California: Police lieutenant to plead guilty to illegal sale of over 100 ‘off-roster’ guns

In this Oct. 6, 2011, file photo, then Pasadena Police officer Sgt. Vasken Gourdikian pariticpates in the Relay Race with students against Pasadena Firefighters and students at Madison Elementary in Pasadena, Calif. The former Southern California police lieutenant who also acted as a department spokesman has agreed to plead guilty in connection with the illegal sale of more than 100 guns, prosecutors said Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. Former Pasadena Police Lt. Gourdikian of Sierra Madre, Calif., signed an agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty on Sept. 20 to dealing in firearms without a license and lying during a gun purchase. (Walt Mancini/The Orange County Register via AP, File)

By AMANDA LEE MYERS,  Associated Press  LOS ANGELES (AP) 09/08 — A former Southern California police lieutenant who also acted as a department spokesman has agreed to plead guilty in connection with the illegal sale of more than 100 guns, prosecutors said Friday.

Former Pasadena Police Lt. Vasken Gourdikian of Sierra Madre signed an agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty on Sept. 20 to dealing in firearms without a license and lying during a gun purchase.

Prosecutors say Gourdikian used his job to get around California’s strict gun laws to resell at least 108 guns between 2014 and 2017.

As an officer, they say Gourdikian was able to buy so-called “off-roster” handguns, which aren’t available to the public and aren’t listed in a catalog of certified handguns maintained by the state.

Although police officers aren’t prohibited from selling off-roster guns to members of the public, Gourdikian “made a business of dealing firearms without a license, in part, by abusing exemptions made available to him under California law as a sworn peace officer,” according to the plea agreement.

Gourdikian resigned in March after a 22-year career.

Mark Werksman, Gourdikian’s attorney, said his client didn’t’ realize he was breaking the law “but sees now that’s what he did.”

Gourdikian is a firearms enthusiast who had a large and growing collection for his own personal use, and inadvertently became an unlicensed firearms dealer by buying and selling so many guns in a relatively short period of time, Werksman said, calling his client’s actions “a regulatory crime.”

“If he had gone out and gotten a $25 license to be a firearms dealer, none of this would have happened,” he said.

Prosecutors say they plan to request a prison sentence of 30 months but Werksman said he’ll be asking that Gourdikian get probation.

“This is a man with an exemplary service record who spent his entire adult life serving his community admirably and without blemish,” he said.

One of the guns that Gourdikian sold was recovered at a crime scene two months after it had been purchased, said Bill McMullan, special agent in charge of the Los Angeles field division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Explosives.

U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said in a statement that Gourdikian’s “actions clearly violated federal law and introduced unauthorized firearms into the community.

“By his participating in these illegal acts, Gourdikian compromised public safety and violated the public’s trust,” Hanna said.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in: ATF - BATFE, Crime & Criminals, Dept. of Justice, Firearms, Guilty Pleas, Illegal Activities, Misconduct/Abuse of Authority, Plea Agreements, Police, Public Safety, Sentencing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

13 + 8 =

Terms of Use for Posting Comments

Terms of Use

This site (the “Site”) is operated and maintained by Law Enforcement Education Foundation, Corporation (“Company”). Throughout the Site, the terms “we”, “us” and “our” refer to Company.  The words “user,” “you” and “your” as used herein refer to you.

Please read these terms and conditions of use (“Terms of Use”) carefully before contributing content. If you do not agree to these Terms of Use, please do not contribute content. Your use of the Site is subject to the Terms and Conditions found here .

By contributing content to the Site, you represent and warrant that you are at least eighteen (18) years old and that you have read and understand these Terms of Use and any amendments thereto and agree to be bound by them. If you are not at least eighteen (18) years old or you do not agree and accept these Terms of Use, you are prohibited from contributing content.

From time to time, we may permit users to submit content to the Site.  You hereby acknowledge and agree that by submitting remarks, comments, suggestions, ideas, graphics, feedback, edits, concepts, comments, photographs, illustrations and other materials (other than personal information and/or registration information) through the Site (individually and collectively, “Submissions”), you (i) grant us a nonexclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, transferable, irrevocable and fully sub-licensable right to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, translate, distribute, publish, create derivative works from and publicly display and perform such Submissions throughout the world in any media, now known or hereafter created, without attribution to you; (ii) grant us the right to pursue at law any person or entity that violates your and/or our rights in your Submissions; and (iii) forever waive any and all of your rights, including but not limited to moral rights, if any, in and to your Submissions, including, without limitation, any all rights or requirements of attribution or identification of you as the author of the Submission or any derivative thereof.  We reserve the right to remove any of your Submissions from the Site, in whole or in part, without notice to you, for any reason or no reason.

Submissions are made voluntarily. Any submissions which include personally identifiable information are subject to our Privacy Policy found here .  You may not upload or otherwise publish content on the Site that (i) is confidential to you or any third party; (ii) is untrue, inaccurate, false or other than an original work of your authorship; (iii) that relates to or impersonates any other person; (iv) violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property rights of any person or entity; (v) contains any content, personally identifiable information or other information, or materials of any kind that relate or refer to any other person or entity other than the provider of the products, goods or services to which the Submission relates; or (vi) violates any law, or in any manner infringes or interferes with the rights of others, including but not limited to the use of names, information, or materials that (A) libel, defame, or invade the privacy of any third party, (B) are obscene or pornographic, (C) are harmful, threatening, offensive, abusive, harassing, vulgar, false or inaccurate, racially, sexually, ethnically or are otherwise objectionable or otherwise contrary to the laws of any place where such Submissions may be accessed; (D) constitute personal attacks on other individuals; (E) promote criminal, immoral or illegal activity; (F) promote or advertise any person, product or service or solicit funds; or (G) are deemed confidential by any contract or policy.

You are solely responsible for any Submissions you make and their accuracy. We take no responsibility and assume no liability for any Submissions posted by you or any third party.

Unless approved by us in writing in advance, you agree not to: (i) provide or create a link to the Site; or (ii) create any frames at any other sites pertaining to any of the content located on the Site.

We reserve the right, in our discretion, to update, change or replace any part of these Terms of Use for Posting Comments by posting updates and/or changes to our Site.  It is your responsibility to check this page periodically for changes.  Your continued use of, and/or access to the Site, following the posting of any changes to these Terms of Use for Posting Comments, constitutes your acceptance of those changes.