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After Cambridge man busted with illegal ammo, DA plans to look at gun show rules

Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan (at microphone) took questions from reporters at the department's headquarters concerning the murder of a man at Danehy Park in Cambridge on Jan. 3.Jim Davis/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan plans to examine ways to bolster state law governing gun shows after a man who was allegedly drunk was arrested and charged with illegally purchasing ammunition at a show in Wilmington.

Brian Schwarztrauber, 54, of Cambridge — whose roommate told police he had spoken of going on a shooting spree — allegedly bought 150 rounds of 9 mm ammunition without a license at the Northeast Gun Show last Saturday.

“It highlights the concerns we have with the gun shows,” Ryan said in a phone interview Thursday afternoon.

Brian Schwarztrauber.Middlesex district attorney’s office.

Ryan added that her office will be “looking across the law and regulations for gun shows and we’ll be having a legislative proposal to address” concerns about such shows in Massachusetts.

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State law now does not require gun shows to conduct background checks on buyers, but vendors are supposed to check to see if a prospective buyer has a firearms identification card, Ryan said.

Schwarztrauber does not have a valid Massachusetts license to carry or an FID card, according to authorities.

Police believe Schwarztrauber was intoxicated at the gun show last Saturday. When officers arrived, he was being disruptive, refused to leave, and smelled of alcohol, according to authorities. He was charged with possessing ammunition without an FID card. He is expected to be arraigned at Woburn District Court at a later date.

His arrest followed a report made to Cambridge police by Schwarztrauber’s roommate that he had been “acting very strange lately and had made statements about going on shooting sprees,” according to a copy of a police report.

The roommate also told police she had heard Schwarzt-rauber speak of wanting to start a civil war and a revolution, according to a police report.

A search of his apartment yielded 20 rounds of ammunition that police found on his nightstand, authorities said.

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Schwarztrauber was charged with one count of unlawful possession of ammunition and was arraigned Wednesday in Cambridge District Court, authorities said.

State law currently does not allow for a dangerousness hearing for misdemeanors such as unlawful ammunition possession. Judges may detain defendants awaiting trial in a felony case if they pose a danger to the community.

Ryan said she would support allowing a dangerousness hearing for an unlawful ammunition possession charge.

“What is really concerning is that the charge itself doesn’t reflect the seriousness of what happened,” she said.

Legislation pending on Beacon Hill would allow for such hearings.

Last September, Governor Charlie Baker unveiled legislation that would make it easier for courts to detain criminal defendants pending trial. Under the governor’s bill, the charge that Schwarztrauber was arraigned on would be grounds for a dangerousness hearing, according to his office.

Speaking to reporters about the proposal on Thursday, Baker referenced Schwarztrauber’s case.

“We do not have in Massachusetts a coherent way of determining whether who’s before the court is a danger or not,” he said.

Ryan praised the people who came forward to report Schwarztrauber’s troubling behavior — his roommate and an individual at the gun show who notified authorities after noticing Schwarztrauber was being disruptive.

“This is a story of how things went right,” she said.


Danny McDonald can be reached at daniel.mcdonald@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.