Former Bamberg County Councilman sentenced to federal prison for false statements while trying to buy firearm

South Carolina News

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WJBF) – Former Bamberg City Councilman Kerry Trent Kinard, 50, was sentenced to a year and a half in federal prison after pleading guilty to making false statements while trying to illegally purchase a firearm.

According to court evidence, while on state bond on seven felony indictments, and while subject to a protective order imposed by a South Carolina Family Court judge, Kinard went into a federally licensed firearms dealer in Columbia and attempted to purchase a pistol and ammunition.

While attempting to purchase those items, Kinard made two false statements to the firearms dealer. First, he filled out a standard form where he was asked, “Are you under indictment … in any court for a felony, or any other crime for which the judge could imprison you for more than one year?” Kinard falsely answered, “No.” Second, he was asked, “Are you subject to a court order … restraining you from harassing, stalking, or threatening your child or an intimate partner or child of such partner?” Again, Kinard falsely answered, “No.” The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) recovered GPS ankle monitor coordinates and surveillance of the attempted purchase.

Kinard failed to comply with conditions of bond and assurances were made in state court that Kinard would surrender firearms if he were released on bond.

The South Carolina Family Court also had made a finding that Kinard “represents a credible threat to the physical safety” of the petitioner in that case, and that he “used, attempted to use, or threatened to use physical force … that is reasonably expected to cause bodily injury.” That court also wrote in its order that Kinard was prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm under federal law.

On December 4, 2020, Kinard was charged via criminal complaint, and has remained in federal custody since that time. After his arrest, Kinard obstructed the federal investigation by providing ATF leads he knew were false. After a grand jury indicted Kinard on two counts related to false statements, Kinard pled guilty to one count of making a false written statement to a licensed firearms dealer.

United States District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis sentenced Kinard to 18 months in federal prison, to be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision. This was the high-end of the recommended sentence and supervised release term. There is no parole in the federal system.

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