Johnathon Irish, (left) Chris Oliverio, and James Marron at Day of Resistance, [Image Credit: Concord Monitor]

An open carry gun activist and member of the Oathkeepers pleaded guilty last week to charges of lying to federal agents.

28-year-old Johnathon Irish of Brentwood, New Hampshire pleaded guilty after claiming last year that he had sold all of his firearms, when in fact he had hidden them to obstruct a federal investigation.

In August, Irish was charged with five felonies alleging he illegally sold “self-built assault rifles” to undercover officers. He was known locally as an open carry activist — and often “triggered high-profile police calls by openly wearing guns.” One time he was arrested open-carrying weapons at an event attended by a former governor and a retired Supreme Court judge. In another incident involving law enforcement, he was accused of waving a gun in the air in women’s clinic during a heated argument with his girlfriend. Irish was known to law enforcement not as your local fun-loving, law-abiding, open carry activist, but as a troublemaker, and a criminal, according to Seacoast Online:

An indictment charging Irish with the five gun crimes describes him as a lying, pot-smoking, illicit maker and seller of semiautomatic rifles. But Irish previously told the Portsmouth Herald he was entrapped by a former boss at an Army-Navy surplus store who assured him the gun sales were legal and that the buyer was a known customer who even fronted him cash to buy gun parts.

The FBI claims Irish, who grew up in Hampton Falls and has lived in multiple Seacoast communities, “has been affiliated with a series of militia groups of both local and national reach.”

As part of the plea agreement, Irish also admitted that he persuaded his girlfriend to purchase part of an assault rifle for him. By doing so, he was able to avoid a background check that would have prohibited him from purchasing a gun. Irish — a member of the heavily-armed Oath Keepers — was prohibited from possessing firearms at the time.

Irish was still active in gun politics and open carry up until his arrest in August this year. He was involved in a “National Day of Resistance” in front of the State House in Concord in February 2013 that featured the former head of the New Hampshire Republican party, Jack Kimball. (The photo from the event leads this article — showing Johnathon Irish, (left) Chris Oliverio, and James Marron at the National Day of Resistance.)

Irish made national headlines in 2010  after claiming that child protective services “stole” his newborn baby because of his membership with the Oath Keepers, but it turns out that was just a small part of the reason authorities chose to remove the child. Irish had a lengthy history of documented domestic abuse — not just against romantic partners, but against children, according to the Concord Monitor:

But according to an affidavit provided to Irish by the state Division for Children, Youth and Families, state officials took the child because of Irish’s long record of violence and abuse. According to the affidavit, a judge determined that Irish abused Taylor’s two other children. She is still married to the father of those children, though Taylor said yesterday that her husband has refused to accept her divorce petition for the past two years.

The affidavit also says that the police in Rochester report a “lengthy history of domestic violence” between Taylor and Irish, and that she accused him of choking and hitting her on more than one occasion. According to the document, Irish failed to complete a domestic violence course as ordered by the state, and that a hearing was held last month to terminate Taylor’s parental rights over her two older children.

Irish and his girlfriend, Stephanie Taylor, became right-wing heroes and their cause was taken up by the Oath Keepers, the fringe right-wing group that includes military, veterans, and police officers. Right wing media rallied to their defense, buying into Irish’s persecution complex without so much as a fact check. They explained their rationale to the Concord Monitor at the time:

“All I heard was that a baby was kidnapped, literally kidnapped, because the father posted on an online forum,” said Ofer Nave, a Manchester man who did not know Irish or Taylor but described himself as active in “pro-liberty” causes. He said he heard about the protest from a friend, who likely heard about it through Facebook.

As for allegations that Irish had abused his fiancee’s children, Nave said: “Maybe he’s not that great a guy. Maybe he has a record. But just because the government says it’s so, I don’t believe it. The fact that there are documents about it is meaningless. But what they did is no different if I kidnapped that baby.”

Members of the Oath Keepers protested outside the Rochester Family Division Court, in what they called ‘in support of the First Amendment-protected right of freedom of association.’ The efforts persuaded the judge to return the baby a few days later.

Irish  is expected to be sentenced in January to 18 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, according to the federal plea agreement.

[Image Credit: Concord Monitor]


By Hypatia Livingston

"Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all."Writer, thinker, researcher, philosopher.

16 thoughts on “Open Carry Activist Johnathon Irish Takes Plea Deal In Federal Gun Case”
  1. pleaded guilty last week to charges of lying to federal agents
    he’d make a great politician, he could lie to the people and claim executive privilege when caught up in one.

  2. With multiple felonies, it’s easy to see why he has a problem with government. People with multiple felonies SHOULD have a problem with government, if government is doing its job.

    1. the thing that amuses me most about these guys is that they pretend to be Oath Keepers — they always say Oath Keepers are cops, military, etc but it seems they are more “cop and military” play-actors, with weapons, lol. True police would run the other direction (or handcuff) somebody like this guy. SO imho these Oath Keepers are frauds.

      1. You need to get your facts straight jack wagon, are you trying to ruin what’s left of this man’s life? You didn’t even report truthfully… Were you there? NO have you ever spoken to anyone personally involved in this case that has the actual facts of the matter? NO… Did you talk to his attorney? NO,Do you even know who his attorney is? More than likely not…Get you facts straight before you post your BS!

        1. This is called freedom of the press, Mrs. Irish. The facts the court laid out when he was sentenced (and pleaded guilty) as well as other local newspapers was used for this article. We have every right to post an article. The First Amendment — comes before the 2nd, in fact.Why do I need to know who his attorney is? He already pleaded guilty, he can’t unplead guilty and under the law that makes him guilty. Guilty.

        2. If your husband really wanted to protect his family he’d quit associating with extremists and lunatics like the OathKeepers. Maybe he should adopt a low profile and focus on things like being a success in life instead of yet another anti-government loser.
          In short he appears more concerned about his fantasy paranoia life than about his family.
          A man who does not care for his own is worse than an infidel.

  3. He only took the plea to protect his family from further false prosecution. Try looking for the Truth behind the BS!

  4. AND HE WAS NEVER A PROHIBITED PERSON….. If he was a prohibited person then how could this almost 2 year old photo of him prove him in public legally carrying HIS legally owned firearms not warrent an arrest for owning illegal firearms… ALSO TRUTH BE TOLD TO THE IDIOTS THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN ASSAULT RIFLE…. AR in AR-15 NEVER means Assault Rifle… Its Armor Right…. Learn your facts before you continue to make your selfs sound stupid… OH wait to late, you already won that trophy!!!!

    1. Wrong, kid. AR does not stand for ‘Armor Right’ (LOL!!!), it stands for ArmaLite, which is the name of the original manufacturer of ARs.
      I noticed you never addressed the issue of Irish being in the fanatical Oath Keepers group, or specifically, was he ever Honorably Discharged from any military service, was he ever a legitimate law enforcement officer of any kind, and what oaths has he taken…or is he just a wannabe with grandiose dreams and an inferiority complex?

    1. Again, these are the publicly available facts. Can I ask you, are you both still Oathkeepers? And what do the local Oathkeepers think about thse charges and his past domestic abuse? That’s what I’d like to hear about. How do ex-cops and ex-military feel about this?

    2. I am not saying yea or nay but if you are going to accuse someone if not stating the truth please provide some facts (some sources) for others who are wondering about it like me. That would be awesome.

      1. The ACCUSATIONS of abuse were fraudulent and THROWN OUT!!! As far as the Arma RIGHT, it was a mis spell do to the damn auto correct. I know what AR Stands for I’m not stupid like most. IT DOES NOT STAND FOR ASSAULT RIFLE!!! If it was select fire then it would be considered a so called assault rifle however none of our weapons are anything but semi automatic. Now, Johnathon was forced in this plea by his attorney and the us attorneys office and fbi agent because of the threats toward myself and our daughter and this case was entirely entrapment and a set up because of the case from 2010 involving our daughter. What you guys fail to include in this is that FAR BEFORE Johnathon took the plea that HE, not his attorney HE got three of the five charges dismissed for several merits. ONE that he was NOT a marijuana user and that was proven, TWO because his former boss and business partner whom set him up with the FBI agent because HE was caught illegally selling firearms LIED to the Agents and Johnathon proved that, and the THIRD was because Johnathon PROVED that it was entrapment!!! The Aiding and abetting charge for the straw purchase of a firearm was supposed to be thrown out as well because it was part of the entrapment charge which is just one of the many reasons for the appeal he is filing. And for the lying to a federal agent, you reporting that COMPLETLY wrong!!! It had nothing to do with hiding the weapons from a federal investigation which WE have documentation of! However if YOU have something stating that other then your own words then PLEASE provide us with that because that will only assist with getting this entire thing overturned! Thank you VERY much!!!

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