Fans of Stag Arms have a lot to mourn today. The president of Stag Arms, LLC, Mark Malkowski, plead guilty to federal firearms charges. Not being an insider, I would say there are always two sides to a story, but the details of this one seem pretty damning for the beleaguered manufacturer. Per the plea agreement, Malkowski agreed to pay a $100,000 fine, and Stag Arms will pay a $500,000 fine. Stag Arms will also forfeit its gun manufacturing license. This will not be a simple set up shop elsewhere either. In the plea deal, Malkowski agreed to get out of the gun business and never return in an ownership or management role.
The ATF inspected Stag Arms in 2007. The inspection revealed record keeping violations, with a warning to fix. Then, in July of 2014, the ATF conducted a firearms compliance inspection of Stag Arms’s two New Britain manufacturing facilities—including a building housing gun-maker CMT—and that where the real trouble began.
ATF investigators found more than 3,000 gun receivers were not properly registered. This is a major violation of the National Firearms Act. Federal agents also discovered 62 fully automatic machine guns and machine gun receivers that were either registered somewhere else or not registered at all. Making matters even worse, other guns were recovered which had the serial numbers “obliterated.” Piling on even more, federal prosecutors said Stag Arms could not account for 200 guns at all. Whether this was merely shoddy records keeping, or something more nefarious, we may never know. Of course, the fear is that the guns wound up on the streets and in the wrong hands.
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.” [dave]