In any community, there are going to be some big names. Some are going to be bigger than others, obviously, but you’re going to have some people who become something of celebrities within that community. It’s true of pretty much every area of life, really.
Larry Vickers is one of those in the gun community.
A retired Delta Force NCO, Vickers has a lot of notoriety in the community because he’s been a top-notch educator.
And all that has officially come crashing down.
A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging five defendants with a conspiracy to illegally acquire machineguns and other regulated firearms. Charged in the indictment, which was unsealed yesterday are: Sean Reidpath Sullivan, age 38, of Gambrills, Maryland; Larry Allen Vickers, age 60, of Charlotte, North Carolina; James Christopher Tafoya, age 45, of Albuquerque, New Mexico; Matthew Jeremy Hall, age 53, of Four Oaks, North Carolina; and James Sawyer, age 50, of Ray, North Dakota.
The defendants allegedly intended to impermissibly import into the United States and resell the machineguns and other firearms for profit or to keep for their own use and enjoyment. Sullivan allegedly submitted the false law letters to the ATF seeking to import the machineguns and other restricted weapons. Once the firearms were received, Sullivan allegedly kept some of the machineguns and other restricted weapons and transferred some of the weapons to Vickers, Tafoya, and other conspirators.
In addition to the indictment, Larry Vickers pleaded guilty yesterday to participating in the conspiracy to import and obtain machineguns and other restricted firearms and admitted that he received some of the imported machineguns and other weapons. As detailed in his plea agreement, Vickers kept some of the machineguns and other restricted weapons in his personal collection and transferred other machineguns and restricted weapons to other FFLs and third parties. Vickers also pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to violate U.S. sanctions against a foreign firearms manufacturer between July 2014 and March 2021, in the Southern District of Florida.
Vickers faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for conspiracy to violate federal law regulating firearms and a maximum of 20 years in federal prison for conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. U.S. District Judge Julie R. Rubin has not yet scheduled sentencing for Vickers.
Obviously, Vickers isn’t the only person involved in this, but his guilty plea pretty much puts an end to his ability to train people in firearms. Now, my understanding is that he’s been battling cancer for several years, which may have played a factor in the guilty plea or may not have.
I honestly don’t know.
Now, should anything he did be considered a crime? I honestly don’t believe it should have. However, it is and it’s not like Vickers and the others didn’t know this. I also don’t think this was something someone wanted to do in order to challenge the law. It’s far too involved for that.
Here’s something everyone needs to keep in mind, though. If you’re going to try and become high-profile in the gun community, either as an activist or a trainer, you’d better make sure you do everything above board. With a higher profile comes higher scrutiny.
But then again, if you’re illegally importing machine guns and the feds catch wind of it, it doesn’t really matter how high- or low-profile you are, they’re coming after you.
In a perfect world, Vickers wouldn’t be considered to have done anything wrong. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in this one and in this one, he’s looking at 25 years in prison.