The fully automatic M14, spotted at a Texas gun show in the early 1980s, reminded Alfred Pick of the weapon he'd carried as an Army lieutenant in Vietnam. So he bought it, even though the gun was illegal to own and its serial number had been scratched out. Decades later, the 70-year-old former POW and Silver Star recipient has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison for his blunder, per CBS 11. Acting on a tip, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives found the M14 during a search of Pick's Plano home last October, two weeks after the death of his wife from cancer, reports the Dallas Morning News.
After pleading guilty to the gun charge and marijuana possession, per CBS 11, Pick was sentenced to 87 months in federal prison Wednesday. It's a punishment friend Mark Shackelford feels is too harsh. "I would think that when a man turned 70 and is an American hero, you don't destroy the rest of his life for one mistake," he says, adding he never saw Pick take the gun out of its case. "He's had it all these years, never robbed a bank or done anything with it," he continues. "It was probably the piece de resistance of his collection." Pick's attorney agrees it was special among the gun collector's 14 weapons: "He instantly had a connection to it." (Trauma surgeons aren't fans.)