WAILUKU - A man who had a semiautomatic pistol and ammunition in his car when it crashed in Kihei was sentenced last week to a 10-year prison term.
Kenneth Bounlangsy, 38, could have been placed on probation for the firearms offenses if he hadn't been sentenced to more than five years in federal prison last month in a drug case, said Deputy Public Defender William "Pili" McGrath.
On Friday, Bounlangsy pleaded no contest to keeping a pistol in an improper place, keeping ammunition in an improper place and prohibited possession of a firearm or ammunition.
In exchange for his pleas, the prosecution agreed to recommend he serve 10-year prison terms for each charge at the same time.
Bounlangsy was arrested after police responded to South Kihei Road and Lipoa Street at about 2 a.m. Oct. 27, 2009, after Bounlangsy had run off the road and into a fence near the entrance to a veterinary clinic, said Deputy Prosecutor Lewis Littlepage. He said that Bounlangsy, who appeared to be intoxicated, had left the vehicle but returned after police arrived.
In the vehicle, police saw a small black handgun near the console and ammunition to the left of the passenger floorboard, Littlepage said. The gun, a Glock .40-caliber semiautomatic weapon, was unloaded and unregistered, he said.
In court Friday, Bounlangsy said that he had been run off the road by three men who had tried to "mob" him at Kihei Kalama Village and followed him, in a case of road rage. "They hit the side of my car and I spun out," he said. "I was injured and crawled out into the swamp. When the cops came, I came out to tell them what happened."
Bounlangsy said he got the gun from a friend who had borrowed money. "I kept it in the car because we had a child living with us," Bounlangsy said. "I didn't want that inside of the house."
Second Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo said that regardless of whether Bounlangsy was trying to keep the gun away from a child, "you still can't be driving around in a vehicle with any kind of weapon."
"Those two together are a dangerous combination," Loo told Bounlangsy. "Apparently, you're not supposed to be in possession of a firearm to begin with."
Because of prior convictions for third-degree assault, a crime of violence, Bounlangsy cannot legally possess firearms or ammunition.
According to federal court records, Bounlangsy was sentenced July 17 to five years and six months in prison for charges including conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine between April 2009 and December 2010.