- Associated Press - Thursday, February 18, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A St. Paul man acted as a gun dealer when he bought and sold dozens of guns online for profit, and did not obtain a proper license or conduct required background checks on his buyers - despite a warning from federal agents, according to court documents unsealed Thursday.

Some of the guns sold by Eitan Benjamin Feldman were used in area crimes within days of their purchase, authorities said.

Feldman, 29, was indicted Thursday on one count of willfully dealing firearms without a license and nine counts of making a false statement during a firearm purchase. He was arrested Thursday, and it was not immediately clear if he had an attorney to comment on his behalf.

Authorities say Feldman portrayed himself as a gun collector, but was instead a gun dealer who sold the weapons to make a living and lied in order to circumvent the law. Federal law requires that firearms dealers be licensed, and that they conduct background checks on buyers. Gun collectors are encouraged to also conduct background checks, but are not subject to the same requirements.

“Mr. Feldman is alleged to have used this exception in violation of the law to get around background checks and endanger all of us,” U.S. Attorney Andy Luger said. “Collectors, gun owners, innocent citizens - all should be outraged by his behavior because it puts everyone at risk.”

According to the indictment, since January 2014, Feldman regularly bought guns from out-of-state online dealers or auctions and resold them to make money. The indictment says that over a two-year period, he completed about 18 separate transactions involving about 41 guns. ATF Special Agent in Charge Jim Modzelewski said Feldman sold at least 50 firearms, mostly handguns, in the Twin Cities area without checking if his buyers could legally possess them.

Last July, an ATF agent told Feldman that some of the guns he sold had been linked to crimes that happened days after Feldman had possession of them. The crimes included a Minneapolis incident in which shots were fired, and a Bloomington incident in which a loaded gun was recovered while someone was allegedly transporting drugs.

The guns were traced to Feldman through ballistics tests and gun tracing techniques. ATF agents searched his home in July and seized five shotguns as well as three bills of sale for four guns.

In October, ATF agents warned Feldman that his behavior likely fit the definition of a firearms dealer and he was ordered to stop.

Despite that, authorities say, he continued to buy and resell firearms, selling at least eight guns from October to January.

The indictment said Feldman sold guns to undercover ATF agents on two occasions - on Dec. 3 and on Jan. 21 - and didn’t ask either agent for identification or conduct checks to make sure they weren’t barred from owning a gun. During both sales, he also lied about how long he had owned the firearms, claiming he had owned them for months when he actually bought them just days earlier.

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Follow Amy Forliti on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/amyforliti. More of her work can be found at https://bigstory.ap.org/content/amy-forliti


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