Utah felon receives 20-year sentence for illegal firearm possession



(The Center Square) – James D. Brunson, 26, of Orem, Utah, received a 20-year prison sentence from a federal court after being found guilty of being a previously convicted felon in possession of stolen firearms and ammunition.

In July 2022, Brunson was found guilty of possession of firearms and ammunition as a convicted felon and possession of stolen firearms, according to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah.

However, in March 2020, he stole a duffle bag containing nine firearms and ammunition from an Orem residence.

A convicted felon at the time of the crime, Brunson knew he could not legally possess firearms or ammunition.

The duffle bag he stole contained two shotguns, three handguns, one revolver, two .22 caliber rifles, an AR-15 rifle and three boxes of ammunition.

Law enforcement got search warrants and tracked Brunson to an apartment complex in West Jordan, Utah.

Before Brunson was arrested, officers saw him remove a stolen 9mm handgun from his waistband and put it in a nearby grassy area.

The officers then arrested him and found the handgun in the grass and six other firearms he stole hidden in a nearby vehicle.

Two of the firearms he stole have not been found yet. However, officers say Brunson tried to sell the stolen firearms for cash before his arrest.

“Brunson’s criminal acts reflect a brazen disregard for the law and demonstrate why restricted persons having firearms is illegal,” U.S. Attorney Trina A. Higgins of the District of Utah said.

The FBI Salt Lake City Field Office, Provo Resident Agency investigated the case, as did the Orem Police Department and the Utah County Major Crimes Task Force.

“Instead of learning from his past, Mr. Brunson chose to continue a life of crime and put our community at risk of potential gun violence,” Special Agent in Charge Shohini Sinha of the Salt Lake City FBI said. “The FBI and our partners are committed to keeping firearms out of the hands of felons so that our streets are safer for everyone.”

Assistant United States Attorneys Sam Pead and Angela J. Clifford of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah prosecuted the case together. It was initially filed by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelsy Young who was working as a Deputy Utah County Attorney.

The case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods. The program, “brings together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone,” the release said.

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