Harford deputies seize 19 guns, more than 100 rounds of ammo from Bel Air home

James Dwight Adams, of Bel Air, is facing multiple counts of illegally possessing firearms and ammunition.
James Dwight Adams, of Bel Air, is facing multiple counts of illegally possessing firearms and ammunition. (Courtesy Harford County Sheriff's Office)

Harford County Sheriff’s deputies pulled up to a home on Forge Hill Road on Jan. 5. When they finally left, they took 19 guns with them, according to charging documents.

Not even one gun should have been in the possession of James Dwight Adams Jr., 66, who lived at the Bel Air address, court papers state. Still, he had four pistols, nine rifles, six shotguns and over 100 boxes of varied ammo as a felon prohibited from owning firearms.


Adams had allegedly squeezed off a round into the woods outside his home, which earned him a visit from deputies who initially arrested him on charges of reckless endangerment, illegal possession of a firearm and illegal possession of ammunition, according to documents filed in Harford County District Court. But while he was in transit to be charged, Adams told deputies that he had “numerous additional firearms,” according to charging documents.

A search warrant was authored and approved by 11:20 p.m., and 21 minutes later it was served on the residence, where a deputy waited outside to ensure nobody entered or exited the house.

Adams gave deputies the combination to the gun safe in the home’s master bedroom but a further search of the house revealed guns stashed in other places, according to charging documents. Deputies found a loaded .44 magnum under the living room couch and a .22-caliber pistol on the headboard in the master bedroom.

The search turned up 10 different calibers of ammunition — from shotgun shells to 9mm and one single armor piercing cartridge — according to the charging documents.

Adams faces 19 counts of illegally possessing a gun and 11 counts of illegal possession of ammo for the firearms found in his house. Those could carry a total penalty of 73 years in jail in addition to 11 more potential years on the original charges of reckless endangerment, illegal possession of a gun and illegal possession of ammo that brought deputies to his door in the first place, according to court documents.

Kyle Andersen, a public relations officer with the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, said much of the details of the arrest and subsequent report were not immediately available. But he said deputies are always on the lookout for illicit guns, and recover them in unlikely situations like traffic stops.

“Our deputies work very hard, and there are times when they are able to get their hands on illegal [possessed] weapons that are out there,” he said. “Anytime there is an illegal weapon out there, that is a concern.”

Andersen could not say whether the guns were purchased before or after Adams was found guilty of a felony.

Adams’ attorney, assistant public defender Melissa Feliciano, could not be reached for comment. Adams is being held without bond at the Harford County Detention Center awaiting trail.

The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence has graded Maryland’s gun laws with an A-, signifying stricter laws and protections such as waiting periods, licensing handguns and limits on magazine capacities.