Former Burke County weapons dealer pleads guilty to illegal sales

Monday, July 21, 2014 3:09 PM
Last updated Tuesday, July 22, 2014 5:12 AM
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A former Burke County firearms dealer pleaded guilty Monday to illegally selling weapons to a convicted felon and to out-of-state residents.



William Debow, 52, who spent the past couple of weeks in jail for violating the conditions of his bond, will be allowed to self-report to prison to begin his 40-month sentence.

Senior Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr. accepted a plea negotiation that set Debow’s punishment with the prison term, a $10,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

Debow’s bond was revoked this month after Bowen learned Debow kept the Ponderosa Trading Co. open and bragged on Facebook that he was still open for business.

On Monday, Debow apologized to the court. He worked so hard to build the business that he couldn’t accept that he had lost it, Debow said.

Agent Jason Stricklin, of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, testified Monday that a search warrant executed at the home of a convicted felon in October led to 26 weapons. The felon told agents that he had purchased most of the guns from Debow. To get around the law, Debow suggested that the felon should bring his mother in to fill out the required forms of ownership, Stricklin testified.

When they executed a search warrant at the Ponderosa Trading Co., agents found a stack of federal forms showing Debow sold weapons to South Carolina residents, Stricklin said.

Defense attorney Pete Theodocion told the judge that Debow executed poor judgment in selling to South Carolina residents but he did use the license number of a South Carolina firearms dealer to perform background checks on the purchasers. Everyone was legally able to buy a weapon.

Debow has sold his inventory of about 4,000 weapons, he said.

He has already paid a $35,000 civil penalty to the ATF. As a convicted felon, he will never be allowed to own a weapon again.

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AFjoe
4682
Points
AFjoe 07/21/14 - 02:40 pm
7
0
Facebook

Another one bites the dust thanks in part to F-book. Reminder-Don't brag about breaking the law.

hoptoad
18395
Points
hoptoad 07/21/14 - 02:51 pm
9
0
There's enough problems with

There's enough problems with thugs getting guns illegally and shooting innocent people without jerks like this adding to the crime rate.

ColCo
912
Points
ColCo 07/21/14 - 03:03 pm
7
0
Imagine that...

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy. He was calling everyone in town, proclaiming his innocence and threatening to sue anyone who even mentioned his name and the ATF in the same sentence. Hope his girlfriend loses her FFL as a result of his chicanery.

dichotomy
36339
Points
dichotomy 07/21/14 - 03:11 pm
8
2
Man I hate that. It was a

Man I hate that. It was a good gun shop. He had a good business going. I cannot believe that he was stupid enough to do those things. What a dumb-arse.

Marinerman1
5318
Points
Marinerman1 07/21/14 - 03:29 pm
11
1
What A Waste..!

I had high hopes for Ponderosa. It sounded like he had high hopes to make something that was going to be awesome. What a waste. To sell weapons to felons, by telling them to bring their mom !! Debow should really hang his head in shame. DANG !!

hoptoad
18395
Points
hoptoad 07/21/14 - 03:45 pm
5
3
I bought my rifle from him

I bought my rifle from him and was planning on getting a hand gun. Should have done it while I was thinking about it.

Let me add, I had no idea what he was up to or I would not have done business with him.

nocnoc
47440
Points
nocnoc 07/21/14 - 04:20 pm
8
1
When did the Interstate Sales law quietly change?

The case for face-to-face purchases, adjoining state resident sales were not against the law.

http://www.atf.gov/content/firearms-frequently-asked-questions-unlicense...

http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/licensees-conduct-of-business.html

My son purchased an MP Shield (early model)from them saving about $85 off Atlanta Prices.

If they sold to Felons They needed to go.

nocnoc
47440
Points
nocnoc 07/21/14 - 04:22 pm
4
1
BTW:

Wondering if these Debow's were related to the Gracewood area Byrd Rd DeBow's?

If so, The DeBow's I knew ,had their daughter murdered in the early 1970's when someone locked her in her room an touched the building
she was in. It happened over there in North Augusta Across from what was 7 Lakes Par 3 golf course.

pottsville
235
Points
pottsville 07/21/14 - 06:22 pm
4
0
ColCo

ColCo, what is an FFL? ty

itsanotherday1
47042
Points
itsanotherday1 07/21/14 - 06:30 pm
6
0
Debow and people like him are

Debow and people like him are the majority of the problem with criminals getting guns. i say crooked dealers should go to jail for longer than 40 months. The penalty needs to be enough to deter the temptation.

gargoyle
19606
Points
gargoyle 07/21/14 - 07:41 pm
3
0
Federal Firearms License

Federal Firearms License

Riverman1
90820
Points
Riverman1 07/22/14 - 06:32 am
1
3
What I Don't Get

I see nothing wrong with selling guns across state lines. The Constitution plainly gives us the right to own guns and that means buying them. All these artificial rules impinge on our rights.

Further, if he told the felon it was legal if his mother bought the guns, how is that breaking the law? He told him the truth.

bdouglas
5588
Points
bdouglas 07/22/14 - 08:39 am
2
1
@nocnoc It's against the law

@nocnoc It's against the law for a licensed firearms dealer to sell a handgun face to face to an individual who is a resident of another state. The weapon must be transferred to another licensed dealer in the purchaser's state of residence and then to the individual. The links you posted both clearly say that, so I'm not sure where the confusion is?

@RM There is no law preventing purchasing across state lines. The weapons just have to be transferred properly to a licensed dealer in your home state if it's a handgun. If it's a long gun, your home state border must adjoin the border of the state you're purchasing in face to face.

itsanotherday1
47042
Points
itsanotherday1 07/22/14 - 09:14 am
1
2
"Further, if he told the

"Further, if he told the felon it was legal if his mother bought the guns, how is that breaking the law?"

If I was a juror, I would vote for a conspiracy to commit a crime conviction in that case. It would be clear to me that he was instructing the person, for personal gain, on how to circumvent the law.

dichotomy
36339
Points
dichotomy 07/22/14 - 09:24 am
1
1
"Further, if he told the

"Further, if he told the felon it was legal if his mother bought the guns, how is that breaking the law? He told him the truth."

They call that a "strawman" purchase and if the dealer knowingly does that they violate the law.

Riverman1
90820
Points
Riverman1 07/22/14 - 09:59 am
1
1
Now wait a minute

Now wait a minute. If he wanted guns in his family and knew he couldn't purchase or keep guns, it seems to be reasonable to encourage his family member to buy the guns. Now I understand the felon can't live in the same house with the guns, but who said he was going to even though that's exactly what he did? You can't blame the dealer for that. The dealer did no more than inform him of the law and told him it would be legal for his mother to buy guns. A lawyer would have told him the same thing. Of course the feds didn't see it that way, I realize.

bdouglas
5588
Points
bdouglas 07/22/14 - 10:30 am
1
1
@RM

You're assuming a lot, though. The story just says, "To get around the law, Debow suggested that the felon should bring his mother in to fill out the required forms of ownership, Stricklin testified." That is completely illegal. Sworn testimony that says "To get around the law..."

bdouglas
5588
Points
bdouglas 07/22/14 - 10:32 am
1
1
Further, and adding to

Further, and adding to Dichotomy's point, the background check information you are required to fill out specifically asks if you are purchasing the firearm for another person. The felon's mother should also be charged with a crime in this situation.

jimmymac
45888
Points
jimmymac 07/22/14 - 10:44 am
1
0
IDIOT
Unpublished

This idiot gives honest dealers a bad name. Libs will use this to indict all dealers with their propaganda. They love stories like this to push their no gun agenda.

Riverman1
90820
Points
Riverman1 07/22/14 - 11:36 am
1
1
IMHO

Well, like I said, I'm looking at this the same way a lawyer would. It is not against the law to tell the man he can't buy a gun, but his mother can. We all know what probably happened, but I just can't see putting that guy in prison for THAT. He lawfully told the customer that he couldn't sell to him. Then he told him the law concerning who could buy. He didn't TELL him to get the guns from his mother after she bought them. Anyway, that's my opinion that the judge didn't agree with. Heh.

corgimom
36840
Points
corgimom 07/22/14 - 02:42 pm
1
1
Does anybody think for 5

Does anybody think for 5 seconds that he will never be around a gun again?

He sold his inventory to his girlfriend, which is completely legal.

paladin5
307
Points
paladin5 07/23/14 - 01:45 am
1
0
MOM HAS A LOTTA GUNS.....

Did the BATFE confiscate all the guns "Mom Bought" in her name?

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