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Friday - April 8, 2005

RALEIGH - Acting United States Attorney George E. B. Holding announced that TIMOTHY ROBERT HARRIS, 68, of Knoxville, Tennessee (formerly of Louisburg, N. C.), was indicted by a federal grand jury in Raleigh, N. C., on Thursday, April 7, 2005. He was charged with dealing in the business of firearms without a license.

According to the one-count indictment, during the period from 1992 until June, 2004, HARRIS purchased approximately 400 firearms from various licensed gun dealers and provided or completed the necessary legal paperwork for each purchase. The indictment alleges that during that time, HARRIS sold hundreds of firearms to the general public but failed to run background checks on potential purchasers or require them to complete the legal paperwork. Only on limited occasions did he require his customers to submit pistol permits issued by their local sheriffs. Officially licensed firearms dealers are required by law to: (1) obtain from a firearm purchaser a completed Form 4473 (Firearms Transaction Record); (2) obtain from a firearm purchaser a pistol permit; and (3) run a criminal background check on a firearm purchaser prior to finalizing a firearm sale. HARRIS did keep a record of the serial number corresponding to each firearm he sold, along with the identity of each purchaser.

The indictment further alleges that HARRIS installed a walk-in vault for the storage of his firearms inventory, which measured approximately 15 feet long by 6 feet wide and had interior lighting. Also, he marked his firearms with price tags for the shopping convenience of his customers, and the listed price sometimes exceeded his initial purchase price by as much as two hundred percent.

If convicted as charged, HARRIS could receive a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000.00, and three years of supervised release.

Investigation of the case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U. S. Attorney Dennis M. Duffy is prosecuting the case for the United States.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A trial date has not been set.

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