Stag Arms Pleads Guilty to Federal Firearms Violations, Will Be Sold

   12.22.15

On Tuesday, Connecticut-based AR manufacturer Stag Arms announced that it has reached a resolution with government officials following an investigation into the company’s record-keeping and manufacturing process. Both Stag Arms and its founder and current owner, Mark Malkowski, pleaded guilty in federal court on Tuesday for violating federal firearms law.

Stag Arms agreed to pay a $500,000 fine while Malkowski will pay a $100,000 fine and agreed to divest himself from the company. Under the plea agreement, Malkowski also agreed to never own, operate, or manage a firearms company again, although Stag Arms said he will remain with the company as a consultant temporarily.

Malkowski also faces a maximum of one year in prison for the misdemeanor charge of failure to maintain proper firearm records. He is currently in advanced talks to sell the company.

“Stag Arms takes its obligations to comply with all laws and regulations very seriously and has made comprehensive changes to ensure that similar problems cannot happen again and that best compliance practices are maintained in all of its operations,” the company stated on Facebook.

Last year the ATF raided the gun maker’s facility and confiscated more than 3,000 AR-15 lower receivers. The ATF claimed that the lower receivers did not have serial numbers, which violated the National Firearms Act (NFA). Under the NFA, firearm manufacturers are legally obligated to stamp firearms, and certain firearm parts, with a serial number within days of their manufacture. Federal agents first discovered the unmarked receivers during a routine inspection in August 2014 and returned to seize the parts in October of that year.

“It is critically important for those who are responsible for manufacturing firearms, especially high-powered semi-automatic rifles, to diligently comply with federal firearms laws throughout the production and distribution process,” US Attorney Deirdre Daly for the District of Connecticut, said in a press release. “Stag’s misconduct has resulted in hundreds of these weapons being lost or untraceable. In addition, Stag’s possession of dozens of unregistered machine guns is particularly egregious. Federal firearms laws exist to ensure that all legal firearms are properly accounted for and don’t wind up on the street, and in the hands of those who shouldn’t possess them. Gun manufacturers who don’t follow the rules and violate federal law not only face license revocation, but criminal prosecution. I commend the ATF for expertly investigating this matter.”

At the time, Stag Arms said the issue was related to “timing and recordkeeping,” and that public safety was never compromised. The company reiterated that belief on Tuesday, but said it will be enacting comprehensive changes to ensure the same problems will never happen again. Stag Arms clarified that it will remain in operation until a buyer purchases the company.

Founded in 2003, Stag Arms is perhaps best known for its production of left-handed AR-15 rifles. The company is also known for being very vocal in both the state and national gun debate, even once closing down factory operations so employees could protest gun control laws at the state capitol building.

You can see see a brief tour of the Stag Arms factory in the video below:

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