PITTSBURGH, PA - A resident of Butler, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of violating federal firearm laws, Acting United States Attorney Troy Rivetti announced today.
Grant Williams, age 61, pleaded guilty to five counts of failure to make entry in a record by a federal firearms dealer before Chief United States District Judge Mark R. Hornak.
In connection with the guilty plea, the Court was advised that Williams held a federal firearm license and sold firearms from his business, Sportsman’s Supply Company, in Butler, Pennsylvania. As a federal firearm licensee, Williams was required to maintain acquisition and disposition books related to the firearms he obtained and sold. When selling a firearm, Williams was required by federal law to record a firearm’s description and the transferee’s name, place of residence, and date of birth. Federal firearm licensees are required to share such records with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to determine the disposition of firearms in the course of a criminal investigation.
In April 2022, the ATF attempted a firearm trace of a firearm sold by Williams that had been used in a crime. Because Williams’ acquisition and disposition books did not record the disposition of that firearm, the trace was unresolved. Due to a subsequent unresolved firearm trace, the ATF conducted an audit of Williams’ records between May and August 2022. The audit revealed that 2,636 firearm acquisitions were neither in William’s possession nor recorded in his disposition records.
The ATF’s investigation revealed that Williams’ annual firearm sales grew to about 50,000 firearms per year during the COVID-19 pandemic. The investigation further revealed that many of Williams’ firearm sales used GunBroker.com, which is an online auction site that operates similar to eBay. Following the close of an auction, the firearm would be mailed from Williams’ possession to a different federal firearm licensee to be transferred to the buyer. However, Williams was still required to record the disposition of those firearms. During the pandemic, Williams’ business was one of the top five sellers on GunBroker.com.
At each count, the law provides for a term of imprisonment not more than one year, a fine of $100,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Pending sentencing, the court placed Williams on bond.
Assistant United States Attorney Brendan J. McKenna is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Williams.