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Press Release

Orange County felon sentenced for federal firearms violation

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Texas

BEAUMONT, Texas – An Orange, Texas convicted felon has been sentenced to federal prison for a firearms violation in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs.

Michael Octavius Hampton, 51, pleaded guilty on Oct. 4, 2023, to being a felon in possession of a firearm and was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Marcia Crone on April 23, 2024.

According to information presented in court, on June 26, 2023, Hampton visited a pawn shop in Orange where he was known by the employees as he frequently pawned various items such as tools.  Hampton requested to purchase a pistol, provided his state-issued identification and completed the required ATF Form 4473.  On the form, Hampton indicated he had never been convicted of a felony, a requirement to purchase a firearm.  Hampton then signed the form acknowledging the information he provided was true and correct.  The pawn shop submitted the form through the National Criminal Background Check System, also known as NICS, and received a message indicating the transaction was neither approved nor denied and pending further background checks.  As required by law, the pawn shop did not transfer the firearm to Hampton due to the delayed status and Hampton left the store.  On July 3, 2023, Hampton came back to the pawn shop to pick up the firearm that he had purchased.  The NICS check was still in delayed status, however since the pawn shop had waited the required three days without a denial, the firearm was transferred to Hampton.  Hampton again re-certified that his answers on the ATF 4473 Form were correct – including that he had not been previously convicted of a felony – by signing the form a second time.  Hampton then took possession of the firearm, which was captured on video by the pawn shop. 

Further investigation revealed Hampton was a convicted felon having been previously convicted of murder in Jefferson County in 1995 and prohibited by federal law from owning or possessing firearms or ammunition.  Hampton was arrested by federal agents at his home on July 26, 2023, and the firearm was recovered.  

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  On May 26, 2021, the department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Quinn.


Updated April 23, 2024

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses