ESSEX — A shotgun owner who got lost in the Essex woods spent the weekend in jail after police found he did not have a license for the weapon or others he possessed.

John Lyons-Montgomery, 52, of Essex and Fairfax, Virginia, was arrested Saturday on 19 weapons charges, booked and transported to Middleton Jail for holding on $10,000 bail. He was arraigned Monday in Gloucester District Court before Judge Michael Patten on the following charges:

Six counts each of unlawful possession of a firearm and improper storage of a firearm.

Three counts of unlawful possession of large capacity magazines. 

One count each of unlawful possession of a large capacity rifle, improper storage of a large capacity rifle, unlawful possession of ammunition and carrying a weapon on a public way. 

Lyons-Montgomery first came to police's attention Saturday at 9:22 a.m. when a caller reported a man walking with a shotgun on Wood Drive.

Police found Lyons-Montgomery on Wood Drive with a shotgun slung across his back. He told police had left his residence on Pond Street and gotten lost in woods, coming out on the former Camp Menorah property, now owned by Gordon College, on Wood Drive, according to the responding officers' reports. He told police he was carrying the gun for protection. He was told to go home and secure the weapon.

Detective Thomas Shamshak Jr., who was in charge of the shift and is the department's firearms licensing officer, did some more research after hearing Lyons-Montgomery was not hunting, the only time a gun is allowed to be carried on a public way. He found Lyons-Montgomery was not licensed to carry a weapon in Massachusetts or Virginia.

Police then visited Lyons-Montgomery at his Pond Street home because he was not licensed to own or carry firearms. When told police would be confiscating the shotgun, Shamshak reported Lyons-Montgomery told the officers there were more guns in the house, allowed them in and told them where to find the weapons.

They found six weapons — a Colt AR-15, shotguns and handguns — and more than 5,746 rounds of ammunition, all of which they seized. At least one weapon and some ammunition were found on the kitchen table, others were found in a false compartment. Police said there was no gun safe or cables in the home to secure the weapons.

Patten set bail at $5,000 and ordered that Lyons-Montgomery cannot possess firearms, cannot leave the state without the court's permission and must report to probation once a week until his next hearing. 

Each count of possession of a firearm or ammunition without a license carries a penalty of not more than two years in jail, a fine of up to $500 and forfeiture of the weapon if convicted. 

Each count of improper storage of a firearm carries a penalty of imprisonment of not more than 18 months, or a fine between $1,000 and $7,500, or both if convicted. 

Lyons-Montgomery also faces a state prison term of 1 1/2 to 12 years, a fine between $2,000 and $12,000, or both, if found guilty of improperly storing the AR-15.

Andrea Holbrook may be contacted at 978-675-2713 or

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