Foley man pleads not guilty to selling guns without license

U.S. District Court in Mobile, Alabama.
U.S. District Court in Mobile, Alabama.(Brendan Kirby/FOX10 News)
Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 10:25 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - A Foley man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges that he sold guns without a license and that he unlawfully imported silencers.

Gun dealers are required to have federal firearms licenses and run criminal background checks on customers. Steven R. “L.O” Hansen regularly sold guns from October 2020 to last February but did not have such a license, according to the indictment.

Defense attorney Dennis Knizley acknowledged that his client went to gun shows in Alabama and Mississippi to sell firearms and that he did not have a license. But Knizley told FOX10 News that the defendant is not a gun dealer.

“He was selling part – not all, a portion – of his pretty vase collection, for financial reasons,” he said.

Federal law allows people to sell guns without licenses as long as they are not commercial dealers. Knizley said the law makes no concrete distinction between the two.

“It’s not a bright-line type of thing,” he said.

Knizley said Hansen does not derive a majority of his income from gun sales. He said he makes most of his money from a survivalist business that sells long-term food supplies and other products.

“There is no wholesale purchases,” he said.

The indictment also includes two counts each of importing and possessing illegal silencers, and two counts of possession of a firearm without a serial number.

Knizley said the devices that Hansen bought could not have worked as silencers.

In addition to the criminal counts, the indictment names more than 300 guns and ammunition that prosecutors want a judge to order the defendant to forfeit.

Hansen faces up to 10 years if convicted of the most serious charges, but the actual punishment likely would be less under advisory sentencing guidelines.