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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Iowa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 30, 2020

Cedar Rapids Man Indicted for Unlawful Possession of an AR-15 Assault Rifle at Iowa City Protest

DAVENPORT, Iowa- United States Attorney Marc Krickbaum announced on October 30, 2020, Brandon Tumause Owen, age 20, of Cedar Rapids, was indicted by a federal grand jury for one count of Unlawful Drug User in Possession of a Firearm, in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. Sections 922(g)(3) and 924(a), after he brandished an AR-15 assault rifle during a June protest in Iowa City. According to public records, Owen was stopped on June 7, 2020, by Iowa City Police for a traffic offense. An impaired driving investigation was performed and indicated Owen was under the influence of marijuana. An AR-15 rifle was located inside Owen’s vehicle. Under federal law, it is illegal for an unlawful drug user to possess firearms.

“Our Constitution protects everyone’s right to peacefully protest against injustice,” said United States Attorney Marc Krickbaum. It does not protect anyone’s right to illegally carry and publically brandish an AR-15. We will prosecute those – including protestors – who commit federal gun crimes.”

After the indictment of Owen, FBI Omaha’s Special Agent in Charge Eugene Kowel said, “The FBI holds sacred the rights of individuals to peacefully exercise their First Amendment freedoms. When someone threatens the safety of peaceful protestors, we will step in to protect them.”

The public is reminded that charges contain only accusations and are not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

These cases are part of Project Guardian (PG) and Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), programs bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce gun crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.

This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Iowa City Police Department, and the Iowa Department of Public Safety. The case is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Topic(s): 
Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses
Contact: 
Rachel J. Scherle 515-473-9300 USAIAS-PAO@usdoj.gov
Updated October 30, 2020