SACRAMENTO- On May 30, 2019, Joseph John Deaser IV, 49, of Arizona, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of an illegal sale of a firearm by a federally licensed dealer in violation of state law.
Under state law, California has an approved roster of firearms that may be sold to the public. A Federal Firearms Licensee is required to make sure any handgun sold is on the approved roster. There is an exemption, however, that permits licensed dealers to sell “non-roster” firearms, or firearms that do not appear on the approved roster, to sworn peace officers. Peace officers who own non-roster firearms may sell them to the public in a private sale, as long as the sale is brokered by a Federal Firearms Licensee.
According to court documents, Deaser was a federally licensed firearm dealer who owned and operated Capital Gun Club, a members-only gun club in Roseville, California. Between December 2014 and April 2018, in order to circumvent California’s law, Deaser conducted straw purchases of new non‑roster firearms using the names and personal identifying information of peace officers that he had obtained through legitimate firearms transactions. By falsely reporting sales to peace officers, Deaser obtained new “non-roster” firearms registered to peace officers that he then sold to the public.
In order to complete many of the transactions, Deaser signed federal and state firearm transaction forms that the purchaser was required to complete, using an officer’s identity as the purchaser. Deaser also placed his fingerprint — almost always his middle finger — on the state firearm transaction forms in the box designated for the “Purchaser’s Right Thumb Print.” In all, Deaser used the identities of six law enforcement officers to obtain approximately 50 non-roster handguns that he subsequently sold to members of the public, including himself.
This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms with assistance from the California Depart of Justice’s Bureau of Firearms.
Deaser is scheduled to be sentenced on August 22. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the illegal sale of a firearm by a licensed dealer in violation of state law and a mandatory two-year prison term consecutive to any other sentence for aggravated identity theft.