‘Mister Show Business’ loses his 1911 to the scrappers postmortem

Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck spoke at City Hall last Wednesday next to a table of guns including what appeared to be a Thompson semi-auto carbine, a few AK-pattern rifles, and some AR-15 lower receivers. The guns were part of a 791-weapon haul from the City’s annual Gun Buyback event held last Saturday that saw $200 gift cards from Ralph’s traded for the guns.

Sure, they are unwanted guns that could have eventually found their way into the hands of criminal elements who are prohibited from buying guns from lawful dealers over the counter, but there most likely weren’t any honest crooks themselves in line last weekend to turn their gatts in.

Most of the guns weren’t worth much, as evidenced from the fact that Papa Garcetti could only cough up a few pitiful examples to show off, but there was one really nice piece that probably could have been saved.

It was a milsurp M1911A1 that, at least until his death, was registered to Sammy Davis Jr.


The entertainer died May 16, 1990 at age 64 in Beverly Hills after a battle with throat cancer. Besides being a talented performer and founding member of the Rat Pack, SDJ was an accomplished trick shooter.

Occasionally wearing his custom 1873 Colt SAAs on stage with his highly-tooled one-of-a-kind Western rig, SDJ would captivate fans with an exhibition of his quick-draw abilities.

He also reportedly loved to target shoot and was a guest star on a number of popular Western TV shows of the 50s and 60s such as “The Rifleman,” “Zane Grey Theatre,” and “Wild, Wild West” where he got to use hardware on screen.

sammy davis junior cross draw shoulder rig

As for his M1911, I spoke with the public affairs people with the LAPD and the Mayor’s office, championing the possibility (which would cost the city nothing) of exhibiting SDJ’s .45 at the LAPD Museum. They could even have scrapped the barrel or internals in an effort to render it harmless and included an anti-gun treatise on how it was bought “off the streets” in an effort to save lives.

Nope, they advised. As the gun was not stolen or used in a pending crime as far as they knew of, it would be scrapped.

And they were:

gun buyback confiscation lapd turn in registration lapd photo (1)

More info and sad pictures in my column at Guns.com

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