News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington

Olympia Man Pleads Guilty To Illegal Gun Sales

Defendant also Sold Weapon Used in Murder of Seattle Police Officer

October 17, 2011

            DAVID DEVENNY, 69, of Olympia, Washington, pleaded guilty today to Unlawfully Dealing in Firearms and two counts of Sale of a Firearm to a Prohibited Person.  DEVENNY was arrested last November after selling firearms to a convicted felon and a person with a domestic violence conviction.  DEVENNY knew that both purchasers were prohibited from possessing firearms because of those convictions. Both the felon and the person with the domestic violence conviction were working with law enforcement at the time of the purchases in February and November 2010. At the time of his arrest, ATF agents recovered 42 guns and $32,000 in cash.  As part of the plea agreement all the firearms and $12,850 in cash are being forfeited to the government.  U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle will sentence DEVENNY on January 23, 2012.  
            Records filed in the case reveal that the Seattle Police notified DEVENNY that a gun previously owned by him was used to murder Officer Timothy Brenton on October 31, 2009.   DEVENNY allegedly sold the gun at a gun show in Puyallup.  Investigators believe the gun was sold one week before Officer Brenton was killed.

            “Illegal gun sales are a threat to our police and our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  “We must stem the tide at every level, and hold this defendant responsible for his actions.  His conduct hurt law enforcement’s ability to track the path of many guns, including the one used to kill Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton.”

“This is an example of zero tolerance that the citizens of the community and law enforcement have toward firearms trafficking,” said Kelvin Crenshaw, Special Agent in Charge, ATF Seattle.

            DEVENNY came to the attention of law enforcement while officers reviewed gun sales activity at gun shows throughout the Western District of Washington.  Federal law requires that gun sellers who make frequent and repetitive gun sales for profit become a Federal Firearms Licensed Dealer (FFL).  When a Federal Firearms Licensed Dealer (FFL) sells a weapon, the seller is required to fill out certain forms and conduct a background check.  These forms help law enforcement trace guns subsequently used in crimes.  The forms are not filled out by private sellers.
            Records indicate DEVENNY purchased 16 handguns from an FFL in just one five month period in 2009.  The guns were then sold in private sales, with no further records or background checks.   The investigation revealed DEVENNY had bought and then sold dozens of guns at various gun shows without keeping any records.  While private collectors are allowed to sell guns from their personal collection without becoming a licensed dealer, these sales did not comport with the requirements for private collection sales.

Unlawfully Dealing in Firearms is punishable by up to five years in prison and Sale of a Firearm to a Prohibited Person is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.  Under the terms of the plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend a sentence within the sentencing guidelines range.

            The case was investigated by ATF.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Bruce Miyake and Nicholas Brown.


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