MONROE, La. – United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced that Nelson Bell Jr., 52, of Monroe, was sentenced today to 72 months in prison and three years of supervised release U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty for possessing two unregistered shotguns. He previously pleaded guilty to the federal charges on April 9, 2019.
Monroe Police went to Bell’s home on October 23, 2017, in response to a complaint. The officers determined that Bell had fired a gun in the living room, hitting a couch across from where his wife was sitting, and then went outside and fired a shot into the air. Officers found an ejected shell from the firearm on the living room floor and two shotguns, an Ithaca shotgun, Model 37, 12 gauge and a Browning shotgun, Model Light Twelve 12 gauge. Law enforcement agents measured the barrels of both shotguns and found they measured less than 18 inches in length, the minimum length required by law. Bell admitted to possessing the firearms, and that he was aware they were not registered as required by law. Under federal law, shotguns with barrels shorter than 18 inches must be registered.
The ATF and the Monroe Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tennille M. Gilreath prosecuted the case.
Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. Project Safe Neighborhoods is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.