For Immediate Release
Rapid City Man Charged with Illegal Possession of Firearms
United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Rapid City, South Dakota, man was charged in federal district court with Manufacturing an Unregistered Firearm and Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person.
Christopher Bittner, age 25, was charged on January 22, 2020. Bittner appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daneta Wollmann on January 27, 2020, and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The maximum penalty upon conviction is 10 years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, 3 years of supervised release, and a $100 assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered.
The charges relate to Bittner making an unregistered shortened 12-gauge pump-action shotgun, as well as possessing other firearms and marijuana in November 2019 at Rapid City. The charges are merely an accusation and Bittner is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
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 and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department
of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of its 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 local communities to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s
signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in
investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see: https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.
The investigation is being conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Rapid City Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Patterson is prosecuting the case.
Bittner was released pending trial. A trial date has not been set.