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Mill Valley man pleads guilty to turning garage into illegal gun factory

PIX Now 12:43

SAN FRANCISCO -- A Mill Valley man has pleaded guilty in federal court to converting his garage into a factory to manufacture illegal firearms and ghost guns.

James William Palmer admitted to one count of unlicensed firearms manufacturing and dealing and now faces 5 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

 In a plea agreement he entered Monday, Palmer admitted that from May 2020 to January 2021 he engaged in manufacturing and dealing in firearms.  He maintained an area in his garage for his firearms manufacturing and had on hand the tools, parts and accessories necessary to do so. He also admitted he sold marijuana during this time period.  

To run his firearm business, Palmer communicated with buyers and sellers of firearms using text messages in which he discussed the prices for firearms, the meeting places for transactions and the amounts owed.

He also utilized a white board to write down customer names and numbers and the amounts owed or paid by the customers.  As an example of one of his firearms sales, Palmer described a sale in October 2020 of a Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol to a customer for $780.

On the day of his arrest on January 27, 2021, Palmer was driving his car and had ammunition in his pants pocket, a loaded Glock Model 26 .45 ACP caliber semi-automatic pistol in the car and two loaded .45 caliber magazines in the center console.
He had bought the Glock pistol for $900 at a gun show, paying a higher price to avoid paperwork and get the handgun immediately.

Palmer also admitted that on the day of his arrest he had in his garage multiple firearm receivers in various stages of handgun construction, privately made firearm ghost gun jigs and firearms parts and assorted ammunition along with the tools necessary to manufacture firearms. 

 He also had in his garage a Glock pistol frame with its serial number plate removed as well as magazines of standard and high capacity for multiple firearm calibers. 

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