GULFPORT -- A Lucedale man has pleaded not guilty on a federal charge he was in possession of an illegal sawed-off shotgun.
James Denson Tanner, 45, is accused of having the modified weapon Oct. 1, 2014, in George County.
A federal grand jury indicted him in April on a charge of possession of an unregistered firearm. Maximum penalties are 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Tanner made his first court appearance Oct. 9 in U.S. District Court. Magistrate Judge John Gargiulo set a $25,000 bond and ordered him to remove any other firearms from his home.
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His trial is set on a court calendar that starts Jan. 4.
Sawed-off shotguns are easy to conceal and are considered deadly close-range weapons.
Tanner had a Smith & Wesson Eastfield, Model 916, 12-gauge shotgun modified to have a barrel shorter than 18 inches, the indictment said.
Under the National Firearms Act, it's illegal for a private citizen to have a shotgun with a barrel shorter than 18 inches unless the weapon is registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Registration includes a criminal background check and a $200 permit.