John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JON VICTOR BENSON, 62, of New Milford, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny to five years of probation and a $5,000 fine for violating federal firearms laws. Benson owned and operated The Freedom Shoppe, a former federally-licensed firearms manufacturer and dealer located in New Milford.
Pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the sentencing occurred via videoconference.
According to court documents and statements made in court, The National Firearms Act (“NFA”) provides that it is unlawful for any person or entity to possess any NFA-regulated firearm that is not registered to that person or entity. In December 2017, ATF Industry Operations Investigators (IOIs) began a firearms compliance inspection of The Freedom Shoppe in New Milford. At the time, Benson held a firearm manufacturers and dealer’s license and was the “responsible person” with respect to the business.
ATF IOIs determined that Benson and The Freedom Shoppe had manufactured, possessed and transferred several NFA-regulated firearms that were not registered to it in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR) maintained by ATF. Benson admitted to investigators that he had not kept a record of manufacture for any firearms that had been converted from a pistol or from a frame/receiver, as required for all licensed manufacturers.
The ATF’s inspection confirmed that Benson did not maintain proper Acquisition and Disposition (A&D) records for the firearms he manufactured, and that he did not properly complete Firearms Transaction Records (Form 4473s) for firearms sold to customers. The ATF IOIs reviewed more than 750 Form 4473s and discovered that more than a third of the forms had blank or incomplete information.
On October 27, 2020, Benson pleaded guilty to one count of failure to maintain firearms records. As part of his guilty plea, Benson agreed not to challenge the administrative revocation of his federal firearms licenses to manufacture firearms and to deal firearms.
This matter was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Gustafson.