NEWARK, N.J. – A Verona man pled guilty to possessing three guns as a previously convicted felon, including a replica Thompson submachine gun that he modified into a working automatic firearm, according to U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.

David Lutter, 69, pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court on Monday.  According to court documents, Lutter met with an undercover agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) in January 2017 and negotiated the sale of a functioning Thompson submachine gun. The gun had originally been a replica, but Lutter had modified it with real gun parts to convert it into a functioning automatic firearm, which, according to Lutter, could fire 20 to 25 bullets per second.

Lutter had also equipped it with what he called a “rock-and-roll switch,” which could toggle between semi-automatic and automatic mode.

Sign Up for E-News

The report states that Lutter sold the undercover agent the submachine gun, a .32-caliber revolver, and 100 rounds of ammunition for $525. A few months later, in May 2017, Lutter sold the undercover agent a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol, bullets, and gun parts for $500.

Court documents further state that when Lutter was arrested in June 2017, law enforcement searched a storage facility he rented and recovered several hundred additional bullets and firearm parts. All three firearms and the recovered ammunition are in the possession of law enforcement.  At no time was Lutter licensed to sell firearms and was prohibited from possessing them due to his 1993 felony conviction for sexual assault of a minor.

The illegal firearms possession count carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 30, 2018. Carpenito credited special agents of the ATF Newark Field Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge John B. Devito, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove  is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.

Sign up for our FREE daily eNews and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Got a news tip or opinion? email us at

Download the FREE TAPinto App!  Click here for Android - Click here for iOS to get news as it is happening.