Ronald Prestage, president of Prestage Farms of South Carolina and president-elect of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), has plead guilty to lesser charges in a case where he attempted to enter a federal building in Washington, D.C., with a loaded handgun.

The pork and turkey company executive earlier had entered a not guilty plea to a charge of carrying a pistol outside his home or business, which is a felony in Washington, D.C. On October 21, he pleaded guilty to possessing an unregistered firearm and ammunition. The guilty plea carries with it a suspended sentence of 30 days in jail and six months unsupervised probation. He must also register as a gun offender in Washington, D.C., and pay $100 to a crime victims’ compensation fund, according to The Island Packet.

The plea stems from a July 23 incident, when Prestage attempted to enter the Cannon House Office Building with a 9-millimeter Ruger handgun in his bag. Prestage holds a concealed-carry permit in his home state of South Carolina, and according to his attorney, carries a firearm for protection because he has received death threats from animal rights and environmental activists.


Prestage said outside the courtroom he regretted that he took his handgun into the federal building, and that the incident “was totally unintentional.”

In addition to his roles with Prestage Farms and the NPPC, Prestage is also a trustee for North Carolina State University and a member of the National Turkey Federation’s executive committee.