Coram Man Sentenced for Illegal Gun Dealing

John Stewart Davis, 71, pleaded guilty to making a machine gun, selling firearms out of state

By Beacon Staff

A Coram man was sentenced to four years in prison and three years’ supervised release for dealing in firearms without a license and making and transferring a machine gun.

John Stewart Davis, 71, was sentenced on Oct. 13 in federal court in Missoula. Chief District Court Judge Dana L. Christensen issued the sentence.

Davis was charged by indictment and pleaded guilty to three counts on June 20. In documents filed with the court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulette Stewart stated that, if required to prove its case at trial, the government was prepared to introduce evidence that Davis dealt in firearms without a license and that he made and transferred a machine gun that was not registered. Davis also sold firearms to out-of-state residents, according to court documents. According to the Department of Justice, Davis had been dealing firearms without a license for 25 years, although only the years 2013-2015 were listed in the indictment.

Undercover law enforcement officers purchased weapons from Davis on multiple occasions at gun shows and at Davis’ shop in northwest Montana. Some of these purchases were regular firearms, some were machine guns, and some sales were to out-of-state residents. Davis told agents that he made a machine gun and showed them how it worked. Further, the agents observed that a room in his shop had a workbench, tools, and machines for gunsmithing, and that firearms and firearms parts were on the work bench. According to federal agents, Davis also obliterated the serial numbers from some of the firearms so they could not be traced back to him. Many of these sales occurred without paperwork.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulette Stewart and investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

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