July 28, 2010

Acton resident admits selling firearms to felon

The case highlights tension over the flow of guns from Maine to Massachusetts.

By Trevor Maxwell tmaxwell@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND - A 38-year-old Acton man has pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge that he sold dozens of handguns to a convicted felon from Massachusetts, a case that highlighted the controversy over Maine guns making their way to the Bay State.

Randy Goodwin faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced later this year.

According to U.S. District Court documents, Goodwin began selling guns in late September 2009 through the popular classified bulletin Uncle Henry's. Around that time, Goodwin also began buying guns from a federally licensed dealer in Waterboro.

Between September 2009 and January 2010, Goodwin sold close to 100 handguns to Joseph Burns, Assistant U.S. Attorney Darcie McElwee wrote in court summaries of the cases against both men.

With every purchase, Goodwin also provided Burns with a box of ammunition, the prosecutor wrote.

In turn, Burns distributed the guns in Massachusetts. In the fall and early winter of 2009, several guns traced to Goodwin were seized by police during arrests in Burns' hometown of Lynn, Mass.

Burns and another Massachusetts man, 24-year-old Marvin Davis of Boston, were arrested March 4 during a sting operation by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Burns allegedly drove Davis to the park-and-ride lot off the Maine Turnpike to buy guns from Goodwin. Agents monitored the transaction and arrested the men after they allegedly paid $600 for a 9 mm pistol and a .380-caliber pistol.

Davis is prohibited from possessing guns because of prior convictions for armed robbery, armed assault with intent to kill and drug distribution.

Burns pleaded guilty in June to a federal charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He faces up to 10 years in prison, and his sentencing date is scheduled for Oct. 7.

Davis has agreed to plead guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, and he also will plead guilty to a separate firearm possession charge in Massachusetts, according to court records. His case in Portland has been reassigned to the U.S. District Court in Boston.

The flow of guns from Maine to Massachusetts has been a source of tension.

Massachusetts requires all private sellers and all buyers in private sales to file a detailed report of the sale with a state criminal history board within seven days of the sale.

In Maine and several other states, private buyers of firearms must supply only proof of residency in that state. Recent proposals to toughen the regulations in Maine have failed in the Legislature.

In 2006, an advocacy group put a message on a 250-foot-long billboard near Fenway Park in Boston, claiming that Maine's lax gun-control laws were helping to fuel violence in the city.

Stanley Jenkins, 22, a member of a Boston street gang, was sentenced last year to 17½ years in prison for trafficking guns and drugs between Boston and Maine.

Jenkins recruited people to buy more than 20 guns through Uncle Henry's. He then sold some of the guns and distributed others to members of his gang, the Franklin Hill Giants.

 

Staff Writer Trevor Maxwell can be contacted at 791-6451 or at: tmaxwell@pressherald.com

 

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