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Posted on Thu, Aug 26, 2010 : 1:35 p.m.

Gun dealer gave discount to Hutaree members, federal prosecutors say

By Lee Higgins

An Adrian firearms dealer facing a federal gun charge admitted to giving a 10 percent discount to "all Hutaree members," federal prosecutors allege in a court filing.

In addition, 53-year-old Walter Priest acknowledged to FBI agents on Feb. 27 that he is an acquaintance of Hutaree leader David Stone, who considers Priest a member of the militia group, the filing says.

Priest indicated to investigators that "he does not consider himself" to be a Hutaree member, records show.


Walter Priest

Priest, owner of Gun Outfitters, LLC, was indicted in April on a charge of possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number.

The government’s Aug. 19 filing was in response to a motion to dismiss the case by Priest’s attorney, Harold Gurewitz, alleging retaliatory and selective prosecution.

Gurewitz said Priest is being prosecuted not because of an alleged illegal gun sale two years ago, but because he may have engaged other legitimate firearms transactions with Hutaree members.

Gurewitz claimed “ATF officials have apparently engaged in a pattern of leaks” to, The Detroit News and Newsweek, attempting to link Priest to the “now notorious Hutaree indictment.”

Prosecutors argue that no evidence has been presented of "vindictiveness by the government" in prosecuting Priest. The government's filing notes Priest applied for and received an ATF license to manufacture firearms while the investigation was pending. That license was in addition to his original license to sell firearms, the filing says.

"This serves as additional evidence that Defendant Priest was not being prosecuted for his assertion of his rights to bear and deal in firearms, but rather, he was granted an extra privilege by ATF, to allow him to further his commercial business activities," Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Gillooly wrote.

Gurewitz's motion to dismiss the case is scheduled to be heard Sept. 15 in federal court in Detroit by U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds.

Priest is free on a $100,000 unsecured bond. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.

Nine members of Hutaree are awaiting trial after being indicted in March on charges including seditious conspiracy and attempting to use weapons of mass destruction. Five are being detained.

Among the allegations is that Hutaree members planned to kill a law enforcement officer and attack the funeral procession motorcade with homemade bombs.

Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for He can be reached by phone at (734) 623-2527 and e-mail at



Sun, Aug 29, 2010 : 1:22 p.m.

walker101,,He was indicted for a gun that does not and has never existed. link to indictment posted above. This is nothing but malicious prosecution. Pretty common these days unfortunately.


Sun, Aug 29, 2010 : 8:45 a.m.

Priest, owner of Gun Outfitters, LLC, was indicted in April on a charge of possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number, same as owing a car dealership and having a vehicle with no vin number? It has nothing to do with the discount.

scooter dog

Sat, Aug 28, 2010 : 8:17 a.m.

Big deal,so he gave them a discount No law against that I own a business and give discounts all the time for various reasons,didn't know that was a crime. If thats the crux of the feds case then there in for another big time in your face lost case The only thing I see the Hutaree members did wrong was to run there big mouths Like the old saying goes,loose lips sink ships


Sat, Aug 28, 2010 : 7:08 a.m.

Sure wish some of these "plain folks" could actually list some of the "rights" that are being "taken" from them. Back a few years ago when rights were actually taken, there was only cheering from these same people. Where were they when the feds were looking at our library records? Where were the "Patriots" when the feds were rounding up 5000 Americans for questioning, all because of their religion? Where were the "patriots" when thew feds were kidnapping people from around the world and holding them indefinitely? They were holding signs that said "We support our President" Hypocritical sheep. Now they are frightened sheep, grasping at firearms to make them feel strong and secure. The reason the feds are concerned about right wing extremism is because it EXISTS! IAN-who is taking your "god given liberties?" Which liberties have been taken from you?


Fri, Aug 27, 2010 : 5:17 p.m.

The writers for just can not seem to get the headlines right. No matter what the topic 80% of the time the headline is not relevant to the real story. It appears more and more that they are always looking for something controversial instead of a straight story. This type of "journalism" is more in line with the Enquirer! Make a statement and wait for someone to prove it wrong. Lee Higgins should be ashamed!


Fri, Aug 27, 2010 : 11:22 a.m.

Looks like the feds are trying everything possible to demonize anyone or groups that will defend their god given liberties. It was obvious from the start that the Hutaree were framed by the FBI informants within the Hutaree. The recently released "MIAC Report" (Google it) considers veterans, gun owners, home schoolers, Ron Paul supporters, etc. as possible domestic terrorists/extremists. People need to watch "Invisible Empire" to learn what is truly going on in this country and world.


Fri, Aug 27, 2010 : 10:12 a.m.

This is the definition of Malicious Prosecution. They are going after him for giving a discount. That is because the Indictment is WORTHLESS. The gun specifically named in the indictment simply DOES NOT EXIST. Read it yourself There is no such gun, A.12 caliber Remington 700?


Fri, Aug 27, 2010 : 9:47 a.m.

I usually choose my firearm facts from previous Law and Order episodes. I've found that it's a lot more reliable than CSI. $100,000 poorer and a possible 5 years...youch!


Fri, Aug 27, 2010 : 8:52 a.m.

"And obliterated means obliterated. It doesn't mean missing. They've been able to detect obliterated serial numbers for a while." Prior to 1968 a serial number might have been stamped on (as in with paint or gold leaf sometimes). Ever seen an old car with worn paint? Would you call that an obliterated paint job connotating an evil hand at work? Good luck "detecting" that. After 1968 the serial numbers should be stamped deeply into the receiver. You can "detect" serial numbers from certain types of "obliteration" from METAL receivers but not all and especially not if you understand how those detection methods work. Also we've had polymer guns for several decades now. Ever accidentaly melt plastic? Had something made out of plastice get run over or otherwise wrecked? Good luck detecting "obliterated" serial numbers from that detective. In those cases should one wish to repair the firearm it would need to go back to the factory and there are provisions for them to re-register the receiver with the ATF. CSI is not a good reference for firearms facts.


Fri, Aug 27, 2010 : 8:28 a.m.

Knowing some of the particulars in this case, a scratch is not an obliteration, a 10% discount to ANYONE, which includes police, firemen, other dealers, is not illegal, nor is knowing someone who lives in your town, but let's make every effort to make it seem so. Attempting to try someone in the media is shameful. The truth will come out. Stay tuned.


Fri, Aug 27, 2010 : 8:01 a.m.

Judging from most of the Hutaree photos I've seen, it must be the "missing link" discount. And obliterated means obliterated. It doesn't mean missing. They've been able to detect obliterated serial numbers for a while.

Jimmy McNulty

Fri, Aug 27, 2010 : 5:31 a.m.

Since when is giving a discount against the law as the title of this article suggests?


Thu, Aug 26, 2010 : 10:30 p.m.

Umm, not quite period. 1) We're talking about a firearms dealer possibly even a gunsmith. Depending on the age and type of firearm there can be any number of reasons a serial number may be hard to read. Wear and tear being one reason. 2) Firearms did not require a serial number until 1968. So can a gun prior to that have an "obliterated" serial number? Depends on who's doing the interpretation. How would an overzealous prosecutor or BATFE agent interpret this? 3) As a dealer or gunsmith, might this dealer have a gun from prior to 1968? OR have a gun that was to be returned to the factory to have the serial number repaired? Waiting to hear more but the ongoing inflammatory headlines from this and the Hutaree case just continue to indicate weak cases.


Thu, Aug 26, 2010 : 7:23 p.m.

It's a crime to possess a firearm with an obliterated serial number. Period.


Thu, Aug 26, 2010 : 2:41 p.m.

I fail to see how a discount is revelant. Nearly every gun dealer and small business person will give you a discount of 10% if you just ask, it really is that simple, also, for a repeat customer we will often do it if you don't ask, you don't even have to be a "buddy". I might also mention that when a close family member went to get my gun permit the Ann Arbor officer asked where he was going to make his purchase. He then recommended a couple places and said let them know I sent you, which translated into a more than 10% discount. So again, I fail to see how this is revelent.


Thu, Aug 26, 2010 : 2:41 p.m.

@djm12652 "It's about a holder of a FFL that ignored the regulations attached to that license and violated the law...and giving the "discount" to a group, per se could open him up to mandatory discounts for any and all groups depending on fair credit regulations...I don't know" The key here is YOU don't Know! Nowhere does it say that giving the 10% discount is against the law! He is being prosecuted for "possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number" The feds just thought it would win them points if they mention the connection.


Thu, Aug 26, 2010 : 1:59 p.m.

"Gurewitz claimed ATF officials have apparently engaged in a pattern of leaks to, The Detroit News and Newsweek, attempting to link Priest to the now notorious Hutaree indictment." Nope no way....mudslinging is not in their vocabulary, why that would only poison a jury pool to what purpose? Since their case is SO strong?


Thu, Aug 26, 2010 : 1:52 p.m.

I fail to see how this is anything but grasping at straws. I think everyone has realized by now that the Hutaree are a bunch of bored rednecks that started a "milita" and spoke openly about their kooky fantasies. I think that law enforcement would be better off targeting real organized crime, not these goofballs and their unfortunate friends.


Thu, Aug 26, 2010 : 1:49 p.m.

I'm apologizing the my Dry Cleaner in advance; I'm sorry I get that discount, and that you were raided by the feds. You replaced all my buttons for free also, so get a good lawyer for that.


Thu, Aug 26, 2010 : 1:34 p.m.

Quick investigate Ahmo's. I have a lunch discount card in my wallet!


Thu, Aug 26, 2010 : 1:24 p.m.

Sooo...what is their point? is it illegal to give your buddies a discount?