Alaska felon sentenced for possessing 29 guns

A convicted felon living on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula will serve up to four years behind bars for illegally possessing dozens of firearms, including a Sten MKII machine gun.

Steven Andrew Bush, 56, plead guilty in January to one count of possession after law enforcement recovered 28 firearms from the home he shared in Alaska with his ex-fiance. A search of Bush’s second residence in Danville, Virginia — where he was convicted of embezzlement more than 30 years ago — turned up a Smith & Wesson handgun.

Bush insisted less than half of the recovered firearms actually belonged to him, according to documents filed in federal court in Anchorage.

“I lived in a house with my fiance, and she, too, was an avid hunter,” he said. “She had a collection of guns of her own, as well as a son who also had firearms in the house.”

The Soldotna Police Department arrested Bush in February 2017 after receiving reports of an armed man wearing a Department of Homeland Security t-shirt and demanding money for construction work. Officers found a fake Alaska State Trooper’s badge in Bush’s possession during the incident, court records show.

Bush urged leniency from Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy M. Burgess, insisting he’d managed to stay out of trouble for more than 30 years since his 1986 conviction in Virginia. He also accused the FBI of turning his fiance against him in an attempt to drum-up additional charges.

“I have suffered greatly. I have lost my home, my livelihood, my possessions, my heirlooms, my money, but most of all, long cherished friends. I have been — I have been humbled greatly by my arrest, but that was not enough for some,” he said. “I have been eviscerated publicly, and privately humiliated by the FBI in their quest for justice.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office recommended increasing Bush’s punishment to 54 months after he accused the FBI of corruption during court proceedings in April. Burgess imposed a 45 month sentence, instead, with three years of supervised release. He said it was important to “send a message” to others who might consider impersonating law enforcement.

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