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Cavalry Arms Owner Pleads Guilty
From; The Shooting Wire for Wednesday, February 24
Cavalry Arms Owner Pleads Guilty
After days of chat room speculation about the reasons why Cavalry Arms would decide to suddenly go out of business, an answer came in the form of a press release. This one, however, didn't come from Cavalry Arms, it came from the ATF.
Here it is, offered (at this point) without comment:
FIREARMS MANUFACTURER AND ITS OWNER PLEAD GUILTY TO ILLEGALLY SELLING FIREARMS, AGREE TO SURRENDER LICENSE
PHOENIX, AZ - Cavalry Arms Corporation and its owner Shawn Michael Nealon, 38, of Mesa, Arizona., pleaded guilty to the felony offense of Illegal Sale by a Federally Licensed Firearms Dealer to an Out-of-State Resident, in federal district court in Phoenix. Cavalry Arms Corporation and Nealon have also agreed to surrender their federal licenses to sell firearms.
"Selling to out-of-state residents has been illegal since 1968, we are enforcing federal firearms laws that have been on the books for over 40 years," said John A. Torres, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Los Angeles Field Division. "Selling firearms illegally to out of state residents, is something ATF and our state and local partners will aggressively pursue, and although there are very few dealers that engage in criminal transactions, their impact on individuals and communities can be devastating."
Nealon maintained a federal firearms license (FFL) in his name as well as one under Cavalry Arms Corporation and both operated in the state of Arizona. The investigation conducted by ATF agents and inspectors spanned from Arizona to California and began in January 2008.
The investigation uncovered that on March 2, 2007, Nealon used his personal FFL to sell four firearms to an out-of-state resident. Nealon knew that at the time of the sale, the buyer resided in California. Over a 24 month period beginning in September 2005, Cavalry Arms' FFL was used to sell 36 firearms to that same individual including AR-15 and AK-47 rifles and a variety of shotguns and handguns.
"Mr. Nealon has finally taken responsibility for his crime of illegally selling firearms to someone he knew was an out-of-state resident," said Dennis Burke, U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona. "When firearms are sold illegally, they often end up being used in crimes of violence in the United States and other countries. This criminal activity will not be tolerated in the District of Arizona."
Nealon is scheduled to be sentenced on April 26,2010. A conviction for Illegal Sale by a Federally Licensed Dealer to an Out-of-State Resident carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both."
Not much room for speculation here - and no word on what Nealon is looking at as a sentence. I'm told that in "normal" ATF investigations of this sort, it's not uncommon for a fine and the surrender of the FFLs to satisfy the feds.
What's not normal about this one, however, is that Nealon is a firearms manufacturer who strayed off the beaten path. It's not unusual for those offenders to get the full force of the government's punishment.
I don't know Shawn Nealon, and don't know a lot about Cavalry Arms products. Acquaintances of mine are familiar with both, and have expressed their surprise at Nealon's conduct.
It's another black eye for the firearms industry on the eve of a very significant Second Amendment case once again coming before the United States Supreme Court.
Will it have any real bearing?
Probably not, but anti-gun groups will undoubtedly use this as another indictment of the firearms industry.
This indictment, unfortunately, will come with a conviction on April 26.