Former SC County Councilor Jailed For Lying To Buy A Gun



Kerry Trent Kinard.

Provided by the Bamberg County Detention Center.

Kerry Trent Kinard, a former South Carolina Highway Patrol Soldier, Bamberg County Councilor and Jasper County Magistrate, was sentenced to 18 months in jail Wednesday on Wednesday for lying about a demand at a local store. weapons to buy a gun.

Kinard, 50, was convicted by U.S. judge Mary Lewis in an hour-long hearing at the Federal Courthouse in downtown Columbia.

“If I could give you more, I would,” said Lewis, who also fined Kinard $ 5,500 and required him to undergo a mental exam.

Lewis said she decided to give Kinard the maximum sentence she could because he disobeyed court orders to stay away from his wife in a situation of alleged domestic violence and not possess d ‘fire arms.

“When a court says you have to do (something), you have to do it,” Lewis said. “You have a judge who says you don’t need to have a gun and then you go out and try to buy a gun. “

She also praised federal gun safety laws – which require background checks for handgun buyers – for preventing Kinard from purchasing a gun.

“Some people shouldn’t have guns, and I think you’re one of them,” Lewis said. “There is a reason why some people in certain circumstances should not have access to weapons. “

Kinard’s wife, also present at the hearing, told the judge that she and her children “fear very much that he will harm others and himself … My heart sank when I Heard the news that he was trying to get his hands on a gun. “

Calling Kinard “a professional liar who craves attention,” she said he was telling her “where on his family’s property he was going to put me … It’s scary to think what would have happened if the laws on the guns had not been in effect. place. Please make his punishment harsh so that he realizes that his actions belong to him.

Last December, Kinard attempted to buy a pistol from a Columbia area gun store and filed an application in which he falsely swore he was neither under an act. felony charge or restraining order.

His attempt to purchase a 9mm Taurus handgun from Sportsman’s Warehouse 155 on Piney Grove Road was unsuccessful.

It is against federal law for those charged with felony or restraining orders to purchase a handgun from a federally licensed gun dealer.

Commercial gun stores, federally licensed gun dealers, are required to obtain basic information from potential buyers, including driver’s license data and whether they have been charged or convicted of a crime. They must also query an FBI database to find out if the potential buyer has any pending criminal charges or a restraining order.

If no response is received, the armory must delay the purchase for three days.

At the time Kinard attempted to purchase the handgun he was facing criminal charges of first degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, attempted criminal sexual contact with a minor, two counts of criminal solicitation of a minor, ‘one minor, assault and battery in the first degree and two counts of disseminating obscene material.

The charges stem from incidents that occurred between 2008 and September 2020, according to SC’s law enforcement division, which arrested Kinard.

Kinard was also subject to a restraining order by his wife, according to an ATF affidavit. A state judge had put in place an order to prevent Kinard “from committing further acts of abuse or threats of abuse” against his wife, according to the affidavit.

When Kinard attempted to purchase the weapon, the gun store received no answer to his question and did not proceed with the sale. Soon after, SLED and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives became involved. Kinard was arrested the next day.

A sentencing memo in the case, written by Assistant US Attorney Elliott Daniels, said “the accused lived as if the rules did not apply to him.”

“Although he holds many positions of public trust, according to two state grand juries, his child sexual abuse lasted for years, and a South Carolina family court ruled that his violence against a partner intimate warranted a protective order, ”Daniels wrote.

Daniels told Lewis in court on Wednesday that South Carolina’s domestic violence rate is among the highest in the country and that it should be out of the question to allow someone like Kinard to have a gun. fire.

“You can’t take a risk,” Daniels said. What compounds Kinard’s crime of lying about his request to purchase a gun is that he attempted to obstruct the ATF investigation into the failed purchase .

Kinard’s attorney, Bakari Sellers, told the judge that Kinard has yet to be tried and that there is another side to the “sensational novel” presented by the prosecution.

“He was never a danger to anyone because he was wearing an ankle monitor,” Sellers told the judge, adding that most people who put false information on a gun claim have a second. luck and are not sent to jail.

After the hearing, Sellers told reporters that Kinard was trying to buy the gun for two reasons: it was for sale and he had received threats online.

Kinard’s trial on the charges against the state is scheduled to begin Nov. 29, Sellers said.

Kinard, who was denied bail after being arrested for gun violation last December, has been in jail for 10 months. Kinard will get the credit for the time served and spend the remainder of Lewis’ 18-month sentence in federal prison. Lewis asked Kinard if he had a comment, but he chose not to speak.

Making false statements on an application to purchase a firearm carries a potential maximum charge of 10 years. But because Kinard has no criminal history – he has yet to be tried on state charges against him – federal sentencing guidelines have limited Lewis to a much longer sentence. weak.

Kinard, an Air Force veteran, was a policeman with the Allendale Police Force and a soldier with the SC Highway Patrol. He also served as Jasper County Magistrate before serving on Bamberg County Council in 2012. He was also director of sports information at the University of South Carolina-Salkehatchie. He lost a candidacy for re-election to the county council last year.

He pleaded guilty to the firearms charge last April.

This story was originally published 20 October 2021 4:06 pm.

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John Monk has covered courts, crime, politics, public corruption, the environment and other issues in the Carolinas for over 40 years. A US Army veteran who covered the US invasion of Panama in 1989, Monk is a former Washington correspondent for the Charlotte Observer. He has covered numerous death sentence trials, including those of Charleston church killer Dylann Roof, serial killer Pee Wee Gaskins and child killer Tim Jones. Monk’s hobbies include hiking, books, languages, music, and more.

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