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Press Release

Felon Sentenced to 20 Years for Illegally Possessing Firearms and Ammunition

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

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – James D. Brunson, 26, of Orem, Utah, was sentenced today to 240 months’ imprisonment, after a federal jury found him guilty of being a previously convicted felon in possession of stolen firearms and ammunition. 

According to court documents, and the evidence presented at trial in July 2022, Brunson was found guilty of possession of firearms and ammunition as a convicted felon, and possession of stolen firearms. In March 2020, Brunson stole a duffle bag containing nine firearms, and ammunition for the weapons from a residence in Orem. Brunson, a convicted felon at the time of the offense, knew he could not possess firearms or ammunition. The duffle bag contained two shotguns; three handguns; one revolver; two .22 caliber rifles; an AR-15 rifle; and three boxes containing ammunition for the weapons. After obtaining search warrants, law enforcement officers tracked Brunson to an apartment complex in West Jordan, Utah. Prior to his arrest, officers witnessed Brunson remove a stolen 9mm handgun from his waistband and discard it in a nearby grassy area. Officers then arrested Brunson and recovered the discarded stolen handgun and six other stolen firearms from a nearby vehicle. Two of the firearms stolen by Brunson have not been located, and officers established that Brunson attempted to sell the firearms for cash to others prior to his arrest. The six stolen firearms and ammunition affected interstate commerce. 

“Brunson’s criminal acts reflect a brazen disregard for the law and demonstrate why restricted persons having firearms is illegal,” said U.S. Attorney Trina A. Higgins of the District of Utah. “This case also highlights the valuable and ongoing relationship between the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Utah County Attorney’s Office, and our law enforcement partners as we continue to seek justice for federal offenders.” 

The case was investigated by the FBI Salt Lake City Field Office, Provo Resident Agency and was initially investigated by the Orem Police Department and the Utah County Major Crimes Task Force. 

“Instead of learning from his past, Mr. Brunson chose to continue a life of crime and put our community at risk of potential gun violence,” said Special Agent in Charge Shohini Sinha of the Salt Lake City FBI. “The FBI and our partners are committed to keeping firearms out of the hands of felons so that our streets are safer for everyone.” 

Assistant United States Attorneys Sam Pead and Angela J. Clifford of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah prosecuted the case, which was originally filed by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (SAUSA) Kelsy Young working as a Deputy Utah County Attorney.

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 gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.


Felicia Martinez
Public Affairs Specialist
(801) 325-3237
USAO-UT | Facebook | Twitter

Updated January 24, 2024

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 23-81