Stag Arms of New Britain, Connecticut and the company’s CEO Mark Malkowski will plead guilty to Federal firearms violations in U.S. District Court in Hartford, Connecticut. The company will plead guilty to one felony count of Possession of a Machine Gun not Registered to the Company. As a result the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will revoke the Federal Firearms License of Stag Arms, and the company will pay $500,000.
CEO Malkowski will plead guilty to one misdemeanor count of Failure to Maintain Firearms Records. As a part of the plea Malkowski will not be able to work for a firearms manufacturer ever again, and will pay a $100,000 fine. However, Malkowski is able to attempt to broker a deal for investors or another company to buy Stag Arms. In that event, ATF would review and likely re-install Stag’s FFL. Regardless, this is a major blow to a well-liked firearm manufacturer.
Stag Arms Records Woes
This news first came to light back in May when inspectors of BATFE went to Stag’s manufacturing facility and documented around 200 lower receivers that were missing. Stag could not produce paperwork to show what had happened to those receivers or produce the receivers themselves.
In addition, BATFE found 62 machine guns that had not been registered with the Bureau. Some of those receivers were without serial numbers, and some had obliterated serial numbers. Having a few errant records might be explainable, especially if some were just not registered in the proper timeframe.
However, misplacing 200 receivers, and possessing 62 machine guns or full-auto receivers without proper documentation is not a simple records-keeping error. It identifies a systematic failure on the company’s part to do what they are legally required to do. Whether Malkowski was solely responsible really doesn’t matter, because as CEO he must ensure that legal requirements are followed. The presence of obliterated serial numbers is more than suspicious, it smells of a conscious and willful act to break the law.
Losing Stag is a Loss For All!
I am particularly distressed at the news, because I have found Stag Arms AR-15’s to be among the best on the market. I really appreciate their commitment to left-handed shooters, offering every model with a left-handed option. In addition, Stag has produced high quality AR-15’s with some of the best accessory packages available. Their pairing with Diamondhead provided very good hand guards and back-up sights (BUIS).
I have a Stag Model 8 (piston) and love the rifle. I have found it to be very accurate with the extra benefit of extremely easy cleaning. The Diamondhead BUIS are some of the fastest acquisition sights I’ve ever used.
Press Release on Stag Arms Settlement
HARTFORD — New Britain-based Stag Firearms LLC pleaded guilty Tuesday to violating federal firearms laws and as part of a plea agreement company president and owner Mark Malkowski agreed to sell the company and have no further ownership or management role in a gun manufacturer.
The company, with Malkowski serving as its representative, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Hartford to a single felony count of possession of a machine gun not registered to the company.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is also revoking Stag’s federal license to manufacture firearms.
Malkowski is also scheduled to plead guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in New Haven to a misdemeanor count of failure to maintain firearms records.
The federal government began its investigation of Stag in July 2014, after a routine Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms inspection turned up a variety of recording keeping violations, missing firearms and unregistered firearms, the government said.
The guilty plea, Stag said in a prepared statement, was in the best interest of the company and its approximately 100 employees. Malkowski is in advanced talks with a New York private equity firm to sell the company, Stag and the government said.
“For the first time in Connecticut, and there have only been a few of these prosecutions throughout the nation, a large manufacturer is pleading guilty to a felony charge relating to record keeping violations,” Connecticut U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly said Tuesday. The company will pay a fine of $500,000 as part of the plea agreement.
For his guilty plea, Malkowski, 37, will pay a $100,000 fine and will not be permitted to own, operate or manage a firearms company.
“This company did not just manufacture small firearms. They manufactured semi-automatic weapon, machine guns, assault weapons,” Daly said. “This is not an industry where sloppiness will be tolerated.”