News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington

Defendants Who Illegally Sold Firearms At Gunshows Sentenced To 18 Month Prison Terms

Defendants Repeatedly Sold Guns as a Business without Obtaining Required Federal Licenses

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 2, 2012

            The second of two defendants convicted of selling firearms at gun shows without a required federal license, was sentenced to 18 months in prison today, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  MARK A. SKILES, 47, of Belfair, Washington, was convicted in October 2011, of Conspiracy to Unlawfully Deal Firearms and Unlawfully dealing in firearms.  SKILES, and his business partner, KENNETH GUSSONI, 56, of Bremerton, Washington, were identified in an undercover federal investigation repeatedly selling firearms at gun shows without the required federal licenses.  GUSSONI pleaded guilty, and was sentenced last month to 18 months in prison.  At the sentencing hearing today, U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle said, “the illegal sale of firearms is dangerous,” and a very serious offense.

According to testimony at trial and records filed in the case, SKILES and GUSSONI purchased approximately 117 guns from licensed dealers in 2009 and 2010, and repeatedly sold firearms to undercover agents and others at six different gun shows in Monroe, Centralia and Puyallup, Washington.   SKILES had been a licensed Federal Firearms Dealer and knew the licensing requirements, but chose not to renew his license.  When a Federal Firearms Licensed dealer sells a weapon, he is required to fill out certain forms and conduct a background check.  These forms help law enforcement trace guns subsequently used in crimes.

In asking for a significant prison sentence prosecutors wrote to the court “The illegal trafficking of firearms presents an incredibly serious safety risk to the community, as firearms are used every day to commit crimes throughout our neighborhoods.  The ability of law enforcement officers and government officials to properly account for weapons and ensure that they are legally possessed is therefore critically important.  Unfortunately, the Defendant’s offense only served to counteract these vital safety goals.  By trafficking in weapons at gun shows, the Defendant’s conduct allowed countless numbers of weapons to enter the marketplace without any accounting of to whom the weapons were sold.”

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF).

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Nicholas Brown, Roger Rogoff and Bruce Miyake.

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