For Immediate Release
Osage Beach Gun Store Owner Indicted for Illegal Sales
Skelton Tactical Owner Charged With Violating Federal Law in Multiple Sales to Undercover ATF Agents, 323 Firearms Seized From Store
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The owner of Skelton Tactical, a gun store in Osage Beach, Missouri, has been indicted by a federal grand jury for illegally selling firearms to undercover agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
James Antonio Skelton, 74, of Kaiser, Mo., was charged in a 15-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Jefferson City, Mo., on Dec. 14, 2021. That indictment was unsealed and made public following Skelton’s arrest this morning.
The federal indictment alleges that Skelton, a federal firearms licensee, used his business to illegally sell firearms by allowing straw purchases; that is, allowing customers to purchase firearms on behalf of another person who is the actual buyer, but for whom there is no background check or information recorded.
Federal law requires federal firearms licensees to certify the purchaser is the actual buyer of the firearm. Federal firearms licensees must establish the identity, residence, and age of the actual buyer, as well as complete a background check prior to the sale of a firearm. Licensees must make certain the actual purchaser completes the federal firearms transaction record. The firearms transaction record requires the buyer to certify that he/she was the actual buyer of the firearm.
Federal agents executed a search warrant at Skelton Tactical on Nov. 9, 2021, and seized 323 firearms from Skelton following an undercover ATF investigation. The federal indictment contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require Skelton to forfeit all of those firearms to the government.
The federal indictment charges Skelton with four counts of failing to keep proper records mandated for federally licensed dealers. Skelton allegedly sold 19 firearms to an undercover ATF agent in four separate transactions from Sept. 24 to Oct. 29, 2021, without recording the name, age, and place of residence of the purchaser. Skelton also is charged with four counts of failing to conduct background checks related to those sales. Skelton allegedly sold the 19 firearms to an undercover ATF agent without completing the appropriate background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) prior to the sale.
Skelton is charged with two counts of false records in a firearms transaction. Skelton allegedly counselled an undercover ATF agent to have another person (also an undercover ATF agent) make a straw purchase of four firearms on his behalf from Oct. 5 to Oct. 15, 2021 – a Romarm/Cugir 7.62 x 39mm rifle, a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun, a Derva Arms 12-gauge shotgun, and a TISAS .45-caliber pistol. Skelton allegedly counselled an undercover ATF agent to have another person (also an undercover ATF agent) make a straw purchase of 10 firearms on his behalf from Oct. 5 to Oct. 29, 2021 – a BH Best Arms 12-gauge shotgun, a Pioneer Arms 7.62 x 25mm pistol, a Weihrauch .38-caliber revolver, an ALFA-PROJ .357-caliber Magnum revolver, two TISAS 9mm pistols, and four TISAS .45-caliber pistols.
Skelton is charged with five counts of failing to make appropriate entries in a required record. Skelton allegedly sold five firearms from Sept. 24 to Oct. 15, 2021, without making entries in his Acquisition and Disposition Records Book as required by federal law.
The charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver. It was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.