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Where'd They Get Their Guns?

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

Date: April 4, 1968

Location: Lorraine Motel, Memphis, Tennessee

Alleged Shooter: James Earl Ray

People Killed: One

People Injured: None

Firearm(s): Remington Gamemaster Model 760 30.06 rifle


The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated as he stood on the balcony of his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. Soon after the shooting, a rifle was found wrapped in a bed sheet down the street from the motel. Fingerprints on the rifle led police to James Earl Ray.

How Firearm(s) Acquired

Ray bought the rifle legally at a store. Ray claimed that he was told to buy the rifle by a man named "Raoul," though no such man was ever found.


  1. Scripps Howard News Service, "Chronicle of Ray's Day and the Killing," St. Petersburg Times, 4 April 1993, sec. A, p. 29.
  2. Christopher Sullivan, "25 Years After King Assassination, Questions Nag: Who? How? Why?," Associated Press, 4 April 1993.

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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.