Sale of Bankrupt Gun Firm Postponed

Times Staff Writer

A federal bankruptcy judge in Florida has delayed the sale of one of the nation’s most controversial gun makers, giving most creditors and other interested parties time to file objections to the planned purchase of Costa Mesa-based Bryco Arms by its former plant manager.

An auction of Bryco -- one of the last of a group of Southern California companies that manufactured inexpensive handguns known as Saturday night specials -- was scheduled for last week. But U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Jerry A. Funk ruled Tuesday that prior notice of the sale was inadequate and delayed it for 20 days.

Funk also dismissed an effort by opponents to block the sale of Bryco for $150,000 to Paul Jimenez of Chino, who was laid off as plant manager this year after gun production was halted.

Lawyers for Brandon Maxfield, a Mendocino County teenager left quadriplegic in 1994 after he was accidentally shot with a Bryco pistol, argued that the company was being sold to Jimenez for less than its actual value as part of a plan to allow Bryco’s founder to eventually take back control of the gun maker.


A jury last year found Bryco, company founder Bruce Jennings and his Nevada-based distribution company partly liable for Maxfield’s injuries and ordered them to pay him more than $24 million. Jennings and the companies filed for bankruptcy, forestalling payment.

Funk, who is hearing the bankruptcy case in Jacksonville, Fla., ruled Tuesday that Maxfield “did not produce one shred of evidence that the proposed sale price [of Bryco] is inadequate.” He added that “Maxfield’s argument that the proposed sale is not in good faith is also without merit.”

The sale’s delay gives Maxfield’s legal team more time to raise money in a push to outbid Jimenez and prevent Bryco from reopening.