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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ellettsville Gun Store Owner Files Petition To Plead Guilty To Federal Firearms Charges

Defendant charged in 2011 with not participating in federal background check programs

BLOOMINGTON -- Joseph H. Hogsett, the United States Attorney, announced today that, Donald Mullendore, age 63, has petitioned the court to enter a plea of guilty to federal firearms charges. Mullendore, the owner of an Ellettsville gun store, was arrested on federal firearms charges in July 2011 after an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“This case involves allegations of a local firearms dealer that operated with no regard for the rule of law,” Hogsett said. “It also represents one of the first cases brought as part of our Violent Crime Initiative, and today’s announcement brings this matter one step closer to resolution.”

According to a stipulated factual basis filed jointly by prosecutors and Mullendore’s attorney, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”) conducted a six-month undercover investigation concerning the business practices of Mullendore Guns, a federally licensed firearms dealer in Ellettsville. During the course of its investigation, ATF was assisted by a confidential informant who had been convicted of multiple felonies. The court document describes a number of instances of misconduct by Mullendore.

On March 11, 2011, after being told that the confidential informant was a convicted felon, Mullendore sold a Cobray 9 millimeter pistol to that individual for approximately $2,000. Prior to selling the Cobray pistol to the informant, Mullendore did not require that individual to fill out the mandatory ATF Form 4473 “Firearms Transaction Record,” nor did Mullendore perform the required check of that individual’s criminal history.

On May 5, 2011, Mullendore again sold a weapon to the confidential informant. Prior to the completion of that transaction, Mullendore again did not require the informant to fill out the mandatory ATF Form 4473 “Firearms Transaction Record” nor did Mullendore perform the required check of that individual’s criminal history. On July 13, 2011, Mullendore sold a Saiga .410 gauge shotgun the informant, again not following federal firearms laws.

A criminal complaint filed in 2011 made note that during a conversation with the informant, Mullendore allegedly said that he did not believe in paperwork because Aall you are doing is telling the government where you got your guns." Mullendore went on to allegedly assert that, AI destroyed all my paper and I just don't care, I’m going to give people the guns they need. This is God's shop and what He [God] wants to do with it is going to happen."

These indictments come as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Violent Crime Initiative (VCI), and are the result of collaborative investigative efforts by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Indiana State Police. Launched in March 2011, the VCI has produced a dramatic increase in the number of gun-related charges brought federally. In the year preceding the initiative, there were just 14 defendants charged with federal gun crimes by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. In the more than two years since, more than 200 defendants have been charged.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Rinka, who is prosecuting the case for the government, the counts against Mullendore carry a maximum of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing hearing will be held in Indianapolis at a later date. A complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.

A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated January 26, 2015