A former Tangipahoa Parish Council candidate has pleaded guilty to a federal weapons charge, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Orleans announced Wednesday.
Waylon Givens, 41, of Amite, sold equipment used to convert semi-automatic guns to allow them to fire fully automatically, according to court documents. Various types of gear are known as Lightning Links and Glock Switches, and their sale violates federal firearms laws.
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents began looking into Givens during an investigation of a Swedish Internet company. In 2012, the former candidate, through his store Givens Firearms in Amite, purchased the illegal equipment from the Swedish company then resold it locally, according to a news release.
In July 2014, agents interviewed Givens, who said he sold the conversion kits to an unknown person and that he didn’t know where the illegal equipment was. However, agents later determined that he knew the people who bought the gear, the release states.
On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to one count each of illegal possession of a machine gun and making a false statement to ATF agents. As part of his plea deal, Givens surrendered his federal firearms license.
Sentencing is scheduled for March 9. Givens faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
He had recently been in the running for the Tangipahoa Parish Council District 2 seat but withdrew his candidacy in August, citing issues with his business. He has run for office on several occasions in the past, including a 2011 bid in which he claimed 49 percent of the vote, narrowly falling short of a seat on the council.