Pendleton shooting gun altered to automatic weapon

Police say Jim Bailey's gun was modified.

Police say the gun used in Thursday night's shooting was equal to the firepower used by soldiers at war.

13 Investigates took a closer look at the legal and illegal ways around federal regulation and why local police officers don't always know what they're up against.

An AK-47 semi automatic assault rifle: high powered, intimidating and sold at most gun stores across Indiana.

Gun experts say the weapon police found near the body of Kenneth James Bailey after he opened fire in Pendleton, killing a bystander and injuring two other police officers, is identical to a standard AK-47.

But police say it was altered, making it fully automatic - basically a machine gun.

The Post Road Family Indoor Shooting Range sells all kinds of weapons, but not fully automatic assault rifles. Yet gun owners say the AK-47 can be, and is sometimes illegally converted.

Mike Hilton, who's wife owns the gun store says the guns are altered to circumvent the law and the cost of a legally tax-stamped full automatic.

The legal versions for sale range between $15,000 and $20,000 each. The weapons must have been manufactured before 1986 and have to be registered with ATF for $200. But 13 Investigates learned that $200 keeps local law enforcement officers in the dark about who legally owns a full automatic or machine gun.

"ATF can come anytime they want to get it. Local law enforcement technically need a subpoena, because these are private records," explained Hilton, who says his shop readily complies with court orders.

ATF says a machine gun purchase is tax-protected, therefore private. Agents can't tell local officers anything about them, not even during the course of an investigation.

Thursday night, Pendleton police got their only warning from one of Bailey's family members, but the outcome was still deadly for a man simply passing by.