French Connection? Gun In Paris Attacks Reportedly Linked To Vermont Employer

Dec 11, 2015

Editor's Note Dec. 17, 2015: A U.S. Department of Justice representative released information that says the firearm referenced below was not, in fact, used in terror attacks in Paris, but was recovered in Mexico in March.

One of the guns used in terror attacks in Paris that killed 130 people reportedly came from the United States through a firearms importer that operates a warehouse in Georgia, Vt.

The Associated Press reported Friday that a Serbian arms factory shipped an M92 semi-automatic pistol to U.S.-based Century International Arms in May 2013. The company’s corporate headquarters are in Delray Beach, Florida but its Vermont warehouse in an industrial park in Georgia is evidently where arms shipments are handled; when arms restrictions prevented the company from importing a shipment last year, company officials announced job cuts at the Vermont location.

Brady Toensing, a lawyer for the company also known for his ties to the Vermont Republican Party, said in an emailed statement Friday that the company is cooperating with authorities.

“We have received an unconfirmed report that a pistol, that was legally imported into the United States and legally sold to a licensed, domestic firearms dealer more than two years ago, may have been recovered from the scene of the Paris shootings,” the statement said. “We are unable to confirm that report, but are assisting authorities with their investigation into this matter.”

The company is known for importing foreign weapons and adapting them to become compliant with U.S. gun laws, then selling them domestically. Century International Arms has also had numerous contracts with the federal government to provide guns and ammunition to the Secret Service, U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and the Army.

Toensing refused to say if the gun linked to the Paris attacks was imported to Vermont or another state.

“Does it matter?” he asked when questioned about this detail.

The full emailed statement from Toensing is below:

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.

We have received an unconfirmed report that a pistol, that was legally imported into the United States and legally sold to a licensed, domestic firearms dealer more than two years ago, may have been recovered from the scene of the Paris Shootings.  We are unable to confirm that report, but are assisting authorities with their investigation into this matter.

Correction Dec. 12 5:58 p.m. An earlier version of this story misstated the name of the model of the firearm in question. It is the M92.