Teen Tries To Buy Gun Company

Even in a hospital bed, paralyzed from the neck down, 17-year-old Brandon Maxfield says he won't be defeated.

"I've got a job to do. And I'm doing it," he says. "I'm determined to do it, and I'm gonna do it."

Maxfield is taking on Bruce Jennings, owner of Bryco Arms, the leading maker of cheap handguns known as Saturday night specials. He and his family want to buy the company to shut it down, reports CBS News Correspondent John Blackstone.

Says Brandon's mother, Susan Stansberry, "I'm scared somebody else might turn out to be like Brandon if we don't get these guns off the street."

Ten years ago, when Brandon was seven, one of Bryco's guns misfired, as a family friend was unloading it.

Brandon was hit right in the chin and the bullet went through the back of his neck. His spine was shattered.

Susan sobs as she says, "Before the accident, Brandon used to ride bikes, run with his brothers."

Jennings declined an interview for this story. But in the past, he has defended his inexpensive handguns by turning to the Constitution.

In an October 1998 interview, Jennings said, "The basic right of firearm ownership has been in this country forever."

A jury ruled Jennings's gun design was defective and awarded Brandon $24 million. But Jennings didn't pay, he declared bankruptcy.

Says Richard Ruggieri, Brandon's attorney, "Mr. Jennings has employed bankruptcy as part of his business plan. And that's wrong!"

The bankruptcy court was then set to sell the gun factory to a former employee for $150,000.

But Ruggieri says, "They're going to generate millions of more guns with the same flaw as far as we can tell."

But now Brandon has raised $175,000 to bid for the factory himself.

"If I bought it, I'd melt down all the guns, keep them off the streets, and keep kids from getting hurt," says Brandon. "Maybe God dealt me a card to get these guns off the street."

Whether he gets his wish or not is up to a bankruptcy judge.


By John Blackstone
  • Raksha Shetty

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