The firearm that brought back capital punishment to America.
The Gilmore Gun – Echo of Murder
The Gilmore Gun – Echo of Murder, is a fascinating account of a key crime in American history and the tale of the gun involved. Amazingly, there are times when the criminal has a higher commitment to justice than many in the system. Stilson preserves an important record with this book. —Larry Pratt – Executive Director of Gun Owners of America.
My favorite quote in the book was I didn’t realize how much opinions about guns differ in America. I simply never considered other’s lifestyles.This book tells a true and tragic story of a failed family and a piece of equipment that became famous because it was used to do a terrible evil. –Jeanie Almond– Director of Education – Elm Fork Shooting Sports -Dallas, Tx.
In the spring of 1976 Gary Mark Gilmore was released from an Illinois prison on a parole agreement to the care of his relatives in Provo, Utah. He was thirty five years old and had already spent the majority of his life incarcerated. A few months later in July 1976 he robbed and murdered two young men on consecutive days. He was quickly apprehended denying his guilt but shortly after confessed to his crimes, later stating if he had not been caught he would have killed again.
Two weeks prior to Gilmore’s terrible crimes the Supreme Court had reinstated capital punishment after ten years of no executions in all of America. This tragedy has an inimitable place in American history for multiple reasons. Gilmore refused all appeals for the murders he committed insisting on the death penalty which he received by firing squad, his choice over hanging, within six months of his trial making him the test case to bring back the death penalty the only time it had been halted nation wide in all of American history. He used the same pistol for both murders and after the case and execution the court returned the the murder weapon to the store owner Gilmore had burglarized. The store owner hid the pistol away for 25 years before asking a local gun dealer and long time friend to sell the gun for him. After some research the pistol was placed on a popular internet gun auction receiving a bid for $500,000.00 but did not meet the reserve or asking price. A few months later the gun was first shown at a Las Vegas gun show. The gun dealer, Dennis Stilson later purchased the pistol from the original owner. In 2008 the pistol was again listed on an internet auction reaching $780,000.00 but was still insufficient to reach the asking price. Stilson had numerous personal and professional ties with Gilmore’s family and others involved with the Gilmore’s case. He wrote a book titled “The Gilmore Gun – Echo of murder.” Articles depicting the Gilmore account covered the world in such magazines as Time, New times, Criminal Mind, Playboy, Rolling Stone, People and many more. There were also the books and movies solidifying both the unique and bizarre aspects of this memorable case. The most prominent book is by Norman Mailer titled “The Executioners Song” and won the Pulitzer prize. A TV movie by the same title starring Tommy Lee Jones won him an Emmy and a nomination for his co-star Rosanna Arquette. One of the cover photos used for the movie shows Tommy Lee Jones holding and pointing the Gilmore Gun.
The case that reinstated capital punishment in America should be remembered. It is a shame that this historically rare and important story is not part of our general educational history books and makes a statement of our lack of the pursuit of truth. The fact remains no other gun has been involved in any case that legally affected so many at such a legitimate level affecting laws that we still live by today. Committing the most horrendous crime resulting in the most severe punishment.
Other guns have certainly been used to murder more prominent historical or recognized victims but that is a bit of a different niche, this pistol reflects more of the legal or law affecting and social-political ramifications making it a very rare firearm indeed.
Scholars and supporters of capital punishment in the United States are being given the chance to purchase at auction what may be the rarest of all death-penalty souvenirs – the handgun purportedly used by Gary Gilmore to murder a motel clerk in Utah almost 30 years ago.
The first man to be sentenced to death after the US Supreme Court reinstituted the death penalty in 1977, Gilmore was killed by firing squad. A morbid mythology has since clung to him, spurred partly by Norman Mailer’s, The Executioner’s Song, which became a film starring Tommy Lee Jones. (click on title above for more info)
Beginning over fortys years ago, Dennis R. Stilson’s personal ties with one of America’s key historical murder cases began. In The Gilmore Gun he gives a unique and qualified perspective of the epilogue of a murder weapon. As an experienced firearm dealer, bail bondsman, and bounty hunter his background adds to this …
CAPTIAL PUNISHMENT – The legally authorized killing of someone as punishment for a crime.
Only once in all of American history has capital punishment, the death penalty, been halted nationwide, meaning no state could execute criminals. This happened in 1966 when a federal moritoriam was passed. No executions took place in America until 1977 when Gary Mark Gilmore insisted on being executed for the murders he committed. This case reinstated the death penalty nationwide. Murder, the most herendous crime a human can commit and the death penalty, the most severe punishment given.
Books, Movies, articles
The Executioners Song by Norman Mailer won the Pulitzer prize.
There are far too many articles, documentaries, etc. to list. Here are just of few of the many tht dominated the media world wide for over six months.