Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raided the
Mesa, Ariz., home and workshop of a manufacturer who makes .50-caliber
rifle kits, holding the man without bail at the Durango Jail in Phoenix.
BATF spokesman Tom Mangan told WorldNetDaily that Robert Stewart was
arrested Friday for felony possession of firearms after agents found 38
weapons, including machine guns, inside his home.
Maadi-Griffin .50-caliber rifles are shipped to customers as a parts kit, the assembly of which requires a small amount of machining. The kit guns are significantly cheaper than assembled rifles and come without serial numbers.
According to Mangin, the BATF Firearms Technology Branch in Washington, D.C., determined that the kits Stewart is selling are firearms because they are easily assembled into guns. Because Stewart had a previous felony conviction for possession of a machine gun, he is not allowed to own or possess any firearms, according to federal law.
“That was basically the premise for obtaining a search warrant to get inside his residence,” Mangan explained.
“Once we did get inside, agents found a number of guns. We found six machine guns, including one Uzi, a Sten gun and one street sweeper,” Mangan said. “There were approximately six .50-caliber kit guns in various stages, some complete, some not complete. There were 17 rifles and eight pistols, including semiautomatics and revolvers.”
When asked if the weapons found by the BATF belong to Stewart, Mangan said that remained to be determined, but that the issue was irrelevant because Stewart is a convicted felon and is not supposed to have any weapons at all inside his home.
“If he’s a felon, he shouldn’t be possessing a .22-caliber pistol, let alone having machine guns inside his residence.” Mangan said the issue as to whether the kits were legally firearms or not will make a unique case because it is a gray area of the law.
Stewart’s wife, Naomi, and his attorney, James Burgess, did not return calls.
WorldNetDaily spoke to the well-known and highly-decorated former Green Beret/talk show host, Bo Gritz, who is a friend of the Stewarts. Mrs. Stewart, who was briefly handcuffed during the raid, told Gritz the federal agents were at the house from 7 a.m. until about 5:30 p.m., and confiscated all their records and inventory, according to Gritz. Bob Stewart was taken away at about 4 p.m.
According to Gritz, Naomi Stewart said that when the BATF claimed to find about 40 guns in their house, her husband Bob whispered into her ear: “Those are not our guns; they’re planting those guns.”
Gritz told WorldNetDaily the Stewarts were living in Utah about six years ago when Bob Stewart was featured on two magazine covers with his self-designed rifle. The BATF subsequently raided his store and asked him to stop building the Maadi-Griffin. He refused to comply, based on the Second Amendment.
A couple of days later, according to Gritz, two men entered Stewart’s shop with an AR-15 and asked him to “tighten the scope.” As soon as Stewart applied a screwdriver to the weapon, the two men pulled out their ATF badges and arrested him because the AR-15 had been modified to fire fully automatically.
“Now they had him working on an illegal machine gun,” said Gritz. “His wife told me they didn’t have a lawyer, and the government talked them into plea bargaining.”
The resulting felony charge made Stewart unable legally to possess a firearm, leaving him facing a 10-year sentence for each gun reportedly found in his home on Friday.
Gritz said Naomi Stewart told him that the BATF threatened her with a paper allegedly containing her signature, which could serve as evidence that the Stewarts were manufacturing machine guns. Mrs. Stewart has her parents staying with her in case the BATF decides to come back and arrest her.
Gritz said Bob Stewart makes $144 per gun. He praised the Maadi-Griffin as “an awesome gun” that is made of the finest materials and craftsmanship, yet is affordable. He believes that combination made it only a matter of time before the ATF came to get Stewart.
Ed Oliver is a contributing reporter to WorldNetDaily.