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Press Release

Rapid City Man Sentenced for Possession of a Firearm by a Felon

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

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Rapid City, South Dakota, man convicted of Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person was sentenced by Judge Jeffrey L. Viken, U.S. District Court.

Gary D. Bledsoe, age 36, was sentenced on January 31, 2020, to 46 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

Bledsoe was indicted by a federal grand jury in July 2018.  The case related to Bledsoe, a previously convicted felon who is prohibited from possessing firearms, unlawfully possessing a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol on July 2, 2018, at Rapid City.  A Rapid City Police officer was dispatched to Bledsoe’s residence for a report of intentional damage to property.  When the officer approached the residence, Bledsoe approached the officer with his right hand behind his back.  Bledsoe ignored commands to show his hands and continued approaching the officer to within a distance of mere feet.  Bledsoe swung his arm forward, brandishing the silver pistol and pointing it at the officer, who was able to successfully disarm Bledsoe and arrest him.

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 make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of its renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and local communities to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

This case is also 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 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives 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, please see:

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Sazama.

Bledsoe was immediately turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Updated February 4, 2020

Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods