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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

1225 Seventeenth Street, Suite 700
Seventeenth Street Plaza
Denver, Colorado 80202

(303) 454-011

Fax: (303) 454-0400

For Immediate Release

November 5, 2010

John F. Walsh, United States Attorney

Andrew Gunzner Sentenced to Federal Prison for Possession of Machine Gun and Theft From a Federal Firearms Licensee

DENVER — Andrew Gunzner, age 22, of Littleton, Colorado, was sentenced this morning by U.S. District Court Judge Philip A. Brimmer to serve 46 months in federal prison for possessing a machine gun and theft of firearms from a federal firearms licensee, United States Attorney John Walsh and ATF Special Agent in Charge Marvin Richardson announced. The court deferred restitution pending further investigation regarding the location and value of the weapons stolen by the defendant. Gunzner appeared at the sentencing hearing in custody, and was remanded.

Andrew Thomas Gunzner was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on April 19, 2010. He pled guilty before Judge Brimmer on July 12, 2010. He was sentenced today, November 5, 2010.

According to the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, on March 17, 2010, at approximately 2:35 a.m., Denver Police officers conducted a traffic stop on a silver Jeep being driven with red emergency lights and a siren activated on Colorado Boulevard near Cherry Creek Drive. During a lawful search of the Jeep, officers recovered four firearms: 1) a Heckler & Koch, Model MP-5, 9mm machine gun; 2) a Norinco, AK-47, 7.62 × 39 rifle; 3) a Taurus 410 Judge revolver; and 4) an FNH 5.7 × 28 semiautomatic pistol. Officers also recovered firearms magazines, ammunition, handcuffs, an expandable baton, knives, holsters, a flash suppressor, an EOTEC scope/sight, and a flashlight. The defendant was then arrested by Denver Police officers.

During subsequent investigation, law enforcement determined that Gunzner was a sales agent and apprentice gunsmith at Prairie Arms Manufacturing, a federal firearms licensee in Littleton, Colorado. He had a fully automatic MP-5 machine gun in his vehicle, which he did not have permission to remove from Prairie Arms Manufacturing. Further, it was determined that Gunzner had taken the machine gun to play with it, and that he was driving on Colorado Boulevard with a red light and siren activated on his Jeep for fun after leaving Shotgun Willies.

On April 7, 2010, a team of law enforcement officers from the ATF, together with law enforcement officers from the Jefferson County Sheriff and the Denver Police Department, lawfully executed a state-court search warrant at Gunzner’s residence. Officers and agents found and seized 14 firearms, loaded magazines, thousands of rounds of ammunition, brass casings, and ammunition loading materials. Among the weapons seized was a short-barreled Olympic Arms .223 caliber rifle with a machine gun sear inserted into it, making the rifle fully automatic.

Possession of fully automatic weapons is illegal for a reason: Given the powerful nature of these weapons, their possession endangers the public safety, as the facts of this case make unmistakable, said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.

The ATF will work aggressively to stop the theft and transfer of illegal machine guns to the black market, said ATF Special Agent in Charge Marvin Richardson. The theft of any firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) will be thoroughly investigated and those responsible will be held accountable.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Denver Police Department, with support from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

The defendant was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Bergsieker.