Mississippi man admits to making parts to build illegal machine guns

Published 10:17 pm Friday, September 2, 2022

A Mississippi man has pleaded guilty to three counts in a case that involved using a 3D printer to create devices that turn semi-automatic weapons into machine guns, federal officials said Friday.

Kent Edward Newhouse, 41, of Jackson, pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in business as a firearm manufacturer and two of possessing a firearm after a felony conviction, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Federal law classifies the conversion devices — called “auto-sears” — as machine guns, the statement said.

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“The use of 3-D printers to unlawfully manufacture firearms, and to make devices to convert semiautomatic firearms into machine guns, poses a real and current threat to our communities,” said Kurt Thielhorn, ATF special agent in charge.

Newhouse is set to be sentenced Dec. 2, according to the statement from Thielhorn and U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca.

The maximum prison term for possessing a firearm as a felon is 15 years, with a maximum of 10 years for illegally making firearms as a business. Each can also bring a $250,000 fine.

Newhouse sold several conversion devices and a firearm to a confidential informant on July 13, and more guns and auto-sears were found in his home on July 20, the statement said.

Court documents state that Newhouse possessed firearms on those dates and made firearms as a business from April to July, the news release said.

Newhouse had been indicted Aug. 2 on the charges to which he pleaded guilty on Thursday, as well as one of possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute it, online court records show.

Newhouse was convicted of felony sale of controlled substances in Madison County in 2009.