Stag Arms owner pleads guilty to federal firearms charges, must leave gun business

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HARTFORD -- The owner of a  local gun manufacturer has pleaded guilty to violating federal firearms laws.

The president of Stag Arms, LLC, Mark Malkowski, 37, pleaded guilty to a federal firearms charge.  Per a plea agreement, Malkowski has agreed to pay a $100,000 fine, while the company will pay a $500,000 fine.  Stag Arms also has to forfeit its gun manufacturing license, and Malkowski agreed to get out of the gun business and never return in an ownership or management role.

"This is not an industry where sloppiness can be tolerated," U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly said.

In July of 2014, the ATF conducted a firearms compliance inspection of Stag’s two New Britain manufacturing facilities, including a building which houses gun-maker CMT.  A 2007 inspection found record keeping violations which the company was warned to fix.

During the latest investigation, ATF investigators found that more than 3,000 gun receivers --the part of the gun that includes the trigger and firing mechanism--were not properly registered, violating the National Firearms Act.  Federal agents also discovered a total of 62 fully automatic machine guns and machine gun receivers which were either registered somewhere else or not registered at all.  Guns were also recovered which had serial numbers "obliterated," meaning numbers were purposely erased.

Furthermore, federal prosecutors said Stag Arms could not account for 200 guns, meaning they are lost.  "We don't know where they are, whether they were stolen, whether they're on the streets, or whether they're in the wrong hands," Daly said.

Stag Arms, LLC released the following statement:

"Stag Arms, LLC today announced that the company and its founder, Mark Malkowski, have reached a resolution with government officials stemming from an investigation that began last year relating primarily to the timing of recordkeeping during the manufacturing process and compliance with federal firearms manufacturing and registration requirements. Both Stag Arms and Mr. Malkowski cooperated fully with the government throughout the investigation.  While both Stag Arms and Mr. Malkowski believe that public safety was never compromised, they have agreed to enter guilty pleas and to pay significant fines, because doing so is in the best interests of the company and its employees.  Mr. Malkowski has also agreed to transition the business to new ownership and is in advanced talks with a potential buyer. Mr. Malkowski will continue as a marketing consultant to the business and the industry for a period of time following the sale. Stag Arms takes its obligations to comply with all laws and regulations very seriously and has made comprehensive changes to ensure that similar problems cannot happen again and that best compliance practices are maintained in all of its operations."