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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Florida
For Immediate Release
Roger B. Handberg, United States Attorney
Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Convicted Felon Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Illegally Trying to Buy a Firearm

Jacksonville, FL – U.S. District Judge Brian J. Davis has sentenced Dontae Edwards (31, Jacksonville) to 18 months in federal prison for making a false statement to a federally licensed firearms dealer. Edwards had pleaded guilty on July 20, 2022.

According to court documents, Edwards attempted to purchase a .40 caliber pistol from a pawn shop in the Mayport area. He completed the required paperwork and claimed that he was not a convicted felon. At the time, Edwards had five prior felony convictions, including a 2017 conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm. The pawn shop, also a federally licensed gun dealer, performed a background check on Edwards through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and the purchase was denied. All NICS denials are reported to federal law enforcement and are reviewed daily for potential criminal prosecution. Federal law makes it a felony offense to make a false statement to a firearms dealer when trying to buy a gun.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Frank Talbot and was previously prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Cyrus Zomorodian.

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.

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