News and Press Releases

Henderson Man Who Fired a Machine Gun in His Backyard on New Year's Eve 2010 Sentenced to Prison

August 29, 2012

Las Vegas, Nev. – A Henderson man who fired a machinegun in the backyard of his Anthem neighborhood home on New Year's Eve 2010, was sentenced today to one year and one day in prison, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

John Mackey, 38, who pleaded guilty in May to one count of possession of a machinegun, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kent J. Dawson. Under federal law, it is illegal to possess a machinegun that is not registered with the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.

"Shooting a firearm, especially a machinegun in the backyard of a residential neighborhood is very dangerous and could have easily harmed someone," said U.S. Attorney Bogden. "We take these crimes seriously and will prosecute persons who violate federal laws that prohibit the unlawful possession of these types of weapons."

At approximately 12:06 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2011, the Henderson Police Department received a report that someone had fired an automatic weapon in the backyard of a home in the Anthem neighborhood. When Henderson police officers arrived at the home, Mackey told them he shot a machinegun into the ground and was "not stupid enough to shoot it in the air." Mackey also advised that there were numerous firearms in the house, in addition to the machinegun which was in the garage. Mackey told the police officers that the machinegun was not registered. Officers recovered an Armory USA 7.62 x 39mm caliber rifle from the garage which had been converted into a fully-automatic machine gun.

"ATF aggressively investigates the illegal possession of firearms especially machine guns," said Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Riehl. "Criminal possession and misuse of firearms endangers our communities and will not be tolerated." Judge Dawson ordered Mackey into immediate custody because under federal law, possession of a machinegun is a crime of violence requiring detention.

The investigation was conducted by the Henderson Police Department and ATF, as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Cristina D. Silva.

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