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Stern graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1964 and earned his J.D. at NYU, and his Masters degree at the University of Bridgeport. A Captain in the U.S. Army, Stern was a Vietnam veteran, serving at Long Binh, and was a member of American Legion Post 141. In addition to his legal career, Stern was the founder and president of the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen, and a contributing writer to its magazine, Hook 'N' Bullet. He died on July 18, 2007. Stern was perhaps best known for having a very large gun collection, which grossed a record-breaking $12.7 million at auction after his death. This auction also included items from other esteemed collectors
Bruce Stern's massive collection of firearms is well known to the online gun community. Photographs of a collection supposedly belonging to Stern have been widely mislabeled as belonging to Charlton Heston. This mis-attribution has been written about on Snopes which also displays the photographs of the gun vault. An interview with a family member stated that even the re-attribution of the Heston Collection to Stern is incorrect. The collection includes a wide variety of military rifles, including a number of rare military semi-automatics (the Pedersen rifle and Mexican Mondragón) and many early sniper rifles such as the Mauser M88. In addition, he also owned a large number of antique machine guns, such as the MG42, the Vickers machine gun, and the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle. The bulk of the collection was sold at two auctions in 2008 by the James D. Julia auctionhouse, and grossed a recordbreaking $12.7 million.