Century Arms unrelated to Paris attacks

Posted at 7:28 PM, Dec 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-17 19:28:18-05

Federal authorities confirmed Thursday a gun imported to a Delray Beach firearms dealer was not the same gun used by Islamic militants in the Paris attacks last month that killed 130 people.

Instead, the gun imported to Century Arms in Delray Beach is currently in the possession of the Mexican Government, according to the feds.

In a statement released to the Contact 5 Investigators, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice issued the following statement:

"After further investigation of the firearm mention in the Associated Press story it is clear the firearm reported in previous stories is not related to the Paris attacks. The firearm reported in the story did go to the importer Century Arms located in the United States. However, the chain of distribution for the firearm shows it was eventually sent to a federal firearms licensee in the United States where it was purchased by an individual in February 2014. ATF later traced the firearm at the request of the Mexican Government when it was recovered at a crime scene in March of this year. It remains in custody of the Mexican Government where it is being used as evidence in a trial."

The spokesperson added, "at this time no firearm(s) used in the Paris attacks have been traced by ATF." ATF stands for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  It is the federal agency that tracks guns.

Last week, Century Arms, an online gun dealer with an office off Congress Avenue in Delray Beach, made headlines when the head of a Serbian firearms factory told the Associated Press that a gun they shipped to Century Arms in 2013 matched the serial number of a gun used in the Paris attacks.

Century Arms responded at the time by issuing a statement saying they could not confirm the link but that the gun was legally imported to the company and legally sold by the company.  Century Arms also stated they were fully cooperating with investigators.

Now Century Arms is blaming the media for rushing with the story.

"This false AP story was readily checkable, but was not," stated Brady Toensing, a D.C. based attorney representing Century Arms.  "At a minimum, the AP should have waited for a response from the United States Government.  And it should have performed an elementary-level review of the United States import laws, which require that all firearms imported into the United States have specific markings on them.  Performing proper due diligence and verifying whether the firearm had the required United States import markings should have been, but was not, done before reporting this story," Toensing said in a statement to the Contact 5 Investigators.

Toensing added:  

Century employs nearly two hundred men and women in high-quality, manufacturing-related jobs.  Indirectly, the company supports dozens more jobs through the work it sends to vendors.  For more than fifty years, Century has sold high-quality sporting arms to meet the demands of its customers.  The firearms sold by Century are in common usage throughout the United States for hunting, range shooting, historical-collecting, and home defense.

Century has an active and vibrant training and compliance program.  The company abides by all federal, state, and local laws and regulations.  Century expects the firearms it ships to licensed firearms dealers in the United States to be sold in strict compliance with the law. United States law forbids the selling or transfer of a firearm to anyone outside of this country without approval from the United States Department of State.  Century also expects that anyone who breaks these laws will be found and prosecuted.

The United States Government has confirmed that the firearm mentioned in an Associated Press story, upon which numerous other stories were based, was legally imported into the United States and legally sold to a licensed firearms dealer in the United States.  That firearm, according to that confirmation, is unrelated – repeat unrelated – to the Paris attacks.  Therefore, the Associated Press story is wrong and should not have been reported. 

WPTV has contacted the AP, which is currently reviewing the matter.