DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Montana

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, June 6, 2023
Jesse Laslovich
, United States Attorney

Red Lodge Man Admits Illegal Possession of Short Barrel, Privately-Made Rifle

BILLINGS — A Red Lodge man accused of illegally possessing a short barrel, privately-made AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle after he was suspected of violating a protective order admitted to a firearm crime today, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

James Faddis Kennedy, 73, pleaded guilty to possession of an unregistered firearm. Kennedy faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, a $10,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Cavan presided. A sentencing date will be set before U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S Sentencing Guidelines and other sentencing factors. Kennedy was released pending further proceedings.

The government alleged that on Oct. 19, 2022, the Red Lodge Police Department received a theft report that Kennedy had removed a “no trespassing” sign from a fence at the complainant’s residential property. The complainant had documented the incident on video and had video of Kennedy taking a gun into his house. The complainant further indicated that Kennedy was prohibited from possessing firearms because of an Order of Protection. The investigation determined that an Order of Protection was issued on July 2, 2022 and prohibited Kennedy from threatening to commit or committing violence against the complainant. The order contained a provision that said, “Respondent shall not possess the following firearms,” but listed no specific firearms. Law enforcement executed a state search warrant on Kennedy’s residence on Nov. 17, 2022. Officers found multiple firearms and gun parts, including a privately made model AR-15 style, 5.56 mm, semi-automatic rifle with no serial number. The rifle had an overall length of 30.5 inches and a barrel length of 10 inches. There is no record of the firearm in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Zeno B. Baucus is prosecuting the case. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Red Lodge Police Department conducted the investigation.

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 gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

Denver Field Division