Marvin Patrick Sullivan, a former mental patient, is accused of killing Millbrae, CA police officer David Chetcuti with a rifle that may have been built out of parts ordered through the mail, according to an article in The San Francisco Chronicle.
While the 1968 federal gun control act outlawed selling firearms through the mail, selling such accessories as barrels, grips and magazines remains legal. Still, the integral parts of any gun or rifle-the frame or receiver to which a barrel would be attached-cannot be bought by an unlicensed person through the mail.
Sullivan, with a history of mental illness, would have been unable to buy such parts through the mail, or any other source, the Chronicle wrote. But it seems building a firearm is difficult, but not impossible, for a skilled machinist with the necessary connections to the black market.
Sullivan’s presumed skills may count against him in court. The Bay Area paper reported that prosecutors feel that he cannot be insane if he is capable of the skills and intelligence necessary to order gun parts through the mail as well as through other sources and build a rifle.-JB