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Press Release

Great Falls man admits making false statement while trying to buy gun

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

GREAT FALLS — A Great Falls man admitted today that he did not disclose he was a methamphetamine user when he attempted to purchase a gun from a firearms dealer, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

Joshua Raymond Sauve, 35, pleaded guilty to making a false statement during a firearm transaction. Sauve faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. The court set sentencing for Jan. 24, 2024 and ordered Sauve detained pending further proceedings.

The government alleged in court documents that in April 2022 in Great Falls, law enforcement received a 911 report of a person, later identified as Sauve, waving a gun in the air while walking in the middle of the street near a gas station. Officers found Sauve in the gas station’s restroom, ordered him out and seized a .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol from his waistband. Sauve told an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that he tried to buy the pistol at Scheels but received a delay on the purchase. Because of the delay, Sauve contacted someone else who could buy the same gun for him. Sauve also acknowledged that he had used meth for the last five years. Investigators determined that Sauve tried to buy the pistol at Scheels, a licensed firearms dealer, and knowingly made a false statement when he checked the box on the ATF purchase form indicating that he was not an unlawful user of a controlled substance. While Scheels did not allow Sauve to purchase the pistol, Sauve’s statement was capable of influencing Scheels into believing that the firearm could be lawfully sold to him.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica A. Betley is prosecuting the case. The ATF and Great Falls Police Department conducted the investigation.

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.



Clair Johnson Howard

Public Affairs Officer



Updated August 30, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 23-332