News and Press Releases

Madison Man Indicted for Possessing Guns Despite Prior Mental Commitment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 26, 2013

BIRMINGHAM – A federal grand jury today indicted a Madison County man for possessing 18 guns although he previously had been committed to a mental institution, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey L. Fulton.

A two-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges JAMES WANN VAUGHAN, 69, with possessing the firearms on Jan. 17 “after having been adjudicated as a mental defective and committed to a mental institution.”  The indictment also charges Vaughan with making a false statement to a licensed firearms dealer regarding his prior mental health commitment.

“My office is committed to reducing gun violence and protecting the citizens of North Alabama,” Vance said. “It is a crime for someone who has been committed to a mental institution to possess a firearm and it is illegal for anyone to lie on ATF forms that are required for the legal purchase of a gun. We will enforce these laws,” Vance said.

 “ATF continues to lead a collaborative effort to remove firearms from the streets and ensure they are not in the hands of prohibited individuals,” Fulton said.

According to the indictment, when Vaughan purchased a Colt Defender .45-caliber pistol from a Birmingham-area gun store Jan. 14, he falsely stated on a required ATF form that he had not been committed to a mental institution, and that he was born in 1942 and lived in Scottsboro, when he was born in 1943 and lives in Madison.

Madison Police and ATF agents later found the Colt .45, along with 17 other guns at Vaughan’s home. According to the indictment, those guns were: a Winchester Model 94 .30-30-caliber rifle, a Browning Model Mag 20 20-gauge shotgun, a Browning Model Sweet 16 16-gauge shotgun, a Browning Model Lite 12 12-gauge shotgun, a Browning Model Mag 12 12-gauge shotgun, a Browning Model over/under Invector Plus 12-gauge shotgun, a Weatherby Model Mark XXII .22-caliber rifle, a Smith and Wesson Model 66-1 .357-caliber revolver, a Colt Model Frontier Scout .22-caliber revolver, a Smith and Wesson Model 29-2 .44 Magnum revolver, a Smith and Wesson Model Air weight 37 .38-caliber revolver, a Smith and Wesson Model 36 .38-caliber revolver, a North American Arms Corp. Model 22LR derringer, a Ruby Model 1914 .25-caliber pistol, a Western Field 12-gauge shotgun, a Browning BAR 30-06-caliber rifle, and a Weatherby Model 300 mag Mark V .300-caliber rifle.

The maximum penalty for possession of a firearm by someone who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been committed to a mental institution is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for making a false statement to a licensed firearms dealer is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The ATF, in cooperation with Madison Police, is investigating the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell E. Penfield is prosecuting it.

An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

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