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Press Release

Illegal possession of firearm sends Billings man to prison for 10 years

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

BILLINGS—A Billings man who admitted illegally having a firearm that he discharged during a fight, sending a bullet through the brim of a person’s hat, was sentenced today to the statutory maximum of 10 years in prison and three years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.

Gary Duane Ervin, 51, pleaded guilty in April to being a prohibited person in possession a firearm.

U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided.

The prosecution said in court records that on Oct. 28, 2018, Billings Police officers responded to a weapons complaint at a residence and found Ervin and two other individuals. During an altercation between Ervin and one of the individuals, Ervin pointed a firearm in the air and fired, sending a round into the brim of the person’s hat. The firearm was .38-caliber revolver that had been reported stolen, and it had an obliterated serial number. Ervin was prohibited from possessing firearms because of a prior felony conviction.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Zeno Baucus prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.



Clair Johnson Howard
Public Information Officer

Updated August 8, 2019

Project Safe Neighborhoods