THE GREAT CARCANO SWINDLE

BY BILL MCDOWELL

Within an hour of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy Dallas Police Department (DPD) announced the discovery of a rifle on the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD) in Dealey Plaza.

Two DPD officers, Eugene Boone and Seymour Weitzman, were present when the weapon was found and the Warren Commission credited both with finding it. (WC) Both officers subsequently described the rifle they found as a 7.65 mm Mauser bolt-action rifle.

On November 22nd 1963, the day of the assassination, Eugene Boone prepared a written report for his Superior Sheriff Decker in which he confirmed the rifle he had found was a Mauser. On November 23rd, a full day later, Seymour Weitzman signed a detailed sworn affidavit confirming his original identification of a Mauser. Also on November 23rd Dallas District Attorney Henry M. Wade gave a televised press conference at which he advised the media that the weapon found in the TSBD was a Mauser 7.65 mm bolt-action rifle.

More than 24 hours would elapse before anyone would publicly announce that the rifle found was anything other than a Mauser. Indeed a CIA report dated November 25th was still describing the rifle as a Mauser.

Subsequent claims would indicate that Dallas Police knew the true identity of the rifle found within a very short time of its discovery but there is absolutely no documentary evidence to support this assertion. All that does exist is a record of conflicting stories, missing documents and evasive testimony.

Eventually the DPD revealed that the TSBD rifle was in fact an Italian made Mannlicher Carcano 6.5 mm carbine, serial No C2766, manufactured in 1940. Based on an original Mauser design the Carcano superficially resembles the Mauser genre from which it was derived but is betrayed by its inferior build-quality.

An A. Hidell, an alias apparently used by Lee Harvey Oswald, allegedly purchased Mannlicher Carcano C2766 from a Chicago mail order house. Almost immediately suspicions began to emerge in some quarters that the rifle originally found had been switched for the Mannlicher Carcano linked to Oswald. Oswald had been arrested shortly after the assassination in connection with the killing of DPD officer J.D. Tippit...

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