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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Montana
For Immediate Release
Jesse Laslovich, United States Attorney
Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Helena Felon Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Illegally Possessing Firearms While Employed at Pawn Shop

GREAT FALLS, Mont. — A Helena man who admitted to illegally possessing firearms while on state supervision for a felony conviction and working at a pawn shop was sentenced today to three years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

Brandon Wade Kurns, 29, pleaded guilty in June to prohibited person in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided.

The government alleged in court documents that from about June through July in 2021, Kurns, a convicted felon on state supervision, was a customer and briefly employed at Modern Pawn in Helena. In both capacities, he possessed firearms and ammunition. An investigation determined that Kurns handled firearms and ammunition inventory and possessed at least eight or more firearms. Kurns was convicted of felony criminal endangerment in 2020 in Lewis and Clark County and was prohibited from possessing firearms. A related investigation of Modern Pawn by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives led to the convictions of other defendants on various crimes.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case. The ATF and Montana Probation and Parole 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 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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