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Press Release

Three Years of Illegally Buying and Possessing 28 Guns Leads to Over Three Years in Federal Prison for Drug User

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Also Purchased at Least Six Guns for Others and the Whereabouts of 19 of the Guns Purchased is Unknown

A user of meth and marijuana who illegally purchased and possessed 28 guns between August 2015 and August 2018 was sentenced October 1, 2019, to more than three years in federal prison.

Nathan Fisher, age 26, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, received the prison term after an April 12, 2019, guilty plea to being an unlawful user of drugs in possession of a firearm.

At the guilty plea, Fisher admitted he purchased a handgun on August 3, 2018.  He further admitted that at the time he bought and possessed this gun, he was an unlawful user of both methamphetamine and marijuana.

Further information at sentencing showed that the gun Fisher purchased on August 3, 2018, was the 28th gun he had purchased since August 2015.  During this three-year period, Fisher was regularly using both meth and marijuana.  Each time Fisher purchased a gun, he filled out a form.  On that form, he lied each time, telling the seller of the guns that he was not an unlawful user of drugs.

Additionally, Fisher purchased at least six guns for other people, a practice commonly referred to as “straw purchasing.”  Each time he did so, Fisher also lied on the form he had to complete, indicating he was the ultimate purchaser of the gun.  Of the 28 guns Fisher purchased, nine have been recovered.  Eight of those nine were found by law enforcement in the possession of someone other than Fisher.  The whereabouts of the remaining 19 guns Fisher purchased are unknown.  

Fisher was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams.  In sentencing Fisher, the Judge noted that Fisher’s crime was very serious.  The Judge especially noted that Fisher was likely buying guns to give to others who could not legally purchase or own guns, such as convicted felons.  The Judge also noted that Fisher used drugs, possessed ammunition, and failed to comply with numerous Court orders while awaiting trial. 

Fisher was sentenced to 37 months’ imprisonment.  He must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

Fisher is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anthony Morfitt and investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Cedar Rapids Police Department.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN).  PSN 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.

Court file information at

The case file number is 18-CR-119.

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Updated October 2, 2019

Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods