AGBINGDON, VIRGINIA – Michael Houser, a Bristol, Virginia man who was convicted of federal gun offenses occurring in both the Western District of Virginia and Western District of North Carolina, was sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court in Abingdon to 30 months in prison, Acting United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar of the Western District of Virginia, United States Attorney Andrew R. Murray of the Western District of North Carolina, and Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Washington Field Division made the announcement today.
Houser, 48, pleaded guilty in October 2020 to two counts of an indictment filed in the Western District of Virginia charging him with possession of an unregistered machinegun and possession of an unregistered silencer. In addition, Houser pleaded guilty to a one-count Information filed in the Western District of North Carolina charging him with illegal possession of firearms by a previously convicted felon. Today’s sentencing covers the charges filed in both districts.
According to court documents, on December 4, 2019, Houser was arrested at his home in Bristol, Virginia on state charges. Following his arrest, Houser called a friend and asked him to retrieve certain firearms and ammunition from Houser’s home. At Houser’s request, the friend retrieved several firearms, a silencer, and ammunition.
During an investigation, ATF agents examined a receiver from one of the firearms and determined that it met the definition of a machinegun. Houser had not registered either the machinegun or the silencer, as required by federal statute.
On or about January 23, 2020, Houser was convicted of two felonies in Washington County, Virginia. After his July 2020 federal indictment relating to the machinegun and silencer, law enforcement located Houser in Avery County, North Carolina. At the time of his arrest, Houser was found to be in possession of three firearms and ammunition, after having been convicted of the two prior felonies.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Avery County, North Carolina Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Whit D. Pierce, of the Western District of Virginia, and David Thorneloe, of the Western District of North Carolina, are prosecuting the case for the United States.