Following legal trouble, capital investment firm acquires Stag

Mark Malkowsk

Mark Malkowski, 37, is founder and former owner of Stag Arms. (Photo: AP)

Ownership of Connecticut gun maker Stag Arms changed hands, ending a dark period in the company’s 13-year history, as a Miami capital investment firm announced the acquisition Monday.

Officials with White Wolf Capital said they were “very excited to add Stag to our portfolio of outstanding companies in the firearm industry,” but did not disclose details of the transaction, according to a release sent to Guns.com.

White Wolf has invested in five other gun or gun related companies since 2012, and has engaged investment opportunities involving American companies that generate between $10 million and $100 million in revenue and up to $10 million in net income, according to the firm’s website.

A search of Connecticut business registrations showed a change in Stag’s ownership dated Feb. 10 and an amendment added Feb. 29, the day White Wolf made the announcement.

In December, Stag’s now former owner Mark Malkowski pleaded guilty to violating federal gun laws and had his federal firearms license revoked. Coinciding with the plea, the company said it had been negotiating a change in ownership and that Malkowski would stay on as a consultant.

Under his guilty plea, Malkowski cannot own, operate or manage a firearms company, though he is allowed to work in the industry. In addition to giving up his FFL, the company agreed to pay a $500,000 fine.

Initially, the highest degree of criminal charges against Malkowski amounted to a felony for possession of an unregistered machine gun, but those have since been terminated, according to the docket for the case. However, misdemeanor charges remain for failure to maintain firearms records.

Sentencing recommendations for Malkoswki were filed on Feb. 26, but were sealed from public view. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for March 29 in a Hartford federal court.

The criminal charges stem from civil allegations launched in September 2014 after federal regulators discovered unserialized lower receivers for both semi-auto and full-auto firearms inside Stag’s facilities during a routine inspection months before, according to court documents.

Company officials told inspectors that the items were not serialized because the person responsible for the task was on vacation. In response, inspectors issued a warning to the company and then returned seven days later only to discover the lower receivers still unserialized.

Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives seized 103 lower receivers, despite identifying 3,000 as unserialized, in May 2015.

After establishing itself as a contender in the AR-15 market, Stag gained notoriety in 2013 as a voice for the gun industry in Connecticut. Malkowski made numerous media appearances and spoke to state lawmakers to argue against strict gun control legislation lobbied in response to the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

For his effort, Malkowski was named “Business Person of the Year” in 2013 by the industry’s lobby, the National Shooting Sports Foundation. He founded Stag in 2003.