LAS VEGAS, Nev. — A Las Vegas resident was sentenced Friday to two years in prison for making a straw purchase of ten FN M249S 5.56 caliber semi-automatic rifles, announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada. The FN M249S rifle is a semi-automatic version of the FN M249 SAW machine gun used by the U.S. military.
Ethan Erhardt, 37, previously pleaded guilty to one count of illegal acquisition of a firearm. U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan presided over the hearing.
According to court documents, on February 16, 2019, Erhardt straw purchased firearms from a Federal Firearms Licensee in Henderson, Nevada, on behalf of another individual. Erhardt bought ten FN M249S 5.56 caliber semi-automatic rifles for approximately $88,000.00, using money provided by the other individual. At the time of purchase, Erhardt completed an ATF form representing that he was the actual buyer of the firearms — despite knowing that the rifles would actually be provided to the other individual, who in turn would then provide those firearms to a third party.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Clarkson prosecuted the case.
This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the ATF when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.
For more information about Project Guardian, visit https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/attorney-general-william-p-barr-announces-launch-project-guardian-nationwide-strategic-plan.