Meridian Man Guilty of Unlicensed Gun Dealing and Making False Statements to Acquire Handguns
BOISE – Steven W. Clyne, 70, of Meridian, Idaho, was convicted on Friday evening by a federal jury of dealing firearms without a license and making false statements when purchasing firearms, Acting United States Attorney Rafael Gonzalez, announced. Clyne was indicted by a federal grand jury on May 11, 2016.
According to evidence presented at trial, Clyne engaged in the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms for profit from January 2013 until November 12, 2015. Over that period of time, Clyne purchased hundreds of firearms from licensed firearm dealers and then resold those firearms to others after increasing the price. Clyne sold the firearms at gun shows and even in a parking lot without identifying the purchasers or conducting background checks to ensure the purchasers were not prohibited from possessing firearms. Numerous firearms sold by Clyne were recovered at various crime scenes in Idaho, California, and other locations.
On November 12, 2015, law enforcement agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) searched Clyne’s residence pursuant to a federal search warrant. ATF agents located approximately 30 firearms at Clyne’s residence. Clyne admitted to agents that he purchased firearms, increased the prices, and then resold the firearms. During the investigation, Clyne sold firearms to ATF agents acting in an undercover capacity. On one occasion an agent telephoned Clyne and asked to purchase two handguns. Clyne agreed to sell the handguns and told the agent he would purchase the handguns later that same day. When Clyne purchased the handguns from the licensed firearm dealer, he falsely stated that he was the actual buyer of the handguns knowing that he was actually acquiring the handguns on behalf of another person.
“Federal firearms laws are intended to keep firearms out of the wrong hands,” said Gonzalez. “This case is an example of what happens when someone engages in the business of selling guns for profit and doesn’t abide by the basic requirements of obtaining a license and conducting background checks.”
“The illicit trafficking in firearms remains ATF's highest national priority,” said ATF Seattle Field Division Special Agent in Charge Darek Pleasants. “Mr. Clyne's willingness to operate outside the law directly put his fellow Americans at risk.” Seattle Field Division’s area of responsibility includes Idaho.
Sentencing is scheduled for June 7, 2017, before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Boise. The crimes of dealing firearms without a license and making false statements when purchasing firearms are each punishable by up to five years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release.
The case was investigated by the ATF.