A decorated Vietnam war veteran has been sentenced to seven years in federal prison over a gun purchase he made decades ago, according to Fox News.
Alfred Pick, a 70-year-old Silver Star winner who collects firearms, has been convicted for purchasing an M14 at a gun show in Fort Worth, Texas, in the 1980s. The gun is similar to the gun he used when he served in Vietnam as an Army lieutenant.
"I would think that when a man turned 70 and is an American hero, you don't destroy the rest of his life for one mistake," Pick's friend Mark Shackelford told KDFW-TV.
How did this happen?
Authorities had been searching for the M14, which had the serial number scratched off, and raided Pick's Plano, Texas, home last year. Federal agents seized the weapon and also found some cocaine and marijuana.
Pick's attorney Ryne Sandel said the veteran decided to purchase the gun, despite the red flag of the scratched serial number, because "it was so rare to see one, so he instantly had a connection to it."
"It was probably the piece de resistance of his collection," Shackelford told KTVT-TV. "He had shown it to me. I've never seen taken it out of the case."
Because the gun is fully automatic, it is illegal for citizens to own. Pick pleaded guilty in April to the gun charge.
More about Pick
Pick served in more than 100 combat missions during the Vietnam War, and was briefly held as a prisoner of war. He was awarded the Silver Star, which is the military's third-highest honor.
"He's a really remarkable man to be honest," Sandel said. "I do think it's unfortunate for a gentleman like Alfred that's had such an outstanding life to have it mired at the age of 70 by this federal felony."