LOS ANGELES – On January 17, 2020, a Temple City man and his daughter, charged in 2018 with illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, pleaded no contest to charges against them.
Steven David Ponder, 59, pleaded to one felony count each of possession of a firearm by a felon and unlawful assault weapon/.50 rifle activity. Ponder is expected to be sentenced to six years and eight months in state prison on April 8, 2020.
His daughter Riley Elizabeth Ponder, 29, also entered a no contest plea to one misdemeanor count of accessory after the fact. She is expected to be sentenced to one year of summary probation and ordered to complete 100 hours of community service. She may not own, possess or purchase firearms during her probationary term.
In February 2018, California Department of Justice (DOJ) special agents removed a stockpile of Illegal weapons and ammunition from the Ponder’s home including 28 firearms and 66,000 rounds of ammunition. Twelve of the firearms were assault style weapons; 13 of the firearms were AR-15-style rifles, and 11 were ghost guns, in which two were also short barrel, AR-15 style, fully automatic machine guns. Ghost guns are firearms that are untraceable by law enforcement due to their lack of serial numbers; they are built by an individual, not a manufacturer.
Ponder is legally barred from being in the possession of firearms due to two prior felony convictions for counterfeiting money and possessing a machine gun. He is listed in the Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS) database.
“California DOJ special agents have the very dangerous job of enforcing a law that protects all of us by banning guns from individuals who have been convicted of felonies, domestic violence or have a history of mental illness,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “Removing weapons from people who by law should not be in possession of them works toward making California a safer place to live.”
Ponder was originally booked on numerous charges including manufacturing of machine guns, assault weapons, short barreled rifles, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and possession of ammunition by a prohibited person. Ponder’s daughter was originally charged with the illegal possession of an assault weapon.
California was the first in the nation to establish an automated system for tracking firearm owners who might fall into a prohibited status.