GREAT FALLS – A jury on Tuesday convicted a Shelby woman of firearms crimes for lying while buying a handgun and then giving it to a juvenile, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.
The jury found Susan Kaytlin Scott, 52, of Shelby, guilty of false statement during a firearms transaction and of transfer of a handgun to a juvenile, as charged in an indictment. Scott faces a maximum 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release on the false statement count and a maximum one year in prison, a $100,000 fine and one year of supervised release on the transfer to a juvenile count.
U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris set sentencing for June 4 and continued Scott’s release.
“Federal firearms laws are in place to protect us from dangerous use. Lying to buy a handgun and then giving it unsupervised to a youth who points the loaded firearm at people is a serious offense. I want to thank Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulette Stewart, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Great Falls Police Department and the Toole County Sheriff’s Office for investigating and prosecuting the case.” U.S. Attorney Alme said.
In evidence presented at trial, the prosecution said Scott bought a Taurus 9mm handgun for a 17-year-old boy on Nov. 21, 2018 at Scheels in Great Falls. In required background paperwork, Scott answered that she was the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm. However, Scott bought the handgun for the boy as an early birthday present. The boy and his friend were present during the purchase, and Scott used the boy’s debit card for the purchase. Following the sale, the boy kept the handgun, and ammunition, at another residence.
A juvenile witness told investigators that the boy kept the handgun in a holster in his bedroom and had a magazine loaded in the pistol but not a round in the chamber. The boy and three friends would take out the handgun, point it at things in the room or at each other. The witness also reported that the boy pointed the handgun at Scott during an argument.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulette Stewart prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the ATF, Great Falls Police Department and Toole County Sheriff’s Office.
This case is part of Project Guardian, a Department of Justice initiative launched in the fall of 2019 to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Through Project Guardian, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Montana is working to enhance coordination of its federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement partners in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes. In addition, Project Guardian supports information sharing and taking action when individuals are denied a firearm purchase by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System for mental health reasons or because they are a prohibited person.