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Where'd They Get Their Guns?

An Analysis of the Firearms Used in High-Profile Shootings, 1963 to 2001

Date: December 7, 1993

Location: Long Island Railroad, Long Island, New York

Alleged Shooter: Colin Ferguson

People Killed: Six

People Injured: 19

Firearm(s): Ruger P-89 9mm pistol


Ferguson, a native of Jamaica, opened fire on commuters inside a Long Island Railroad train as they were returning home from New York City. On Ferguson, police found angry rants jotted on pieces of paper detailing the shooter's rage toward various ethnic groups, including blacks, whites, Asians, as well as New York State officials.

How Firearm(s) Acquired

Ferguson legally purchased the handgun at Turner's Outdoorsman, a California sporting goods store. To purchase the handgun, Ferguson had to show proof of residency. After having acquired a California driver's license using the address of the motel where he was staying, Ferguson passed the background check and waited the mandatory 15 days before picking up his gun.


  1. James Barron, "Death on the L.I.R.R.: The Overview; Portrait of Suspect Emerges in Shooting on L.I. Train," The New York Times, 9 December 1993, sec. A, p. 1.
  2. Mike Mokrzycki, "Massacre on Commuter Train: Gunman Was Driven By Racial Hatred," Associated Press, 9 December 1993.
  3. "Pistol Bought Legally, Says California Dealer," Chicago Sun Times, 9 December 1993, p. 7.
  4. "25 Days Until 2000; This Day in History," Daily News, 7 December 1999, p. 3.
  5. Joseph B. Treaster, "16 Days in California and a Fateful Purchase," New York Times, 9 December 1993, sec. B, p. 10.

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 All contents � 2001 Violence Policy Center


The Violence Policy Center is a national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals. The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related death and injury.