Gun-loving Tea Party candidate in Delaware to plead guilty to federal firearms charges
Matthew Opaliski

A former Republican Party official and Delaware Senate candidate plans to plead guilty to federal firearms charges.

Matthew Opaliski, a Tea Party and gun rights activist, was indicted in February 2015 on three counts of dealing firearms without a license and two counts of unlawful transfer of firearms, reported The News Journal.

Prosecutors said Opaliski illegally transferred a Smith and Wesson .357/9mm-caliber revolver and a Springfield Armory 9 mm pistol to someone who was not a resident of Delaware in December 2014.

Investigators also said Opaliski, who has testified before the state legislature on firearms bills, was involved in a similar illegal transaction in February 2015 of two Anderson Manufacturing AM-15 5.56-caliber semiautomatic rifles.

Opaliski, who chaired the Delaware Republican Party's 35th Representative District Committee in Sussex County and ran three times for state Senate, had initially pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The head of the Oath Keepers gun militia group, which claimed Opaliski as a member, complained that the state's Republican Party was insufficiently supportive.

“Looks like the Republican party there is more than happy to throw him under the bus if it is in ‘the best interest of the party first and foremost,'" said Stewart Rhodes, the Oath Keepers founder.

He will avoid a trial slated for June when he accepts the plea agreement at a hearing scheduled for March 24.

An online fundraiser for Opaliski's legal defense has generated $2,177 in 12 months.