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Press Release

Transient Man Sentenced for Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person

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

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a transient man convicted of Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person was sentenced on November 16, 2020, by U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier.

John McDonald, age 43, was sentenced to 28 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $100.

McDonald was indicted by a federal grand jury on January 7, 2020.  He pled guilty on August 27, 2020.

The conviction stemmed from an incident on November 25, 2019, when McDonald knowingly had possession of a Taurus model 709 slim, 9 x 19 Luger caliber, semi-automatic pistol and 4 rounds of Hornady brand ammunition. 

On November 25, 2019, the Sioux Falls Police Department was dispatched to a "shots fired" call in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  Subsequently, law enforcement conducted a search of the involved home, and inside, a firearm and ammunition were located.   McDonald knew that he was prohibited from possessing firearms because he had been previously convicted of one or more crimes punishable by imprisonment exceeding one year.

The seized firearm was manufactured at facilities outside of South Dakota and, thus, was transported across state lines at some point during or before McDonald’s possession of it.

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 the local community 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 Sioux Falls Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Tamara P. Nash prosecuted the case.

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

Updated November 22, 2020

Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses