Does the punishment fit the crime for a Florida man who pled guilty to stealing 13 firearms from an Alabama gun store? 30-year old Tevin Michael Coffman admitted to stealing at least one gun, as well as possessing stolen firearms, and doing so while being barred from possessing any firearm or ammunition thanks to a felony conviction. In exchange for his guilty plea, federal prosecutors offered Coffman quite a deal, and now he’ll be spending about six months in federal prison for every stolen firearm found in his possession.
Gander Outdoors, a Dothan business authorized to sell firearms, was burglarized and multiple guns were stolen, according to court records and statements made in court.
Surveillance footage showed someone entering the store, smashing the glass casing of a firearm display counter, and removing 13 handguns. The suspect then placed the guns into a black bag and left the store.
The Dothan Police Department began an investigation and, after reviewing video footage along with other evidence, developed Coffman as a suspect. Shortly afterwards, Coffman was spotted driving a recreational vehicle (RV) that had also been stolen from Gander Outdoors.
Officers conducted a traffic stop of the RV and took him into custody. When they searched the vehicle, officers discovered the stolen firearms and other items used during the burglary. Coffman has previous felony convictions and is prohibited from possessing a firearm.
Despite being caught in a stolen RV with more than a dozen stolen firearms inside, Coffman was offered a plea deal from prosecutors, and he would have been an idiot not to take it given the evidence against him. If the case had gone to trial, it’s possible (however unlikely) that Coffman could have been sentenced to ten years on each charge, and if he’d been forced to serve his sentences consecutively, he easily may have spent decades behind bars.
Instead, with the plea bargain firmly in hand, Coffman was sentenced by a federal judge to 72 months in prison. The plea deal reflects an aspect of the gun control debate that most anti-gun activists would prefer to gloss over; even those prohibited by federal law from possessing a firearm are often given comparatively light sentences for their crimes. Heck, just a few days before Coffman received a six year prison sentence, a Texas man received an even shorter sentence for his role in the burglary of a Mississippi gun store.
Dominic Deshawn Turner was sentenced on Monday to 39 months imprisonment by Senior District Court Judge Neal B. Biggers for conspiracy to steal firearms from a federally licensed firearm (FFL) dealer. The sentence marks the conclusion of a two-year-long investigation and prosecution of a 2019 robbery of Krosstown Trade & Pawn in Clarksdale. Codefendants Corey Alonzo Brown of Killeen, Texas, Raheim Trayvon Avery of Grenada, Mississippi, and Corey Kintrell Lewis of Clarksdale have all been previously sentenced to prison for their roles in the robbery.
Court records show that on February 20, 2019, Krosstown Trade & Pawn in Clarksdale, Mississippi was robbed at gunpoint and the owner, who was working in the store at the time, was physically assaulted during the robbery. Five individuals stole 25 firearms and more than $49,000.00 worth of jewelry. The suspects fled the scene and ATF and the Clarksdale Police Department began investigating the incident.
Nine days after the Krosstown robbery, several firearms and jewelry stolen from the business were recovered by detectives from the Killeen, Texas, Police Department. As a result of a combined investigation by ATF agents and local law enforcement agencies in Texas and Mississippi, law enforcement positively identified five individuals as suspects in the robbery in Mississippi and uncovered a conspiracy to traffic firearms from Mississippi to Texas. ATF agents in Mississippi also located and recovered additional stolen firearms in Clarksdale and Grenada in the possession of individuals who were prohibited from lawfully possessing firearms.
All five suspects from the robbery were identified and prosecuted. One suspect passed away prior to arrest. The remaining four suspects entered guilty pleas to federal charges and were ultimately convicted. Each of the defendants was sentenced to terms of imprisonment and required to pay restitution to the FFL dealer. Corey Lewis was sentenced to 87 months in prison, Raheim Avery was sentenced to 40 months, and Corey Brown was sentenced to serve 24 months in prison.
An armed robbery and a physical assault resulting in the theft of more than two dozen guns (not to mention nearly $50,000 in jewelry), and the stiffest sentence any of the five suspects received was just a little more than 7 years in federal prison.
Keep in mind that Joe Biden’s plan to ban AR-15s and other modern sporting rifles comes with a potential 10-year federal prison sentence for those Americans who don’t hand over their guns to the government or register them with the ATF under the National Firearms Act. If the president had his way, legal gun owners would spend more time behind bars for maintaining possession of their AR-15 than previously convicted felons are facing for stealing dozens of guns during an armed robbery. Joe Biden’s mumbled a lot about cracking down on violent crime, but so far, his Department of Justice seems far more interested in going after those standing up for the Second Amendment than pursuing justice for those stealing firearms and helping to arm violent criminals.