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Press Release

KC Man Stops Trial, Pleads Guilty to Illegal Firearm, Faces at Least 15 Years in Prison

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

Project Ceasefire


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Mo., man stopped his trial and pleaded guilty in federal court today to illegally possessing a firearm.

Dennis T. Hart, 55, of Kansas City, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Today would have been the second day of Hart’s criminal jury trial on an April 23, 2013, federal indictment.

By pleading guilty today, Hart admitted that he was in possession of a Lorcin .380-caliber semi-automatic pistol on April 7, 2013. According to court documents, Kansas City police officers were dispatched to 29th and Prospect on a disturbance call at about 12:56 p.m. on that day. A man told police that Hart began yelling at him and punched him in the face. Hart then pulled up his sweater, revealing a pistol tucked in his waistband. The man, who was sitting in a vehicle, left and called the police.

Police officers located Hart a few blocks away. As officers approached Hart he began walking away and then started jogging away from the officers. Once the officers were able to catch up to Hart, they grabbed him and began placing him on the ground. As they were struggling, Hart leaned toward his left side and reached his right hand into his waistband. Hart pulled the loaded pistol from his waistband and raised his arm to chest level before falling to the ground, causing him to drop the pistol. Hart was then placed into handcuffs and taken into custody.

Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to possess any firearm or ammunition. Hart has three prior felony convictions for possessing a controlled substance, two prior felony convictions for distributing a controlled substance, two prior felony convictions for assault, two prior felony convictions for forgery and prior felony convictions for tampering and fraud.

Under federal statutes, Hart is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Shalanda Smith. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Project Ceasefire
Project Ceasefire, launched in October 1999, is a cooperative initiative by federal and local law enforcement and the Kansas City Crime Commission that targets for federal prosecution persons who unlawfully use or possess firearms.

Updated January 16, 2015