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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Indiana
Zachary A. Myers, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Gun Dealer Employee Sentenced to Federal Prison After Using Employee Discount To Illegally Purchase Firearms for Three Minors

INDIANAPOLIS - Traven Armstrong, 24, of Indianapolis, Indiana, has been sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison after pleading guilty to making false statements in connection with a firearm purchase.

According to court documents, between September 1, 2020, and March 10, 2021, Traven Armstrong worked as an employee of a federally licensed firearms dealer. During that time, Armstrong purchased numerous handguns for other individuals from businesses in Carmel, Indiana, using his employee discount. On federal firearms purchase documents, Armstrong intentionally misrepresented that he was the actual buyer of the firearms.

When questioned by ATF agents, Armstrong admitted to straw purchasing the firearms for three specific individuals, all under the age of 21. A straw purchase scheme is when a person not prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm falsely states to a federally licensed gun dealer that they are purchasing a firearm for themselves, when they know that the gun is actually intended for someone else, frequently someone who is prohibited from purchasing or possessing the firearm themselves.

United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, Zachary A. Myers and Daryl S. McCormick, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF, Columbus Field Division made the announcement.

“Gun traffickers like this defendant fuel violence in our communities by putting deadly weapons in the hands of people who have no business having them,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, Zachary A. Myers. “Cutting off the supply of illegally transferred guns is critical to making our communities safer. Our office will continue to work with ATF and other law enforcement agencies to identify and prosecute straw purchasers and others responsible for criminal gun trafficking.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Chicago Group IV investigated this case. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Court Judge, James P. Hanlon. Judge Hanlon also ordered that Armstrong be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for 3 years following his release from federal prison and pay a $500 fine.

U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant United States Attorney Lawrence D. Hilton, who prosecuted this case.

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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