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Where'd They Get Their Guns?

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

Date: Summer 1976 to Summer 1977

Location: New York, New York

Alleged Shooter: David Berkowitz

People Killed: Six

People Injured: Seven

Firearm(s): Charter Arms Bulldog .44 revolver


David Berkowitz, the "Son of Sam" serial killer, stalked young women from the summer of 1976 through the summer of 1977. Berkowitz told police that he was ordered to commit his crimes by "Sam," a 6000-year-old voice that spoke to him through a dog. In addition to the six murders and seven attempted murders, he was charged with assault and possession of a deadly weapon.

How Firearm(s) Acquired

The handgun was illegal. It was acquired through a "straw purchase" for Berkowitz by an old Army friend, Billy Daniel Parker, on June 12, 1976, in a Houston, Texas gun shop. Berkowitz asked Parker to buy the revolver so he would have protection on his drive back to New York City. He could not have legally purchased a gun in Texas himself, as he did not have the proper identification.


  1. Arthur Everett, Untitled Wire Report, Associated Press, 11 August 1977.
  2. Rob Wood, Untitled Wire Report, Associated Press, 12 August 1977.

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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.