Due to what appears to be more oversight than crime, the BATFE raided Stag Arms’ New Britain, CT plant in September, after the gun maker failed to serialize approximately 3,000 rifle receivers within the allotted time. The Associated Press reports:
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Federal authorities are investigating a Connecticut gun-maker after agents found nearly 3,000 assault rifle parts missing serial numbers, according to recently filed court documents.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents seized nearly 300 of the AR-15 parts from Stag Arms in September following routine inspections, prosecutors said. At the time, the father of Stag Arms owner Mark Malkowski told authorities that the employee who places serial numbers on parts was on vacation.
The New Britain-based gun-maker gained a high profile in the state when Malkowski became a vocal critic of a stricter state gun-control law passed in the wake of the 2012 Newtown school shootings.
The allegations that Stag Arms violated the National Firearms Act came in a forfeiture request by filed by prosecutors May 6 in federal court in Bridgeport. Prosecutors asked a judge to allow the government to keep nearly 110 of the seized assault rifle parts for “the use and benefit of the United States.”
Spokesmen for the U.S. attorney’s office and the ATF said the investigation of Stag Arms is ongoing. They declined further comment.
Malkowski didn’t return phone and email messages seeking comment.
Stag Arms released a statement this week saying it is cooperating with government officials.
“Although the allegations relate primarily to timing and record keeping, and Stag believes public safety was never compromised, the company takes its obligation to comply with all laws very seriously,” the statement said. “Stag has made comprehensive changes to ensure that similar problems cannot happen again.”
Neither Malkowski nor the company has been charged with criminal wrongdoing. Any violation of the National Firearms Act carries up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 upon conviction.
The ATF sought search warrants for Stag Arms manufacturing facilities in New Britain after routine licensure inspections in July and August found the 3,000 AR-15 parts without serial numbers and a lack of required records — both violations of the National Firearms Act, prosecutors said in court documents. None of the parts was properly registered to Stag Arms, the documents said.
Agents seized nearly 300 rifle parts and several computers. The confiscation was first reported by The Hartford Business Journal on Monday.
Stag is reportedly working with Federal agents to fix the issue, but the BATFE has retained over 100 receivers since the raid.