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Malinowski’s house searched over alleged illegal gun sales

Bill and Hillary Clinton Airport Sign
Jason Burt
Arkansas Business
New documents reveal former Clinton National Airport Executive Director Bryan Malinowski was illegally selling firearms to those not licensed to own guns.

Bryan Malinowski, who died after a shootout with federal agents Tuesday, is alleged to have made numerous illegal gun sales prompting an investigation.

On Tuesday, Officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives executed a search warrant for a home owned by Malinowski. After they entered his house, Malinowski fired at agents who in turn shot him in the head. Malinowski died in the hospital two days later. The 53-year-old was the executive director of Little Rock’s Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.

Documents detailing why the initial search warrant was issued were released to the public Thursday. They include an affidavit from an undercover ATF explaining the allegations against Malinowski. The document says he bought at least 92 guns from 2021 to 2023 and 142 guns from 2019 to 2023. He would allegedly often sell them to people without checking their licensure status.

Over the course of the investigation, six of Malinowski’s guns were recovered from people “in the commision of a crime,” and three were purchased by undercover ATF agents.

In 2022, a person known in the affidavit as “W-1,” was discovered to have a gun during a traffic stop. Agents traced the serial number on the gun back to Malinowski. “W-1” was not legally allowed to have a firearm as he had previously been convicted of armed robbery.

“W-1” recognized Malinowski from a picture of a gun show given to him by ATF agents. He said he made three illegal purchases of guns from Malinowski. Two of the sales were made in a parking lot and a third was made at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds in Little Rock. This was backed up by text exchanges the agent uncovered between “W-1” and Malinowski.

An anonymous ATF agent then went to a gun show where Malinowski had a booth. At the event, she witnessed Malinowski selling guns to people without asking to see their license. Malinowski went on to sell three guns to two different undercover agents without asking for a license.

In early February, ATF agents tracked Malinowski after he put a black box in his car on the way to his job at the airport. He allegedly started running red lights and driving recklessly along the highway, making it unsafe for agents to follow him. The agents then put a tracker on his car and found him to have a pattern of driving unsafely. The affidavit said he would drive in erratic circular patterns across Little Rock and North Little Rock. They said he would pull into parking lots to spin his car in circles.

The agents also said they traced him going to areas “known for violent crime, and buying and selling contraband such as firearms,” although the affidavit did not say where specifically these areas are.

Bud Cummins, Malinowski’s lawyer and a former U.S. Attorney, released a statement on behalf of his family. It said they “did not understand the government’s decisions which led to a dawn raid on a private home and triggered the use of deadly force.”

In the warrant, the ATF said they wanted to search his home for records of his firearm purchases and sales. They also wanted to look at his computers to see if he had formed “information networks.”

Cummins said: “we are obviously concerned about the allegations in the affidavit released by the government today. Even if the allegations in the affidavit are true, they don’t begin to justify what happened. At worst, Bryan Malinowski, a gun owner and gun enthusiast, stood accused of making private firearm sales to a person who may not have been legally entitled to purchase the guns.”

A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the place of employment of a witness whose statements were included in the affidavit.

Josie Lenora is the Politics/Government Reporter for Little Rock Public Radio.