TLC star Brandon Putman is facing felony gun charges after allegedly attempting to make an AR-15 gun fully automatic, RadarOnline.com has learned.
Putman, 31, is one of 26 family members living in the same house with parents Barbara and Billy Putman in Pigeon, Michigan. The supersized family's unconventional lifestyle is documented on the TLC show, Meet The Putmans.
According to an affidavit obtained by RadarOnline.com, Putman faces the charges of illegally possessing a machine gun, receipt or possession of a firearm unregistered with the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, and transfer of a firearm.
The document states that on Nov. 28, 2017, Putman allegedly entered a gun shop in Elkton, Michigan and asked the owner, Pat McArdle, to create 10 duplicates of a metal firearm part he brought in. McArdle later discovered that the part Putman brought in "was very similar to a full-automatic conversion sear for an AR-15," according to court records.
The shop owner reported the information to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Special agent Stephen Ross took on the case and met with McArdle at his gun shop on Dec. 15, 2017.
"I examined the metal part and agreed that it resembled a Drop-In Auto Sear (DIAS) for an AR-15," Ross wrote in the affidavit.
The device is intended to "convert an AR-type rifle into a fully-automatic assault rifle," court docs further.
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If legally registered, the part Putman obtained would be worth $40,000, court docs state. Ross shipped the metal part to the ATF Firearms and Technology Branch. The branch "determined that it was an authentic AR-15 drop-in auto sear designed and intended for use in converting a weapon into a machine gun," documents state.
On Jan. 9, an undercover agent posing as an employee at the gun shop reached Putman over the phone. The reality TV star informed the agent that the DIAS worked in "multiple applications," the affidavit states.
"Agent Wickwire understood that statement to mean that Putman has successfully used the DIAS in multiple AR-15 type rifles," the court papers state.
The agents discovered that Putman had "no firearms, including no drop-in auto sears" registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Record.
Putman's charges come at a controversial time as the country is discussing gun laws at length after the Florida high school shooting where 17 people, mostly teens, were left dead.
Putman has been released on an unsecured bond set at $10,000. Documents state that Putman has until March 7 to turn in his passport and any firearms, weapons or destructive devices. The court has also ordered the TLC star to stay in the state of Michigan.
If convicted, Putman could reportedly face up to 10 years in prison.
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