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Press Release

Man Sentenced to Prison for Illegal Straw Purchase of a Firearm

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

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Manassas man was sentenced today to one year in prison for straw purchasing a firearm.

“Straw purchasing a firearm is a federal crime with serious consequences,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “We are doubling down on our efforts across the DMV to prosecute any and all straw purchasing cases. It should send a strong message to those who would come into Virginia to illegally purchase firearms – Don’t lie and buy for the other guy. You will be prosecuted.”

According to court documents, in January 2017, Robert Marshall, 25, and another individual visited a Federal Firearm Licensee (FFL) in Woodbridge. The individual spent several minutes examining firearms, left the store, and then Marshall attempted to purchase one of the firearms examined by individual. Marshall paid for a semi-automatic pistol capable of accepting a large capacity magazine, and returned the next day to complete ATF paperwork and undergo a background check. After completing the sale, FFL staff members immediately reported the sale to law enforcement as a possible straw purchase. Law enforcement officers located Marshall the same day, and Marshall claimed that he was no longer in possession of the firearm. Marshall admitted to being paid by the individual and another person to purchase the firearm, and that he had not answered the questions on the ATF form truthfully.

This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. Click here for more information about Project Guardian.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Washington Field Division, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Rossie D. Alston, Jr. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Harp prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:19-cr-240.


Joshua Stueve
Director of Public Affairs

Updated December 20, 2019

Firearms Offenses
Project Guardian