A New Hampshire man arrested during a gun show Sunday at the Augusta Elks Lodge has pleaded not guilty to a charge of violating a protection from abuse order, after an off-duty Hallowell officer saw him allegedly handling a tactical shotgun.

In an interview this week, Ignazio “Iggy” Falcone, 27, of Manchester, New Hampshire, said the 12-gauge Kel-Tec shotgun wasn’t his and described the allegations against him as “a big misunderstanding.”

The comments from Falcone, a licensed firearms dealer, reveal answers as to how someone who wasn’t supposed to have a firearm did so at a gun show.

The gun, Falcone said, belonged to a woman who works for his firearms business and who inadvertently left it near him, prompting him to move it away from himself.

“A lot of people are wondering how someone who can’t obtain a gun was at a gun show,” he said. “I’m a federally licensed gun dealer, and I attended (the gun show) with one of my employees. During the show, a shotgun was placed on my table. I said, ‘This can’t be here,’ and it got moved to another table. … I think in the heat of the moment, (the employee) forgot it.”

Falcone was participating in a two-day gun show at the Elks Lodge on Civic Center Drive. He was there as a vendor, he said, but only to sell the plastic holsters that also are part of his business.

Falcone also has developed something of a high profile among New Hampshire’s gun community. In 2015, his picture appeared in The New York Times after he, along with several other heavily armed civilians, stood guard outside a military recruitment center in Manchester. Like others across the country, they formed their guard after four marines and a Navy petty officer were killed at a recruiting center in Tennessee.

A police officer told the newspaper that the guards hadn’t created any problems, and he referred to the Granite State’s laws allowing the open carrying of firearms.

Falcone was arrested on domestic violence charges in October, after a disagreement with his ex-girlfriend in the New Hampshire town of Barnstead. He said that for the time being, he’s not allowed to possess firearms under a protection order that was put in place.

He disagrees with the domestic violence charges brought by the Barnstead Police Department and said his attorney is trying to have them, along with the protection order, removed.

Falcone was arrested Sunday and released from the Kennebec County jail on Tuesday morning after an acquaintance paid the $500 cash bail that a judge set on Monday. In Maine, his next court appearance will be a dispositional conference on Feb. 20, according to court records.

A Barnstead Police Department officer confirmed that Falcone was arrested in October after an allegation of domestic violence, but he didn’t know the exact charges.

A representative for the district attorney of Belknap County, where Barnstead is located, said she didn’t have information about Falcone’s case.

In the meantime, Falcone said his employee, the woman at the Augusta gun show, was trying to sell the Kel-Tec shotgun when police saw him with it Dec. 16.

A member of the Maine State Police, Trooper Ian Dunn, made the arrest Sunday after hearing from an off-duty Hallowell police officer, Jordan Gaudet, who had attended the gun show a day earlier and had reason to think that Falcone had violated the terms of a court order.

At the gun show on Dec. 16, Gaudet saw Falcone allegedly “handle and manipulate the shotgun with his hands,” according to a probable cause affidavit. Gaudet also overheard Falcone allegedly tell another man that the shotgun, which was sitting “approximately 1 to 2 feet” away from him, should be concealed if any pictures were being taken because he “wasn’t supposed to have this.”

Kel-Tec shotguns are black tactical-style weapons that can hold eight to 20 shells and retail for at least $1,000, according to the company’s website.

A day later, police arrested Falcone after finding his identity on a business card, running it through the National Crime Information Center, known as the NCIC, and discovering the protection order originating from Laconia District Court in New Hampshire. They also seized the shotgun as evidence.

“According to the NCIC response, Falcone is prohibited from possessing and/or purchasing a firearm or other weapons,” Dunn wrote in the affidavit.

Upon making the arrest, Dunn continued, “I observed a shotgun on a table nearby Falcone, which Ofc. Gaudet later identified as the Kel-Tec shotgun he had seen the day before. … Falcone told me that he had taken the Kel-Tec shotgun out of (its) case and had held it. A search of Falcone’s vehicle pursuant to a search warrant yielded no contraband.”

Falcone, though, says that the gun was not his and that his employee left the shotgun on his table, at which point he decided to grab it and move it to the table of another vendor whom he knew.

“When it was placed on my table, I moved it to another table,” he said. “(I held it for) about three seconds. It was literally to pick it up and move it.”

Falcone runs his business, FalTac Unlimited, out of a storefront in Manchester, New Hampshire. Besides selling holsters made from a plastic known as Klydex, he also has sold guns in the past, but he said he forfeited all his firearms, including AR-15s, shotguns and handguns, to the local police department. He hopes to have them returned if he can get the protection order dismissed.

“I believe in the end I may get my guns back,” he said.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker

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