Pro tip: If you're a convicted felon trying to get someone else to illegally buy a gun for you, don't threaten the gun store clerk when their application is rejected.
You might end up behind bars.
That's apparently what happened to Horace Adrian Phelps III, of Hyattsville.
According to charging documents, Phelps, 32, went to the On Target gun store in Severn, Md., with a Hyattsville woman and a young child to buy a handgun on July 2.
Phelps has a previous conviction of a felony and was on parole, and is not allowed to handle firearms, according to charging documents.
His visits to the shop were captured on surveillance video and bolstered by witness statements, authorities said.
On the video, Phelps walks up to a display case with the woman and child and asks to see a weapon. A clerk removes the firearm and hands it to Phelps, who closely inspects it with his back to the woman and gives it back to the clerk.
The woman goes to a computer to fill out an ATF form to determine whether she is prohibited by law from receiving a firearm. She signs off to buy a 9mm Ruger semi-automatic pistol.
She signs it and then appears to read a large informational display that says, "Don't Lie For the Other Guy" and "Purchase a gun for someone who can't and buy yourself 10 years in jail."
Further down, the display reads, "WARNING: We will report anyone who we suspect is violating Federal Firearms laws to include a 'Straw Purchase' of a firearm."
The woman immediately bends down close to a kneeling Phelps and says something to him.
Phelps hands the store employee a credit card to pay the 25 percent deposit for the Ruger, documents said. The woman takes the receipt and walks out of the store.
After the ATF contacted the store about the couple, the store owner decided to deny the sale and return the deposit, documents said.
On Aug. 1, Phelps and the woman returned to the gun shop to finish buying the weapon.
Rejected on the purchase, Phelps immediately became very loud and argumentative, threatened to call the Better Business Bureau and swore at the employees on his way out.
Federal investigators say in court documents that they believed Phelps and the woman conspired to make false statements to acquire the firearm, but they charged Phelps with possession of a firearm by a previously convicted person. He remained in jail on Wednesday.
The woman has not been charged.