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Press Release

Former Local Militia Commander Sentenced To Eight Months’ Imprisonment For Firearms Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that former Militia Commander, Paul Nicholas, III, age 49, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release on July 21, 2020, for firearms offenses. 

According to U.S. Attorney David. J. Freed, on February 3, 2018, Nicholas, a previously convicted felon, unlawfully possessed two AR-15 style rifles and a .45 caliber pistol in Enola, plus a Winchester .30 -.30 caliber rifle at his Harrisburg residence.  At the time of his arrest, Nicholas was the commanding officer of the 41st Battalion of the Light Foot Militia in Central Pennsylvania.

Nicholas plead guilty to the charge in August 2018.  Thereafter, Nicholas’ sentencing was placed on hold while an appeal in another similar unlawful firearms possession case was decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. That appeal was resolved in January 2020.

Judge Rambo ordered Nicholas to begin serving his sentence on August 17, 2020.

The case was investigated by the Harrisburg Office of the FBI and was prosecuted by Assistant US Attorney Kim Douglas Daniel.

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 make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

This case also 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.


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Updated July 21, 2020

Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses