Several Detroit area leaders were recently contacted by the FBI after the discovery of chilling information in the course of arresting an alleged neo-Nazi sympathizer, NBC reports.
The man arrested, Richard Schmidt, according to Ohio state records, is a convicted felon who reportedly spent thirteen years in prison for homicide arising out of a traffic stop incident in which he killed one man and wounded two others.
According to federal law, Schmidt is prohibited from owning or being in possession of any firearms. However, when FBI agents conducted the search last December, of his business and home, they found a total of eighteen weapons that included: more than 40,000 rounds of ammunition, 9 mm Ruger and Sig Sauer pistols, shotguns, AR-15 assault rifles, and high-capacity magazines.
While the initial cause of the investigation is unclear, Schmidt plead not guilty last month when he was indicted on four federal charges, which include possession of illegal weapons, body armor and ammunition.
A government official overseeing the investigation stated that they are currently unable to determine the manner in which Schmidt obtained the weapons. This has lead officials to believe that he probably bought them through private sales or at gun shows, where, according to current federal laws, no background checks or other security measures are required.
An FBI Joint terrorism Task Force spear headed the investigation. Its agents revealed that during the course of their investigation, they discovered that Schmidt was collecting information regarding Detroit area leaders in the Jewish and African American communities. The pages in one of Schmidt’s notebooks included highly detailed information, such as the distance between the president of the Detroit NAACP’s home, office, and church, and information about members of his family. Also found were pages with information about the executive director of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, such as information regarding tenants in his building and other members of his organization. The two leaders have been shown the notebooks and expressed their concern regarding the findings.
Additionally, according to federal search warrants, several Nazi sympathetic items were also seized, including a list of Jewish-owned businesses across the nation, and various items from a German group associated with Adolph Hitler.
This seizure presents an interesting picture of the current state of gun laws in this country. While felons are not allowed to own or be in possession of weapons, if they circumvent the “typical” means of purchasing weapons, unless they come under suspicion for some other reason, law enforcement may remain completely unaware of their indiscretions.
Federal law does not require background checks for purchases through private sales or at gun shows. Of the seventeen states that do have required safety measures for purchasers looking to buy handguns at gun shows, Ohio, where Schmidt was living, is not among them. Background checks for all firearm purchases are only required in six states.
Attorney Steven L. Schwartz is a third generation attorney who has practiced Criminal Defense in the Detroit area for more than twenty years. He is dedicated to his clients, working to secure a dismissal, not guilty verdict or reduced charges. If you need a zealous and experienced criminal defense attorney in the Detroit area, you can visit our website or call (248) 266-8720 to schedule your initial consultation.