Arkansas Militiaman Convicted on Gun Charges

  • January 16, 2007

A federal jury in Fayetteville, Arkansas, has found Hollis Wayne Fincher guilty of owning illegal machine guns and a sawed-off shotgun.

The jury deliberated for approximately five hours before returning their verdict on January 12.   They determined that the 60-year-old lieutenant commander of the Militia of Washington County was in possession of unregistered machine guns in violation of federal law.

The judge had previously ruled that the Militia of Washington County is not a valid state militia, thus invalidating a second amendment defense argument.

Arkansas Militiaman Arrested on Gun Charges

Federal agents arrested a Fayetteville, Arkansas, militia member on November 8, 2006 on charges related to the possession of illegal firearms.

Hollis "Wayne" Fincher, 60, a lieutenant commander of the Militia of Washington County, was arrested at his Fayetteville home. Officials said the arrest was the culmination of an eight-month investigation related to the unlawful manufacture, possession and transfer of machine guns.

The Militia of Washington County formed in the mid-1990s.  Photographs of the group taken by journalists and members (for their Web site) have depicted members of the group with submachine guns and machine guns.

In 2004, Fincher authored the "Silver Bullet Document," in which he declared the 1934 National Firearms Act (which regulates the possession and sale of automatic weapons) a criminal fraud and declared the group was "taking back" its rights to own machine guns.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Fincher was arrested as part of the federal Project Safe Neighborhoods, the U.S. Department of Justice initiative that combines federal, state and local resources to prevent gun violence. 

More indictments may follow.  The investigation was collectively conducted by the ATF, FBI, Washington County Sheriff's Department, Fayetteville Police Department, Springdale Police Department, Arkansas State Police, Arkansas State Bomb Squad and the Madison County Sheriff's Department.