close
close
Pennsylvania father and son sentenced on federal gun charges

Pennsylvania father and son sentenced on federal gun charges

Pennsylvania father and son sentenced on federal gun charges

FILE-- Gavels and law books are displayed, July 14, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  The Senate is set to confirm the 200th federal judge in President Joe Biden's term.  That's about a month before then-President Donald Trump hit the threshold of 200. Trump still has the advantage when it comes to the most shocking confirmations: those to the U.S. Supreme Court and the country's 13 appeals courts.  (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

FILE– Gavels and law books are displayed, July 14, 2010 in San Francisco, California. The Senate is set to confirm the 200th federal judge in President Joe Biden’s term. That’s about a month before then-President Donald Trump hit the threshold of 200. Trump still has the advantage when it comes to the most shocking confirmations: those to the U.S. Supreme Court and the country’s 13 appeals courts. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

(WHTM) – This month, a father and son from Pennsylvania were sentenced on federal firearms charges for illegally possessing fully automatic machine guns.

Joseph Raymond Berger, 69, and Joseph Paul Berger, 35, both of Bethlehem, were sentenced June 24 and June 12, respectively.


The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said the two had 13 fully automatic machine guns and 12 silencers.

They were charged in February 2022 and pleaded guilty in February 2024.

Customs agents intercepted three silencers on the way to Berger’s home and a search warrant was subsequently served at his home, where 11 automatic rifles and two submachine guns were found, along with 12 silencers.

Investigators also said the weapons were originally purchased as semi-automatic weapons and converted.

“Our nation’s gun laws exist to protect public safety,” said U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Romero. “Comply with those regulations and you’ll be good to go. But if, like the Bergers, you blatantly despise them by illegally possessing dangerous items like automatic machine guns and silencers, expect to be held accountable for your actions.”

“The combination of machine guns and silencers that these individuals illegally imported created a serious threat to our communities,” said Eric DeGree, special agent in charge of the ATF Field Division in Philadelphia. “Getting illegal firearms like these and the people who traffic them off our streets is critical to ATF’s mission to protect our communities from violent crime.”

The older Berger was sentenced to 36 months of supervised release, while the younger Berger was sentenced to 37 months in prison.