DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of California

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Adam L. Braverman
, United States Attorney
Contact: Andrew R. Haden

Former CEO of the Freedom Fighters Foundation Convicted of Felony Gun Trafficking

SAN DIEGO – Chad Clay Kipper, the former Chief Executive Officer of the Freedom Fighters Foundation, pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday, admitting to the unlicensed purchase and transportation of firearms.

According to court documents, in January 2018, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) became aware of a private firing range in San Diego where individuals were reportedly firing fully automatic firearms in close proximity to a nearby neighborhood.  A subsequent investigation revealed that Chad Clay Kipper was listed with the California Secretary of State as the Chief Executive Officer of the Freedom Fighters Foundation, the non-profit organization that owns the firing range. 

Record checks into Kipper revealed that he had not registered any fully automatic weapons with the State of California.  The checks also revealed that Kipper, a longtime resident of Carlsbad, had been purchasing firearms in Arizona and had then quickly resold several of them in California for a profit. 

On Monday, Kipper pleaded guilty to felony gun trafficking before U.S. District Judge Cynthia A. Bashant.  In his plea agreement, Kipper admitted that he had falsely claimed to be an Arizona resident during 14 firearms purchases in Arizona during the year 2016.  He also admitted to being the former Chief Executive Officer of the Freedom Fighters Foundation.

It is a federal crime to make material misrepresentations during the purchase of a firearm.  Federal statutes also make it illegal to purchase and transport firearms from one state back to your state of residence, unless you are a licensed firearms dealer.

After pleading guilty, Kipper was sentenced and is now a convicted felon. As such, he is prohibited by both federal and state laws from ever possessing a firearm. As part of his guilty plea, Kipper also forfeited 16 firearms to the United States that he had unlawfully obtained or possessed.  The list of forfeited firearms includes assault-style rifles and handguns.

“The Department of Justice takes federal firearms statute violations very seriously,” said U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman. “The trafficking of illegal guns in our communities is a threat to public safety and won’t be tolerated.”

 “It is imperative individuals follow the federal firearms laws, to reduce the risk of public safety caused by firearms trafficking.” said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Los Angeles Field Division Special Agent in Charge Bill McMullan. “The mission of ATF is to protect communities from violent criminals, criminal organizations, and the illegal use and trafficking of firearms. As a result of this individual’s actions of lying and buying, he will never be allowed to legally own a gun.”

 

DEFENDANTS                                            Case Number 18-CR-2460-BAS                             

Chad Clay Kipper                                           Age: 34                                   San Diego, CA

 

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Unlicensed Transportation of Firearms – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 922(a)(3)

Maximum penalty: 5 years’ imprisonment and $250,000 fine

 

AGENCY

Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF)

*This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

Field Division: Los Angeles Field Division