Sample Block

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Western District of Washington

For Immediate Release

March 19, 2012

Jenny A. Durkan, United States Attorney

Contact: Emily Langlie

Olympia Man Sentenced to Prison for Illegal Gun Sales

Defendant also Sold Weapon Used in Murder of Seattle Police Officer

DAVID DEVENNY, 70, of Olympia, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release for Unlawfully Dealing in Firearms and two counts of Sale of a Firearm to a Prohibited Person, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. DEVENNY was arrested in November 2010, after selling firearms to a convicted felon and a person with a domestic violence conviction. DEVENNY knew that both purchasers were prohibited from possessing firearms because of those convictions. Both the felon and the person with the domestic violence conviction were working with law enforcement at the time of the purchases in February and November 2010. At the time of his arrest, ATF agents recovered 42 guns and $32,000 in cash. As part of the plea agreement 36 firearms are being forfeited to the government. U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle also imposed a fine of $12,850.

Defendant lined his pockets by funneling guns to criminals, and others paid the heavy price for his actions, said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. Those who ignore laws that are meant to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and children take heed. Prosecution and prison could be your future.

Records filed in the case reveal that the Seattle Police notified DEVENNY that a gun previously owned by him was used to murder Officer Timothy Brenton on October 31, 2009. DEVENNY allegedly sold the gun at a gun show in Puyallup. Investigators believe the gun was sold one week before Officer Brenton was killed. Captain Jim Dermody of the Seattle Police Department, who was Officer Brenton’s commanding officer, represented the Seattle Police Department at today’s sentencing.

The illegal selling of guns is a thoughtless act that jeopardizes innocent lives, said Kelvin Crenshaw, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Seattle Field Division. Motivated by greed – Mr. Devenny chose to blatantly disregard the law and sell guns to whoever was willing to pay. For reasons that are devastatingly clear – ATF will never stop pursuing those individuals like Mr. Devenny who would disregard the law and selfishly feed the illegal supply of guns that threaten our communities.

At sentencing, Judge Settle said, what concerns me is the number of contacts you had in which you reflected a willful disregard of where these guns wound up. You were cavalier.

DEVENNY came to the attention of law enforcement while officers reviewed gun sales activity at gun shows throughout the Western District of Washington. Federal law requires that gun sellers who make frequent and repetitive gun sales for profit become a Federal Firearms Licensed Dealer (FFL). When a Federal Firearms Licensed Dealer (FFL) sells a weapon, the seller is required to fill out certain forms and conduct a background check. These forms help law enforcement trace guns subsequently used in crimes. The forms are not filled out by private sellers.

Records indicate DEVENNY purchased 16 handguns from an FFL in just one five month period in 2009. The guns were then sold in private sales, with no further records or background checks. The investigation revealed DEVENNY had bought and then sold a high volume of guns at various gun shows without keeping any records. While private collectors are allowed to sell guns from their personal collection without becoming a licensed dealer, these sales did not comport with the requirements for private collection sales.

In asking for a significant sentence, prosecutors noted that for eight years DEVENNY dealt countless guns illegally. "During this time period DEVENNY flooded the streets with untraceable firearms. DEVENNY bragged to an undercover Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco, Explosives (ATF) agent, that he was only interested in making a profit and did not really care whether a person was prohibited. Despite being contacted by law enforcement on two prior occasions because guns he sold were used in crimes, DEVENNY continued to intentionally sell firearms to whomever would pay him his asking price," prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.

The case was investigated by ATF. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Bruce Miyake and Nicholas Brown.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.