United States District Court, D. Colorado
FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS AND ORDER
Brooke Jackson, United States District Judge
case was tried to the Court on July 5, 2018. At the
conclusion of the trial the parties requested an opportunity
to submit post-trial briefs. The briefs have been received
February 13, 2018 Dr. Carlson completed ATF Form 4473 in order
to purchase two shotguns at Stop Drop & Shop, a licensed
firearms dealer located at 3952 N. Academy Blvd., Colorado
Springs, CO 80917.
Section A, question 11.b. of ATF Form 4473 asks, “Are
you under indictment or information in any court for a
felony, or any other crime for which the judge could imprison
you for more than one year? (See Instructions for
Question 11.b.).” Dr. Carlson checked the box
“No.” 3. The second page of ATF Form 4473
contains a certification that reads in pertinent part as
I certify that my answers in Section A are true,
correct and complete. I have read and understand the Notices,
Instructions, and Definitions on ATF Form 4473. . . . I
understand that a person who answers “yes” to any
of the questions 11.b. through 11.l. . . . is
prohibited from purchasing or receiving a firearm.. . .
I also understand that making a false oral or written
statement, or exhibiting any false or misrepresented
identification with respect to this transaction, is a crime
punishable as a felony under Federal law, and may also
violate State and/or local law. (bolding in
original, italics added).
employee who dealt with Dr. Carlson on February 13, 2018,
John Foster, testified that he told Dr. Carlson, as is his
routine practice, to read and fill out the first page of ATF
Form 4473, then flip the page over and read the top portion
on the second page (the certification quoted in part above),
and then sign the form.
Carlson testified that he did not read the certification
language before he signed and dated the form, but he had read
that language in the past. Oddly, Dr. Carlson dated his
signature 3/13/17 and then corrected the date to say 3/18/18.
Gov't Ex. 2. The actual date was 2/13/18. He did not
explain the error in the date, and Mr. Foster testified that
he didn't notice it. Dr. Carlson also abbreviated
Colorado Springs as “Colo Spgs” rather than
spelling it out or using a U.S. Postal abbreviation, but he
corrected that mistake.
the time Dr. Carlson was in fact under indictment for a
felony. Specifically, in United States v. Thomas Forster
Gehrmann, Jr. and Eric William Carlson, Case No.
15-cr-00303-RBJ, pending in this district before this judge,
Dr. Carlson was under indictment for one count of Conspiracy
to Defraud the United States in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
371 (Count 1), and three counts of Willfully Subscribing a
Tax Return Containing Falsities and Causing Acts to be Done
in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7206(1) and 18 U.S.C. §
2 respectively (Counts 5, 6 and 7).
15-cr-00303-RBJ this Court had issued an order on March 4,
2016 suppressing certain evidence that the United States
planned to use against Dr. Gehrmann and Dr. Carlson. That
suppression order was appealed, and while the interlocutory
appeal was pending, the case had remained largely inactive in
the district court.
Notwithstanding the inactive status of the 2015 case due to
the then-pending appeal, Dr. Carlson acknowledged during the
hearing in the present case that he remained aware of the
indictment on February 13, 2018. However he testified that
the indictment was not in his mind at the time. He also
testified that he looked at question 11.b, saw the word
“felony” in bold letters, and then answered
“no” because he had not been convicted.
Carlson was under Pretrial Services supervision in case
number 15-cr-00303-RBJ in February 2018. He testified that he
told the Pretrial Services officer that he possessed firearms
but no restriction was imposed.
During the trial in the present case, Dr. Carlson testified
that he purchased the two shotguns to fulfill Christmas
presents that he had given each of his two sons-in-law. He
presented photographs of the shotguns at the time because,
according to him, he didn't have the money to make the
purchases yet. Both sons-in-law confirmed at trial that they
had been given gifts of the shotguns for Christmas 2017, and
that the Carlson family had a significant interest in hunting
Both sons-in-law were eligible to purchase a shotgun and
could have gone to the firearms dealer, picked up the
shotguns, and completed ATF Form 4473's ...