Oregon gun shop owner gets 2 years for selling firearms to felon

A federal court sentenced the former owner of an Oregon gun shop to two years in prison for selling guns to a convicted felon, the Justice Department said last week.

A jury convicted Wilson Lee Clow, Jr., 68, of Grants Pass, Oregon, last June on three counts of selling a firearm to a felon and two counts of making false statements.

The Justice Department indicted Clow in 2012 after he knowingly sold guns to a convicted felon on multiple occasions and even opted to sidestep the legal process to do so, according to court documents. At the time, Clow was a Federal Firearms Licensee and owned and operated 2nd Amendment Guns with his wife.

During the transactions, the ATF informant told Clow that he was a convicted felon and would not pass the background check required to buy a gun. Instead of turning him away, Clow lied on ATF forms, then told the man that if law enforcement caught him with the guns that he should tell them he bought them at a garage sale.

Clow also sold guns from his private collection in an effort to avoid ATF paperwork and kept a running list of firearms he had available for purchase for other felons.

Yet, during interviews with investigators, Clow claimed he had a more righteous objective. He said he knew the felon was an ATF informant and that he engaged the agency in what he called a “reverse-sting.”

Clow said he and his customers had continuously been harassed by the ATF, so he put out a sales ad to lure the agents into the reverse-sting. Clow said he made the sale because he knew the felon was an informant, knew the guns weren’t “going out there,” and he was “just tired of this bullshit.” But the judge quickly dismissed his claims, calling them a “whopper.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and ATF describe FFLs as the “first line of defense” in preventing guns from entering a criminal market. “Mr. Clow’s willingness to operate outside the law, despite being a duly-licensed Federal Firearms Licensee, directly put his fellow Americans at risk,” said Darek Pleasants, special agent in charge for ATF’s Seattle office. He noted the illicit trafficking of firearms is the ATF’s highest priority.

After serving his time in prison, Clow will be required to complete three years of supervised release. As a convicted felon, Clow will no longer be allowed to legally sell or even possess firearms or ammo.