SAN DIEGO (CN) — The former CEO of the Freedom Fighters Foundation pleaded guilty Monday to felony gun trafficking and forfeited 16 guns he’d acquired illegally.
Chad Clay Kipper, 34, of Carlsbad and/or San Diego, faces up to five years in federal prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and will be prohibited from ever legally owning a gun, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement Tuesday announcing the conviction.
The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives began investigating Kipper this year when agents “became aware of a private firing range in San Diego where individuals were reportedly firing fully automatic firearms in close proximity to a nearby neighborhood,” according to the U.S. attorney’s statement.
“A subsequent investigation revealed that Chad Clay Kipper was listed with the California secretary of state as the chief executive officer of the Freedom Fighters Foundation, the nonprofit organization that owns the firing range.”
The group defines itself on its web page: “Freedom Fighters Foundation is a non-profit civil liberties organization dedicated to the core principles of constitutionally limited government, conservative family values, free markets and individual liberty.”
It continues: “The nation and its culture are being destroyed by progressive statist and their ideology. The progressive philosophy has created representatives that abdicate their constitutional responsibilities and pass laws that violate your rights. They have obligated your posterity with insurmountable debt. They nominate judges that refuse to uphold the Constitution but rather interpret it without consideration of the original intent. Furthermore, they have established an educational system that no longer educates but indoctrinates, and they willfully disregard the fact that they derive their powers from the consent of the governed. … Education is the key to defeating the progressive statist, their ideology, and their cohorts in the media.
“Freedom Fighters Foundation provides a free basic firearms safety instruction and civics course to underprivileged citizens in our society (underprivileged defined as having no civics or firearms education). … We have marketed this program to high school and college students (and their parents) who have little or no exposure to the true meaning of the Constitution in an attempt to enlighten the participants to the misinformation and indoctrination they have received through the public education system and the media.”
The U.S. attorney said Kipper admitted in his plea agreement that he falsely claimed to be an Arizona resident to buy 14 guns in Arizona in 2016.
“It is a federal crime to make material misrepresentations during the purchase of a firearm,” the U.S. attorney said. “Federal statutes also make it illegal to purchase and transport firearms from one state back to your state of residence, unless you are a licensed firearms dealer.”
Prosecutors added: “Record checks into Kipper revealed that he had not registered any fully automatic weapons with the State of California. The checks also revealed that Kipper, a longtime resident of Carlsbad, had been purchasing firearms in Arizona and had then quickly resold several of them in California for a profit.”
The U.S. Attorney's Office identified Kipper as a resident of both Carlsbad and San Diego.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.