers, “Look to Davis for value….Davis Industries has been offering Americans one of the finest selections of affordable arms for personal protection for over ten years now.” Davis handguns are made of an inexpensive die-cast zinc alloy and are sold at low prices at or below $100. Davis’ “smaller than palm-sized” .22, .25, and .32 Standard Series models are “handy little spitfires [that] list for just under $70!” The Journal reported that the Davis .380 pistol had a production cost of $15, a wholesale price of $55, a dealer price of $63 to $68, a retail price of $95 to $100, and an illegal street price of $150 to $600. One advertisement aimed at dealers states, “More than ever, Americans want value. They don’t mind paying a fair price for quality goods but the goods have to deliver on their promise…every Davis gun is priced to let you maintain a full profit markup and still give your customers a terrific deal. That’s Value with a capital ‘V.'”

In 1995 Davis settled a product liability lawsuit brought by a first-time gun owner whose Davis P-380 pistol exploded while he was practicing with his new weapon. The man’s hand was injured and a shell casing fragment lodged in his eye, requiring surgery. Davis settled for $40,000.

 

 

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