U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Eastern District of California
Eastern District of California
For Immediate Release
June 20, 2014
Benjamin B. Wagner , United States Attorney
Contact: Lauren Horwood
“Dr. Death” Indicted For Illegally Manufacturing Firearms And Possession Of Machine Guns
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a six-count indictment last week against Daniel Crowninshield, 45, of Sacramento, charging him with unlawfully manufacturing and dealing in firearms, possessing a firearm after having been previously convicted of a crime of domestic violence, and possessing machineguns and unregistered firearms, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. Crowninshield was arrested today in Sacramento by ATF special agents.
According to court documents, Crowninshield, who was also known by his online moniker “Dr-Death,” operated an unlicensed firearms manufacturing business out of C&G Tool, a metal shop in North Sacramento. Crowninshield, himself a prohibited person who is not legally able to possess firearms due to a prior domestic violence conviction, did not conduct background checks, enforce waiting periods, or complete firearm transaction paperwork in connection with the sale of firearms.
Using sophisticated computer-controlled machines, Crowninshield allegedly manufactured lower receivers for AR-15s and other firearms. A lower receiver is the part of a firearm that holds the mechanical parts (e.g. the hammer, bolt or breechblock, and firing mechanism) that combine with a trigger, firing pin, and other parts to form a functioning firearm. The lower receiver was made from a metal casting called a “blank” that is not considered a firearm by ATF. Once the blank is converted into a lower receiver using a drill press or automated machine, it is considered a firearm by statute even if there is no barrel, handle, or trigger, and it is subject to federal regulation.
This case was the product of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Firearms, with the assistance of the Sacramento Police Department, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, and the California Highway Patrol. Assistant United States Attorney Justin Lee is prosecuting the case.
“The production and sale of assault rifles without serial numbers, background checks or waiting periods poses a serious danger to public safety,” said U.S. Attorney Wagner. “We will continue to investigate and prosecute those who seek to profit from such conduct.”
“Individuals who manufacture and sell unregistered and unmarked machine guns and short barrel rifles pose a grave danger to our communities,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Riehl. “These unmarked firearms used in violent crime make it difficult if not impossible to trace back to the perpetrator of the offense.”
Crowninshield will make his initial appearance today at 2:00 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kendall J. Newman in Sacramento. If convicted, Crowninshield faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the seven possession-of-firearm counts and a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the manufacturing and dealing charge. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.