Michael Gonzalez Sentenced to Time Served For Federal Firearm Offense
The Acting United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced today that Michael Gonzalez, 32, was sentenced today to time served, which was a period of over 13 months of imprisonment, for making a false statement in connection with the attempted acquisition of a firearm. Chief Judge Geoffrey Crawford also ordered that Gonzalez serve a three-year period of supervised release.
According to court documents, on August 26, 2019, Gonzalez was arraigned by Judge David Fenster in Chittenden County Superior Court on a charge of first-degree aggravated domestic assault with a weapon, in violation of 13 VSA, Section 1043(a)(2). During the arraignment, Michael A. Gonzalez was provided with a copy of the charging information, which stated that the penalty for a violation of 13 VSA, Section 1043(a)(2), was not more than 15 years of imprisonment. On September 23, 2019, Michael A. Gonzalez attempted to purchase a Ruger Security 9-millimeter caliber pistol from a federally licensed dealer in Williston, Vermont. As part of the attempted purchase, Gonzalez completed an ATF Form 4473. On the ATF Form 4473, Gonzalez falsely stated that he was not under indictment or charged by information for a felony for which the judge could imprison him for more than one year. Gonzalez provided the ATF Form 4473 containing the false statement to the firearms dealer, who submitted the information to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The initial response from the NICS required a “delay.” Gonzalez never obtained the Ruger pistol.
In July of 2018, law enforcement seized a firearm from Gonzalez due to evidence he was recently using controlled substances. In October 2018, Gonzalez was prevented from obtaining a firearm due to a denial during a federal background check, which also stemmed from his use of controlled substances.
Acting United States Attorney Jonathan Ophardt commended the investigative efforts of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). “A crucial tool in combatting domestic violence is preventing firearm sales to those accused of and convicted of violent domestic assaults. The United States Attorney’s Office will continue to aggressively prosecute federal firearm crimes to disrupt potential violence before it occurs. We appreciate the assistance of licensed federal firearms dealers who diligently follow background check procedures, which are crucial to these efforts.”
“ATF’s top priority is to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and other prohibited persons. A valuable tool in this prevention effort is the ATF Background Check Form 4473, which must be completed before a federally licensed firearm dealer sells or transfers a firearm,” said Special Agent in Charge Kelly D. Brady of the ATF Boston Field Division. “Criminals and other prohibited persons who attempt to thwart the background check process by lying on the required forms threaten to undermine this important crime prevention tool, and such conduct cannot be tolerated.”
This case is 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.
Gonzalez is represented by Chandler Matson, Esq. The prosecutor is Assistant U.S. Attorney John Boscia.