Asheville Man Is Sentenced To More Than Six Years In Prison For Illegal Gun Possession, After Using Straw Buyer To Obtain A Firearm

2 mins read
FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Travis Shaqwann Fair, 32, of Asheville, was sentenced to 80 months in prison and three years of supervised release today for illegal possession of a firearm, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Fair’s girlfriend and co-defendant, Kourtney Nichelle Shivers, 29, of Asheville, was also sentenced to a probationary term of one year for straw purchasing Fair’s firearm.

U.S. Attorney King is joined in making this announcement by Brian Mein, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Charlotte Field Division, and Chief David Zack of the Asheville Police Department (APD).

“Convicted felons who try to circumvent our gun laws and straw buyers who knowingly put guns in the hands of prohibited persons will be subject to federal prosecution,” said U.S. Attorney King. “Gun violence is a grave threat to our communities and we will hold accountable everyone involved in illegal firearm purchasing schemes.”

“Illegal firearm possession is a serious threat to public safety,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Mein. “Removing firearms from the hands of dangerous and prohibited individuals, while also focusing on those who provide them with their firearms, will continue to be a top priority for ATF as we focus our efforts on creating safer communities.”

“The Asheville Police Department supports a citizen’s right to legally purchase and own a firearm,” said Chief Zack. “However, we fully intend to enforce existing gun laws and keep firearms out of the hands of felons and criminals. Stopping gun violence is a top priority of our department and partnering with other law enforcement agencies amplifies our efforts to keep our communities safe.”

According to court documents and court proceedings, on June 10, 2019, Fair visited a licensed firearms dealer in Asheville and consulted with a store employee about purchasing a “cheap” firearm. The store employee showed Fair several firearms, including a 9mm firearm, and Fair left the store shortly thereafter without making a purchase. According to court documents, a short while later, Fair’s girlfriend, Shivers, entered the same store and purchased the same firearm Fair had recently examined. Over the course of the transaction, Shivers falsely certified on the required forms that she was the actual buyer of the firearm, when, in reality, she was a straw purchaser who bought the handgun at Fair’s request and for his use. Court records show that Fair provided Shivers with the funds to purchase the firearm, which she agreed to do, even though Shivers was aware that Fair had prior convictions and was prohibited from possessing a firearm. Shivers later transferred the firearm to Fair.

Shivers previously pleaded guilty to making a false representation while buying a firearm. Fair pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a felon. Fair is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.

In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney King thanked the ATF and the Asheville Police Department for their investigation. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville prosecuted the case.