OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols has asked a federal judge to order the sale of his personal gun collection, with some of the proceeds to go toward victims of the 1995 attack.
Nichols filed a handwritten court brief Tuesday protesting federal prosecutors' request to destroy Nichols' rifles, shotguns and handguns that were seized from his home after the bombing at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
"Mr. Nichols is trying 'to do what's right,' and to utilize those assets in the best possible way for the greatest benefit, not for him, but for others, including the OKC victims," Nichols wrote, adding that the government wants to destroy the guns "for no other purpose than to keep them out of the hands of the American citizens who could benefit from them through hunting and other sportsman activities."
Nichols was convicted of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction and of involuntary manslaughter of eight federal agents. He was sentenced to 161 consecutive sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of civilians.
Nichols proposed to sell the guns in a public auction and split the proceeds between his ex-wife and the bombing victims. He described the 13 weapons, which were not used in the attack that killed 168 people, as his "last remaining assets."
Prosecutors argue that selling Nichols' guns in a public auction could lead to copycat crimes. They also argue that the weapons could sell at an inflated price, causing Nichols to benefit from his crimes.
Nichols "should not be able to obtain more than the fair market value for his property simply because of his status as a domestic terrorist and the notoriety of the crimes he committed," Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy L. Padden wrote in a court filing last month. She pointed to Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, who sought the return of his property, including some firearms. The victims to whom he owed restitution were allowed to buy the guns and have them destroyed so they could not be used in future crimes.