Missouri man sentenced to prison for selling machine guns

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U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr. on Thursday sentenced a man from Stoddard County, Missouri to 21 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to sell devices that convert AR-style rifles into fully-automatic weapons.

Edward Hardin supplied his co-defendant Sidney Brianne Scowden, also of Stoddard County, with the devices, also known as “lightning links.”

Scowden sent a Snapchat message to a confidential informant for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on Aug. 3, 2022, offering to sell a lightning link. Eight days later, she sold three of the devices for $1,500 to the informant, saying her source bought a link for $10,000 and made copies. Scowden sold three more devices on Sept. 19, 2022, and another on Oct. 19, 2022. 

Hardin, 41, pleaded guilty in April to a charge of conspiracy to distribute machine guns. Scowden, 28, pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy and three counts of transferring a machine gun. She was sentenced in May to 18 months in prison..

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Willis prosecuted the case.


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