Bryant: I worked at Lorcin...approximately four years ago. ... and that
would be in '92. I was there approximately twelve months.
Q: What was your job?
Bryant: I was a line supervisor, and my job was to ensure that the line
of .380 slides and .380 frames, .22 slides and .22 frames, and .25 slides and
.25 frames were sanded down and sent out to other departments ready to
be chrome plated and brought back for serialization...[T]he guns came in like
raw material, they had a lot of rough edges on them. So what we did is, we'd
take the rough edges off, and we'd sand them down, use files and different
machines... make them able to fit the other moveable parts, as in slides, the
triggers, and the other parts that went onto the gun for semi-automatic
weapons...basically to have the gun ready for functioning, for the use of
assembly and firing.
Q: [Y]ou say you were a line supervisor. What does that mean.
Bryant: A line supervisor [is] a person, what you call a lead man. He's
next under the foreman....and he oversees employees that [have] been placed
under him, under his supervision. In my case I had like thirty-two
Q: [H]ow well-made were the guns?
Bryant: The guns were put together very quickly. They weren't made as
[well as], say, Smith & Wesson. They didn't have that quality.
Q: Did you see a lot of guns coming back for repairs, and what percentage,
do you know?
Bryant: No, they had a special department that dealt with the returns
itself. I know that there were letters that they had received from customers,
from all over the nation, complaining about the guns misfiring, and not firing,
and slides sticking. And that's one reason why the de-burring department [had]
some problems with the design. So that's why the de-burring department was
there, so that it could, more or less, make the guns to fit where it should
have been fitting automatically from the designers. So we'd have to really
sand, and really use a lot of files to make the slides--especially the
slides--to fit on the .380's, themselves. The .25's didn't seem to have as
[many] problems [as] the .380's in the sliding department, as far as the gun
sliding of movement.
Q: Did the management there ever talk to you about quality, to try to get
people to improve the quality of the guns? Did they give you a sense that
quality and good manufacturing was important?
Bryant: I got the sense that it was more of production...than quality.
Even to the point of where they were talking about making a disposable gun, a
Q: [W]ere they communicating to you that production was more important
Bryant: Well, just making sure that we get the numbers out. They gave
us specific numbers for us to [meet] to give to the other departments. And if
I didn't have that number out, then I would hear something about it. So I was
being pushed to get that number out. And my goal was to make sure that the
production level was up, and that also that we could do as much as we could on
the guns as far as the de-burring department, to sand them down as much as we
could, but we could only do so much.
Q: What did you know about guns disappearing from the production
Bryant: Oh, yes,there was no way to tell, unless the serial numbers were
on there. But you could take the gun. The easiest way (to do so) is (to) take
the gun before they went out to be serialized, or plated. Before they went out
to be plated they had to be serialized. But before you send them over to have
a serial number put on them, you could take a gun piece by piece. You could
take the frame, you could take it home if you know how to build a gun. You
could take the slide another day, you could take all the moveable parts and you
could build a gun at home.
And that's what a lot of employees were doing. In fact, some people were
terminated because... they were. Some were working in the
assembly department and were caught stealing guns, and were terminated.
Q: And how do you know that they were taken? Maybe he was just moving
[them] from one location to the next.
Bryant: Well, you're not supposed to take any guns to any location for
any reason. The employees are not supposed to do that, and John's son was also
an employee. [T]he guns went out when they were completely finished. You're
not supposed to take them home and work on them at home, and the United Parcel
Service was the ones who... came to pick up guns... and
they sent the guns out (for) shipping and receiving. That's the only way that I
knew that they were sending guns out.
Q: In the process of assembly, if there were bad guns, did you discard
Bryant: We had a way of discarding them, but they weren't always
discarded. We would take them and we'd use a sledge hammer, a small sledge
hammer and we would break the barrel of the gun so it couldn't be used. But
they weren't always done that way. And we had boxes full of discarded guns.
And they were taken and dumped in the trash bin outside. So if you wanted to
take a gun, and if you were breaking guns or putting barrels on the gun and you
wanted to break a gun up for any other reason , [you could] then slide a gun
within the box that you were going to take outside and throw in the trash bin.
You could just put it outside and pick it up later that evening, because the
trash would be there until the next morning.
Q: How could somebody just walk off with a gun?
Bryant: Well, there was no security. There was absolutely no security
at all. They had no security officers, no metal detectors, anything like that,
so employees could easily take a gun and put it in their lunch pail and walk
off with it that evening.
Q: Do you know people that did that?
Bryant: I don't know [anyone] personally, but I've heard that people
were doing that.
Q: Do you have any evidence from the numbers of guns you saw going
through--you were the foreman--that guns were missing?
Bryant: [F]rom my department, I just knew that there were so many guns
that it was just hard to tell. It was hard to say how many guns would be
coming [and] missing. But there was a case later on that it all came out.
That there were guns being stolen from Lorcin's. And it was a big case and the
[ATF] Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms got involved in it and there were some
people convicted behind it, but this [has] been going on for a long time. It
was just that they got caught.
Q: Describe the security there at Lorcin.
Bryant: The security was basically left up to the lead man and the
foreman. Myself, Howard, Rick, and Dennis, that was it. There was no other
security. ...The shipping and receiving department was
right before you went into the .380 department, and the lunch room was right
behind that. So whenever you come to lunch you would pass right by the
shipping and receiving. Or when ever you came out of lunch you would go past
shipping and receiving, and guns would be laying right there, there was no
partition, no door or anything, it was just wide open. So you walk right
through there and take them away...I was there when guns were missing. Or came
Q: Guns were just lying around for the taking?
Bryant: They were lying around, you could just take [them] if you were
slick about it and watchful, you could take whatever you wanted....The other
thing was there were guys that would be coming and picking up other guys after
work, and they would be talking to their friends about who (was) involved in
gangs. That's what happened with the young men who got in trouble (for)
stealing guns and selling them to the gangs locally on the streets here in
Riverside. That's what happened. But that had been going on for awhile, so
there was an inside thing where they were talking to their friends about it on
the streets, and then they came up with a plan to take [a certain] amount of
guns and then distribute them to the gang members on the streets.
Q: Was there any effort to stop this? What sort of security was there to
stop this kind of thing?
Bryant: There was talk about getting metal (detectors), and they were
getting ready to move into another building, and the government was supposed to
be coming and taking the account of all the guns with the serial numbers. But
when I was there it didn't happen. It hadn't happened yet.
Q: What you're describing seems very casual. Weren't people realizing how
dangerous this product was?
Bryant: I believe that most people were just happy to have a job.
That's what I think. That they were more happy to have a job, and...(were) not really
(inclined to) protest about anything. ...I tried to get the employees' awareness up and
to teach them that they had certain rights, but it didn't really work....
Q: Did they do any kind of check on the background of employees? Did they
check that they didn't have a criminal record or anything like that?
Bryant: I don't think they did a thorough check. The job I work at now,
they did a thorough check as far as fingerprinting and everything and they sent
your fingerprints in. They didn't do that there at Lorcin.
Q: Were guns being sold by employees in the factory while you were
Bryant: Yes...they were being stolen . . .Guns....380's, .25's, slides
and frames, and also, complete assembled guns were also being stolen...straight
out of the factory by employees.
Q: Do you think that the management knew of this?
Bryant: I think the management was aware of it...they could not have
been unaware of it.
Bryant: Because people talk, and there were some employees that worked
there that were really concerned about their job and about the safety of the
company, so I know that they brought it up and talked to them about
Q: Did you ever talk to one of the supervisors about it?
Bryant: I talked to them about it slightly, not very much, because it
just seemed like it didn't do any good. So I mainly just did my job, did what
I was supposed to do, tried to stay out of it and just tried to deal with the
production, what they wanted to come out of my department.
Q: Explain how the serial numbers were put on the guns...
Bryant: The serial numbers were placed on the gun on a punch press
through a die, and it was just regular numbers 1,2,3,4, all the way up. And if
we skipped a number, if something happened and the number jammed we would set
the number back, and go over it again. If we had two numbers on the same gun,
then we'd probably end up supposed to be destroying the one, and keeping the
other, so we have a record of two guns with the same exact serial number.
Q: Once they started, once they put a serial number on the gun, was a record
kept of that gun all the way through the manufacturing process?
Bryant: Now that I can't answer. I don't know. Far as I know, just the
serial numbers were logged in a regular, legal pad, far as [I] know. What
happened to that after that, I don't know. If they were kept in a file or
anything, I'm not sure.
Q: Were there bar codes on any of the boxes of the serial numbers?
Bryant: No, at the time when I worked there, there were no bar codes on
the matching the serial numbers, when I was working there.
Q: Tell me about the idea that you had to document what was going on in your
Bryant I came up with an idea on how to number how many .380's came into my
department--how many went out of my department, how many .25's came into my
department, and how many went out .... I would keep an accurate count of
numbers, when they came in, and the date that they came in, the date that they
left. And I would write that down in a document. I still have those
documents....In the very beginning I didn't have [a system], there was nothing
to go by. So I came up with that on my own.
Q: Why did you do this? Why did you need to do this?
Bryant: Because it wasn't safe, and there wasn't any security and there
were guns coming up missing. I didn't want anyone put the blame up on me. So
I would have a document to show that this is how many guns came out of my
Q: So there were no company records, or no one in the company accounting for
these guns at your stage in assembly.
Bryant: When they came in, far as from the molds, or the place where
they made the guns, then they had probably an accurate account there, because
they would come in from someplace else, and they would go directly into
shipping and receiving. But then they would leave there. Anybody had access
to go back there, and take a gun from out of a box. They weren't really
sealed, you could just go back there and get one, and then take one home and
then if you had a de-burring knife or a file, you can work on the gun yourself.
[F]ile it down to whatever you want it. Or you could take the gun out of the
de-burring department, or out of the .25 department, and take one piece by
piece and put it together at home. So it was the same thing.
Q: There was no one from the company that was keeping track of the
Bryant: Not at that stage. Because even in the .25 department they
didn't have that particular document. I had the document that I came up...I
gave the invitation to the other departments also. So I gave that document to
the .380 department and also to the .25 department. Their way of doing it, it
wasn't right. They maybe marked 1,2,3,4,5, and then an a little line across
it, but I had a systematic way of doing it.
Q: What, did you go to your supervisors and tell them you were doing this,
or ask them to do it in some way?
Bryant: I just showed them that this is what I was doing, and they were
happy with that.
Q: But there was nothing, the company had no system in place to keep track
of these guns at the time. This was all your own doing.
Bryant: This was my doing. The only track that [the company] had coming
in was when the shipping and receiving first came in, before anything was
done to the guns. After that there was really no system set up to keep track
on the guns that were there. So it was guns just floating everywhere. They
could have been anyplace. You could have had .25's in anyplace, or you could
have .380's in places where they maybe shouldn't be.
Q: Why wouldn't the executives be worried about these guns that are missing.
I mean, that's money to them.
Bryant: I don't know. It puzzled me. But again, I was hired to do a
particular task, and that's what I (was) supposed to do. So that's what I did, and
tried to keep from causing [problems] as much as possible. Because I had moved
up so quickly, and there were certain individuals who really didn't like me
being in the position that I was there. Plus the racism that I was up against
also. So I didn't want in any way to cause... too many vibes.
Q: What did your plan suggest?
Bryant: Well, just different cuts, costs. ...I had
[taken] the document...to keep an accurate record of everything that [was]
coming into my department. I had also took it upon myself to keep a record of
the papers, toiletries and things of that nature and other supplies that were
coming up missing and getting stolen sort of on an everyday scale. [S]o I took
another document and came up with another idea and started keeping accurate
track of that also.
Q: You're describing an environment that's sloppy at best, but it just
doesn't make any sense, given that you know products [are] missing, guns [are]
missing, supplies [are] missing...That's capital to the company.
Bryant: Exactly. Exactly. And it would seem that they would want to
save money, losing as much money as they were on overhead. And the
destruction of some of the guns could have been prevented, if the designing
would have went back and maybe, worked on the design a little bit more. I think
that, basically, everybody was more or less concerned of just working and
glad to have a job...it was a family type setting. So, you have people who had
brought their family members in who didn't want to cause any type of vibes, who
had been there since the company had started.
Q: Describe for me where the completed guns were kept. I understand they
were kept in vaults. Describe what those vaults looked like.
Bryant: I didn't know anything about them being kept in vaults. The
guns were being kept in boxes, open to anybody, in the shipping and receiving
department. The shipping and receiving department, before they moved across the
street, was just a glass [area] with tables inside over by the door. But you
could go in there, ...if the door was unlocked you... And
when it moved across the street, there was no door whatsoever in the shipping
and receiving department.
Q: So the guns were kept in their boxes...put in the case, and then where
were those cases stored?
Bryant:...[T]he .25's and .380's were kept within a box, just a regular
box, like a shoebox, and they were kept basically outside except maybe in the
shipping and receiving department...But there were no vaults that were in
there, it was just open, so during lunch time you could go in there, and people
did go in there...They were stored right there in the shipping [and] receiving
department, til the UPS people would come pick them up. Or they would ship 'em
out to other individuals throughout the nation.
Q: Were there employees there that were gang members?
Bryant: They were affiliated with some of the gangs.