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Press Release

Man Pleads Guilty To Straw Purchasing Ten Rifles

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

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Ethan Erhardt, 37, of Las Vegas, pleaded guilty in federal court today to making a straw purchase of ten semi-automatic rifles, announced United States Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada.

According to court documents, on February 16, 2019, Erhardt straw purchased firearms from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) in Henderson, Nevada, for another individual. He purchased ten semi-automatic rifles for approximately $88,000, using money obtained from the individual. At the time of purchase, Erhardt completed a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) form representing that he was the actual buyer of the firearms, despite knowing that he would be providing the firearms to the other individual.

This case was the product of an investigation by the ATF. Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Clarkson is prosecuting the case.

Erhardt is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan on November 13, 2020. The maximum statutory penalty for the illegal acquisition of a firearm is ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The sentencing of a defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

This case 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 ATF 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.

For more information about Project Guardian, visit




Updated August 7, 2020

Project Guardian
Firearms Offenses