County Councilman Sentenced to a year and a half in Federal Prison for False Statements While Trying to Buy a Firearm

ammunition or rounds for a gun or a firearm, shooting ammo

Columbia, South Carolina — Acting United States Attorney M. Rhett DeHart, announced today that Kerry Trent Kinard, 50, of Bamberg, was sentenced to a year and a half in federal prison after pleading guilty to making false statements while trying to illegally acquire a firearm.

According to evidence presented in court, while on state bond on seven felony indictments, and while subject to a protective order imposed by a South Carolina Family Court judge, Kinard went into a federally licensed firearms dealer in Columbia and attempted to purchase a Taurus Model G3 9 mm pistol and ammunition.

In the process, Kinard made two false statements to the firearms dealer.  First, in filling out a standard form, he was asked, “Are you under indictment … in any court for a felony, or any other crime for which the judge could imprison you for more than one year?” Kinard falsely answered, “No.”  Second, he was asked, “Are you subject to a court order … restraining you from harassing, stalking, or threatening your child or an intimate partner or child of such partner?”  Again, Kinard falsely answered, “No.”  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) recovered GPS ankle monitor coordinates and surveillance of the attempted purchase.

Kinard knew his statements were false, having participated in hearings on both the state felony charges and the protective order, as well as having been suspended from service on the Bamberg County Council by virtue of the felony indictments.

Kinard had also failed to comply with conditions of bond set by the state court judge, and assurances were made in state court that Kinard would surrender firearms if he were released on bond.

The South Carolina Family Court also had made a finding that Kinard “represents a credible threat to the physical safety” of the petitioner in that case, and that he “used, attempted to use, or threatened to use physical force … that is reasonably expected to cause bodily injury.”  That court also wrote in its order that Kinard was prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm under federal law.

On December 4, 2020, Kinard was charged via criminal complaint, and has remained in federal custody since that time.  After his arrest, Kinard obstructed the federal investigation by providing ATF leads he knew were false.  After a grand jury indicted Kinard on two counts related to false statements, Kinard pled guilty to one count of making a false written statement to a licensed firearms dealer.

United States District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis sentenced Kinard to 18 months in federal prison, to be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision. This was the high-end of the recommended sentence and supervised release term. There is no parole in the federal system.

The case was investigated by the ATF and the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).  Assistant United States Attorney Elliott B. Daniels prosecuted the case.

The case was prosecuted as part of the as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.


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