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Press Release

Charleston Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Gun Crimes

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Charleston man pled guilty to federal gun crimes today, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. John Miller, 23, pled guilty making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, possession of a firearm in a school zone, and discharge of a firearm in a school zone.

“Miller, a prohibited person, lied to get a gun.  He then shot it near an elementary school during a drug deal,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  “We are working closely with ATF and state and local law enforcement to get those who pose a threat of violence to our communities off of our streets.”

On April 7, 2019, Miller went to Cabela’s near Corridor G in Charleston, which is a licensed firearm dealer, and purchased a Taurus G2C 9 mm pistol. Prior to purchasing the firearm, he checked “no” in response to a question on the DOJ ATF Firearms Transaction Record Form 4473 indicating he was not an unlawful user of and addicted to a controlled substance, but he knew that to be a false statement as he was an unlawful user of and addicted to marijuana. Shortly after purchasing the firearm, he took it within a distance of 1,000 feet of Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary School and discharged it during a drug deal.

Miller faces up to 20 years imprisonment on the false statement and felon in possession charges, and up to five years, to run consecutively, on the charges relating to possession and discharge of a firearm in a school zone.  Miller is scheduled to be sentenced on June 1, 2020. 

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Charleston Police Department conducted the investigation.  United States District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin presided over the hearing.  Assistant United States Attorneys Ryan A. Saunders and Negar M. Kordestani are handling the prosecution.

This case is being prosecuted as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in 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. The United States Attorney’s Office has prosecuted this case with support from the Project Guardian partners listed above. For more information about Project Guardian, please see:            




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Updated March 9, 2020

Firearms Offenses
Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods