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Press Release

Waterloo Man Sent to Federal Prison After Carrying Assault Rifle During Altercation in 2016

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Black Hawk County Sheriff Had Denied His Application for a Gun Permit in 2014

A man who possessed a firearm in 2016, after the Black Hawk County Sheriff denied him a gun permit in 2014, was sentenced yesterday to more than three years in federal prison.  Michael Thomas Buttermore, age 38, from Waterloo, Iowa, originally from Beaver County, Pennsylvania, received the prison term after a January 2, 2019, guilty plea to possessing a firearm as a prohibited person.

Evidence presented in court showed that, in 2005, Buttermore was committed to a mental institution in Pennsylvania.  In 2014, after moving to Iowa, Buttermore applied to the Black Hawk County Sheriff for a permit to acquire a firearm.  The Sheriff denied Buttermore’s application and reminded Buttermore that it was illegal for him to possess firearms under federal law on account of his 2005 commitment.  In 2016, the Waterloo Police Department began receiving reports about Buttermore acting erratically.  In September 2016, Buttermore was involved in an altercation at his residence with another man; during the incident, Buttermore was carrying a Colt M4 assault rifle and the other man had a knife.  A woman later reported that Buttermore had chased her down the street with the assault rifle.  Ultimately, officers approached Buttermore and he agreed to surrender the firearm along with ammunition he illegally possessed, including two high-capacity magazines.  After surrendering the firearm, however, Buttermore unsuccessfully attempted to regain possession of the firearm from the Waterloo Police Department.  In addition to his prior commitment, Buttermore, who has a criminal history in both Pennsylvania and Iowa, now admits he was an unlawful user of methamphetamine and heroin, which also made it unlawful for Buttermore to possess firearms.

Buttermore was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams.  Buttermore was sentenced to 41 months’ imprisonment.  He must also serve a 3-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

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.

Buttermore 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 Tim Vavricek and investigated by the Waterloo Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 18-CR-2063.

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Updated August 1, 2019

Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods