Janesville gun dealer charged with selling firearms without license

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By Kevin Murphy, Special to The Gazette
Saturday, November 11, 2017

MILWAUKEE—A Janesville man accused of selling hundreds of firearms, at least one of which was later seized from a felon, was indicted this week in federal court on charges of selling firearms without a license.

Gary Schroeder, 65, sold firearms at gun shows in Janesville, Delavan, Fort Atkinson and other area cities from at least April 2014 to at least January 2017, recording sales exceeding $200,000, according to court documents.

Schroeder also was indicted for selling firearms to an out-of-state person.

According to court documents:

Schroeder is scheduled to plead guilty to a firearms charge Thursday in federal court in Milwaukee.

Schroeder allegedly turned to selling firearms as his home improvement business, Schroeder Enterprises, began failing. The business had only one job in each of 2015 and 2016, and he and his wife, Joyce, currently live off their Social Security allotments and income.

Signs Schroeder displayed at gun shows indicated he did not collect sales taxes or conduct background checks on his customers.

Schroder bought about 72 firearms between April 28, 2015, and Dec. 9, 201,6 from federally licensed firearms dealers in Wisconsin, routinely buying the same make and model, according to court documents.

The guns were new, low-cost models, not antiques or collectibles.

Several firearms Schroeder sold were found in the possession of people who later were arrested for:

-- Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit,

-- Possessing marijuana with the intent to deliver,

-- Felon prohibited from possessing a firearm, or

-- Operating a firearm while intoxicated and carrying a firearm without a concealed carry permit.

In December 2016, Schroeder had firearms displayed on several tables at a gun show at Delavan Community Park. One sale involved a subcompact semi-automatic .45-caliber pistol that its manufacturer, Springfield Armory, touts as “a great choice for comfortable and reliable concealed carry,” according to court documents.

The gun sold for $603.

Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents executed a search at Schroeder's North Connor Road residence in Janesville on Jan. 4, 2017, and seized 52 firearms, 30 rounds of ammunition and $29,898 in cash.

Joyce Schroeder told ATF agents on Jan. 4 that Gary rented tables and sold firearms at several “Bob and Rocco” gun shows in southern Wisconsin cities, according to documents.

Gary bought the firearms and Joyce found their value on the internet so Gary would know what price to charge in order to make a profit, documents state.

ATF agents also seized three receipt books detailing 219 firearms sales to 197 customers between April 2014 and Dec. 28, 2016. Gross sales documented in the books totaled $128,077, according to the documents.

Schroeder also typically retained the price tags from each firearm he sold. ATF agents seized about 306 price tags representing a total of $207,750 in firearms sales, according to court documents.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Milwaukee filed a civil forfeiture suit against Schroeder in January to retain the seized firearms.

A federal judge has stayed the forfeiture request until Dec. 29.

If convicted, Schroeder faces maximum penalties of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years' supervised release on each of the two firearms charges.

Schroeder’s lawyer, Timothy Kiefer, had no comment on the case. U.S. Attorney spokesman did not respond to a request for further information.

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