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Jackson man pleads guilty to using 3D printers to manufacture machine guns

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Image courtesy of the Department of Justice

A Jackson man has pled guilty to two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and one count of engaging in business as a manufacturer of firearms.

Kent Edward Newhouse, 41, acquired firearms and assembled them from April to July.  In April, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) discovered that Newhouse had been using 3D printers to manufacture auto-sears, which are firearm components designed to cause semi-automatic firearms to function as fully automatic machine guns. Under federal law, auto-sears are considered machine guns.

On July 13, Newhouse sold a confidential informant a firearm and several auto-sears.  On July 20, a search warrant was executed at Newhouse’s residence, where additional firearms and auto-sears were located.  The government also obtained videos of Newhouse operating fully functional machine guns.  Newhouse had previously been convicted of felony sale of controlled substances in Madison County in 2009.

“The use of 3D printers to unlawfully manufacture firearms, and to make devices to convert semi-automatic firearms into machine guns, poses a real and current threat to our communities,” ATF Special Agent in Charge Kurt Thielhorn said. “ATF is committed to investigate and seek prosecution of these cases to the fullest extent of the law in order to protect our citizens.”

Newhouse will be sentenced on December 2. He faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count of felon in possession of a firearm; and 10 years and a $250,000 fine for engaging in business as a manufacturer of firearms.

ATF, the FBI, and the Jackson Police Department investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew W. Eichner and Jessica Terrill are prosecuting the case.

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