An Arroyo Grande man accused of illegal weapons charges took the stand Tuesday and said he was a collector of firearms used in World War II and other conflicts but that he never bought any illegal weapons.
Howard Alan Krinsky, 62, has pleaded not guilty to six counts of weapons-related crimes, including possession and sale of machine guns.
Krinsky said he has collected firearms from the World War II era through the Korean War era for decades and regularly attended gun shows between 1969 and 1985 in Pomona, where he often purchased weapons.
“My interest is the rare, unique or odd,” Krinsky said. “I didn’t go after junk.”
During questioning from his attorney, Guy Galambos, Krinsky answered a series of questions about several weapons, which also included explanations on when he bought the firearms and why.
Krinsky estimated his weapons collection to be worth between $250,000 and $400,000 and said he planned to start selling guns at shows in Las Vegas as a retirement investment once he turned 70.
Krinsky said he bought a Lahti anti-tank weapon that he estimated to be about 80 inches long from a private seller in 1966 or 1967 before the Gun Control Act of 1968, which regulated firearms sales.
He said that the anti-tank weapon’s historical significance is that it had German stamps on it from World War II; he estimated the cannon’s value at $70,000.
Krinsky testified other firearms he had in his possession were purchased before 1968.
Some of the weapons found on his property in the 500 block of Erhart Road and collected by investigators, were owned by Alan Garrison, Krinsky said.
“I never bought any illegal weapons,” Krinsky testified.
Garrison was convicted of gun sales charges and now is serving a six-year sentence.
Investigators have alleged that Garrison sold some weapons for Krinsky; they allege that Krinsky possessed 26 illegal weapons.
Krinsky testified that Garrison made an M-60 semi-automatic battle weapon because it didn’t have serial numbers or markings on it.
When asked by Galambos how he knew Garrison made the firearm, Krinsky said, “Because he told me.”
Krinsky said he received a machine gun from a man he knew from gun shows who was dying of cancer as a gift, but he never opened it from the packaging or used the gun.
Krinsky has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Cal Poly and an aerospace degree from Caltech and worked for Pacific Gas and Electric Co. for 37 years, he testified.
Galambos is scheduled to continue his examination of Krinsky on Thursday at 10 a.m. in Judge Michael Duffy’s court before prosecutor Karen Gray is scheduled to cross-examine him.