Prosecutors had contended that Richard Schmidt wanted to carry out a race war and was planning to assassinate black and Jewish leaders, but a federal judge who handed down the sentence said there wasn’t enough evidence to support that theory.
Schmidt amassed the guns and other survival gear such as freeze-dried food and bottled water because he was preparing for a potential doomsday calamity, not some sinister plan, his attorney said.
Federal agents discovered rifles, shotguns and 40,000 rounds of ammunition inside the mall where Schmidt ran a sports store and sold counterfeit NFL jerseys in Bowling Green, about 20 miles south of Toledo.
The FBI also found a list that included the names of black and Jewish leaders in Ohio and Michigan.
Schmidt, 48 of Toledo, could have received more than 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to possession of firearms and trafficking in counterfeit goods in July.
But U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary instead sentenced him to almost six years while also giving him credit for the year he has been behind bars since his arrest last December.
The judge said he was troubled by the amount of weapons Schmidt had stored, but said it was unclear why he amassed so much and there was nothing to suggest he was plotting with others.
Schmidt told the judge he was a survivalist and was preparing for a natural disaster or economic collapse that could send the nation into chaos.