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Where'd They Get Their Guns?

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

Date: September 15, 1997

Location: R.E. Phelon Company, Aiken, South Carolina

Alleged Shooter: Arthur Hastings Wise

People Killed: Four

People Injured: Three

Firearm(s): 9mm pistol


Wise had recently been fired from the R.E. Phelon Company manufacturing plant where the shooting occurred. Following his dismissal, Wise had unsuccessfully applied for other jobs at the plant. One of his alleged victims had received a job he wanted. After his alleged shooting spree, SWAT team members found Wise on the floor of an office, apparently having ingested a toxic substance.

How Firearm(s) Acquired

The gun was acquired illegally. Wise had previous convictions for bank robbery, interstate transportation of stolen property, and receiving stolen property. He had spent three and a half years in prison. His criminal background made it illegal for him to own firearms.


  1. Clif LeBlanc, Michelle R. Davis, and Lisa Greene, "Gunman Kills Three, Wounds Four at Plant Where He Was Fired Just Weeks Before," Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, 15 September 1997.
  2. Tracie Powell, "Criminals Have Access to Weapons; Police, Dealers Say a Convicted Felon Like Wise Would Have Had Little Difficulty Getting a Gun," The Augusta Chronicle, 21 September 1997, sec. C, p. 2.
  3. Eric Frazier, et al., "�He's Got a Gun; Victims Recount Horrors,'" The Charleston Post and Courier, 17 September 1997, sec. A, p. 1.

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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.