Expert: Weapon That Killed Abe Was 'No Standard Shotgun'

Police say they found homemade guns in raid of suspect's house
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2022 5:35 PM CDT
Expert: Weapon That Killed Abe Was 'No Standard Shotgun'
Homemade rifles are displayed at an ATF field office in Glendale, Calif., in 2017.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Japanese police said they found multiple homemade weapons in a raid Friday on the residence of the man held in the assassination of Shinzo Abe, several of which are similar to the one they say was used to kill the former prime minister. The murder weapon is more than a foot long and made of two metal barrels attached to a wooden board, NBC News reports. "We are conducting forensics, but clearly it looks homemade," a police official said. Photos and video of the shooting suggested that, per the Daily Beast. "The box-like device is wrapped in black tape, and smoke can be seen coming from the muzzle," a former detective said. "It's certainly no standard shotgun."

The videos showed two extremely loud shots being fired and the weapon emitting a plume of white smoke after each. Homemade guns are not especially unusual, experts said in pointing out what's different about this weapon. "It's clearly electrically fired," said NR Jenzen-Jones, director of the UK-based Armament Research Services. "There’s electrical wire passing through each of those end caps that you can see in one of the images." While cautioning that he can't be sure, Jenzen-Jones said he suspects the gun is "a smooth-bore weapon—by which I mean unrifled, like a shotgun."

Making an improvised firearm, also called a zip gun, is simple enough, said a criminal justice professor in Connecticut. "You can build a go-kart in lieu of a car pretty easily using bastardized parts," John DeCarlo said. "It's the same with guns." Homemade weapons don't show up often in the US because it's still easier to buy manufactured ones, he said. Still, "it's not that uncommon to see production of craft-produced firearms both in domestic and conflict contexts," Jenzen-Jones said, per the Daily Beast. "What's much more uncommon is to see their use." (More Shinzo Abe stories.)

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