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Haskins pleads guilty
Two charges on firearm purchases
Thursday, August 21, 2014
From Bulletin staff reports
A local man pleaded guilty Wednesday to two charges in a federal case involving the so-called “straw purchasing” of firearms.
David Carson Haskins, 58, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Roanoke to one charge of making, aiding, abetting, counseling, inducing, procuring or willfully causing to be made a false statement to a firearms dealer, “which statement was intended and likely to deceive said licensed firearms dealer as to a fact material to the lawfulness of such sale of the firearm,” according to a copy of his plea agreement.
Haskins also pleaded guilty to one count of making or causing to be made a false statement to a firearms dealer regarding required information to be kept in the dealer’s records, the plea agreement shows.
Buying a gun with the intention of passing it along to another buyer is known as making a straw purchase.
Haskins was indicted last year. The government alleged that he had others buy guns on his behalf so that he could sell them through his Bassett business, Southern Gun.
The government argued that because the people who bought the guns for Haskins answered in required paperwork that they were the “actual purchasers” of the firearms, even though they were buying them on Haskins’ behalf, the law had been broken.
Haskins had others buy certain assault-style weapons for him because they were being sold only to law enforcement officers, first responders and their spouses, court records show.
He was charged with 18 counts of making, aiding, abetting, counseling or causing a false statement to be made to a firearms dealer. He also was charged with one count of conspiracy to make straw purchases of firearms, according to previous reports.
The remaining charges against Haskins were dropped as part of the plea agreement, according to court records.
The maximum penalty for the first charge is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The second charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Haskins is not expected to serve prison time. According to the plea agreement, the government agreed not to seek active incarceration nor a probation period of greater than three years or a fine greater than $5,000.
As part of the agreement, Haskins agreed to forfeit a number of pistols and rifles.
Judge Glen E. Conrad ordered a presentence report and set sentencing in the case for Nov. 25.
Haskins will remain free on bond, court records show.