Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Melton

United States District Court, D. Nebraska

December 28, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JOSEPH L. MELTON, Defendant.

          FINDING, RECOMMENDATION, AND ORDER

          CHERYL R. ZWART UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Defendant Joseph L. Melton has moved to suppress all evidence and statements obtained during the inspection of his firearms business, Leadfoot, LLC, on August 24, 2017. (Filing No. 34). Defendant argues that prior to the inspection, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) agents had reasonable cause to believe Melton was violating the record-keeping requirements of the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA). Defendant claims that since the ATF could have obtained a warrant to search his business, the agency's inspection without a warrant violated the Fourth Amendment. (Id.).

         BACKGROUND

         Leadfoot LLC is a Nebraska company located in Holdrege, Nebraska. It applied for and was granted a Manufacturer's Federal Firearms License (FFL) in 2014, and it manufactures silencers, which are classified as firearms under the GCA. (Filing No. 35, at CM/ECF p. 35). Melton runs Leadfoot's day-to-day business operations and is responsible for its recordkeeping requirements. (Id.)

         In May 2017, ATF agents spoke by phone with a party who identified himself as a former Leadfoot employee and longtime friend of Melton's. “Michael” reported concerns regarding Melton and his operation of Leadfoot, including noncompliance with the National Firearm's Act (NFA), and using straw purchases when selling firearms. (Filing No. 35, at CM/ECF p. 31).

         At approximately 8:30 a.m. on August 24, 2017, ATF Industry Operations Investigators (IOI) Kubert and Vickers, and Special Agents Shelton and Sorenson initiated an unannounced regulatory compliance inspection of the Leadfoot business premises. (Id.) (See. 18 U.S.C. § (g)(1)(B)(ii)). Upon discovering that the front door of the Leadfoot premises was locked, IOI Kubert contacted Melton by telephone. Melton answered the phone and stated he was in Aurora, Colorado, so he could not immediately meet with the agents at the Leadfoot premises. IOI Kubert asked Melton to text a picture of a mountain or another landmark to confirm his whereabouts. Upon receiving that confirmation, the IOI was willing to reschedule the inspection. (Id.) No. such text message was received by the agents. (Id.)

         Later that afternoon, Melton called IOI Kubert and admitted he had been in Lexington, Nebraska all day. (Id.) Defendant explained that he panicked after receiving the call from IOI Kubert because he knew his records were not in good shape. (Id.) Melton acknowledged that his operations were subject to ATF inspection, but thought he would receive advance notice of any inspection. (Id.)

         Melton then met with the inspectors at the Leadfoot premises and at approximately 3:15 p.m., the inspection began. The inspection ultimately revealed 18 violations of federal code and statutes:

1. Willfully obstructing ATF's right of entry to conduct a compliance inspection;
2. Falsification of required records;
3. Conduct of business away from the licensed premises;
4. False statements and representation made by the licensee with respect to any information or records required by the Gun Control Act;
5. Failure to document the transfer of a firearm to a nonlicensee on ATF F 4473;
6. Failure to conduct a NICS check prior to the transfer of a firearm;
7. Failure to maintain an accurate Record of Firearms Manufactured or ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.