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Where'd They Get Their Guns?

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

Date: August 1, 1966

Location: University of Texas Tower, Austin, Texas

Alleged Shooter: Charles Whitman

People Killed: 17 (shooter killed by police)

People Injured: 31

Firearm(s): Remington .35 pump rifle, Remington 6mm bolt-action deer rifle, .30 M-1 Carbine; .25 pistol, 9mm Luger pistol, Smith & Wesson .357 magnum pistol, and a sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun


Whitman, a former Marine, and a graduate student at the University of Texas in Austin, killed 16 people in the largest mass killing at the time. After killing his mother and wife, and leaving cryptic and rambling notes by their bodies, Whitman lugged a footlocker filled with weapons, ammo, food, and assorted equipment up to the top of the tower in the middle of the University of Texas campus. Arranging his seven weapons on the observation deck, Whitman began shooting, continuing until he was killed by two Austin police officers.

How Firearm(s) Acquired

All of the firearms were legal, although it is not clear how all of them were acquired. Whitman was known as a firearms enthusiast, and none of the weapons he used were illegal or difficult to procure in 1966.


  1. Charles Bowden, "Houston and Ramiro; Heroes from a Shooting Massacre in Austin, 1966," Esquire, 1 February 1999, p. 74.
  2. "Two Austin Men Seek to Buy Some of Sniper's Arsenal," United Press International, 27 July 1989.
  3. Renee Haines, "Memories Still Vivid of the Madman on the Tower," United Press International, 28 July 1986.
  4. Richard A. Serrano, "Massacre and Myth in Texas," Los Angeles Times, 29 July 1994, sec. A, p. 1.
  5. "Secret File Reveals Information About Mass Murderer," Associated Press, 7 July 1986.

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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.