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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Florida
Roger B. Handberg, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Monday, March 18, 2024

Dade City Man Pleads Guilty to Unlawfully Possessing Machine Guns

TAMPA, Fla — U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Stewart Walter Bachmann, 55, of Dade City, has pleaded guilty to possession of a machine gun and possession of a firearm not identified by a serial number. Each charge carries up to 10 years in federal prison. Sentencing is set for June 4.

According to court records, on Aug. 5, 2023, the Pasco Sheriff’s Office received a telephone call from Bachman who told the dispatcher that he was being held hostage and was going to be “put under” by people who were able to walk through the “5th dimension.” As the call progressed, Bachmann also stated there was “going to be something like 9/11,” and there was currently an invisible person in the backseat of his vehicle. Pasco Sheriff’s deputies made contact with Bachmann near the Tampa Premium Outlet Mall. When deputies began speaking with Bachmann, he told them that the CIA was planning a politically motivated mass shooting at the mall. When deputies asked Bachmann if he was going to be the one committing the shooting, he indicated he didn’t know or hadn’t been told that yet.

The Pasco Sherriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) conducted a search warrant of Bachmann’s home. During the search, several firearms that are required to be registered in the National Firearm Registration and Transfer Record were located. However, another firearm (RAK15), AR-15 type rifle was also found. This rifle had been modified to house an automatic sear, converting the weapon to fully automatic. ATF found no records for this weapon in the National Firearm Registration and Transfer Record, indicating Bachmann was unlawfully in possession of the device. The weapon also had not been marked with a new serial number after it had been converted to fire fully automatically.

During the same search of Bachmann’s home, law enforcement also found a machine gun conversion device, which is a device designed to convert a semiautomatic firearm to a fully automatic firearm. This conversion device also was not registered in the National Firearm Registration and Transfer Record and did not have a serial number.

This case was investigated by ATF and the Pasco Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Samantha Newman. The forfeiture is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney James Muench.

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 of Justice 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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