Feds arrest Iowa gun store owner after sting

IOWA CITY – Federal investigators arrested an eastern Iowa gun store owner this week after he was caught illegally selling a fully automatic machine gun during a sting operation, court records show.

Larry Lee Brauer, owner of Lone Wolf Outdoor Supplies in Calamus, made a brief initial appearance Wednesday in federal court in Davenport following his arrest. He is being held in federal custody until a detention hearing that is scheduled for Friday.

A criminal complaint signed by an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms charges Brauer with knowingly possessing a fully automatic machine gun that was not registered to him in a national database. The charge is the result of a sting operation in which a longtime customer of Brauer’s worked with the ATF to purchase the weapon last month, according to an affidavit.

Brauer’s federal firearms license did not allow him to sell machine guns that are regulated under the National Firearms Act, which requires dealers to register each firearm and receive ATF approval for each sale, the complaint says.

ATF arranged the sting after the customer came forward to complain that Brauer was breaking numerous rules governing firearms sales. The customer alleged that Brauer was illegally making and selling fully automatic machine guns, silencers and sawed-off shotguns and that Brauer was selling other guns without keeping records of the transactions or doing required background checks, the affidavit says.

Wearing a recording device, the customer purchased a Norinco, Mak-90 Sporter machine gun for $750 on Oct. 19, the affidavit says.

“I deny any knowledge of this gun,” Brauer told the customer during the sale, according to the affidavit. “I never had it.”

A public defender appointed to represent Brauer didn’t immediately return a message. His business phone rang unanswered.