Meet our Attorneys
Meet the leadership team of Arsenal Attorneys. We lead a staff of attorneys licensed to serve clients in 40 states.
Matthew J. Bergstrom, Managing Attorney
Matthew Bergstrom serves as Managing Attorney of Arsenal Attorneys™, the firearms subsidiary of the general practice law firm he started in 2010. He has 20 years of combined legal and business experience helping clients pursue opportunities and reduce risks. His work in firearms law includes service to thousands of gun owners nationwide, Second Amendment litigation in various jurisdictions, numerous public speaking appearances, interviews with major media outlets, and teaching fellow attorneys in numerous continuing legal education programs.
Mr. Bergstrom's practice of firearms law draws on his extensive practical knowledge, particularly as a certified firearms instructor and range safety officer. Based on this experience, Mr. Bergstrom created the Arsenal Gun Trust™ based on his concern for the security, privacy, and rights of his clients and their loved ones. By now thousands of clients in nearly 40 states use Arsenal Gun Trusts to protect their firearms collections, comply with the law, and protect their loved ones' inheritance.
Mr. Bergstrom also practices in the areas of commercial law, estate planning, and international law. He began his career with law firms in Russia and Europe. He also served as a consultant in global affairs, security, technology, and finance for an investment banking firm and for Fortune 100 senior executives in San Francisco, New York, and Washington, DC. He has presented and taught various topics in the law for the American Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association, and the Annual Firearms Law Seminar.
Mr. Bergstrom earned his law degree from the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University in 1997. During law school he served as Executive Editor of the Federal Communications Law Journal. He was also the winner of the Elliot R. Lewis Scholarship as well as an International Fellowship with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic. He received an MBA in international business and marketing from the Helsinki School of Economics, and he graduated from Michigan State University’s James Madison College with a Bachelor of Arts in international relations and Russian. He is a member of the Virginia, Michigan and DC bars. Mr. Bergstrom is founder and chairman of the National Capital Friends of NRA, a premier celebration of the Second Amendment and an award-winning fundraiser for public interest grants by the NRA Foundation.
George L. Lyon, Jr, Attorney at Law
George Lyon has been at the forefront of the fight for second amendment rights in the nation’s capital. In 2003 he joined with five other plaintiffs in the landmark case that resulted in the United States Supreme Court confirming that the Constitution guarantees an individual right to own a functional firearm. That decision, District of Columbia v. Heller, overturned DC’s prohibition on owning a handgun and now stands as a bulwark against infringements on second amendment rights. In 2009, he joined with three other plaintiffs and the Second Amendment Foundation to challenge the District of Columbia’s absolute ban on carrying a firearm for personal protection outside the home. That case, Palmer v. District of Columbia, resulted in the first issuance of DC concealed carry licenses in some 40 years. Mr. Lyon is a member of the Virginia, District of Columbia and Supreme Court bars. He has practiced administrative law and civil and appellate litigation for more than 35 years in Virginia and DC with an emphasis on communications. He earned his law degree in 1979 from the Marshall Wythe Law School of the College of William and Mary where he served on the William and Mary Law Review. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society from the University of Virginia where he was special projects and production editor of The Cavalier Daily and a member of the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society. He is the author of “Ethical Responsibilities of Defense Counsel in the Juvenile Court” published in the Journal of Juvenile Law. Mr. Lyon has extensive firearms training in each of handgun, shotgun and rifle. He is certified by the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department as a DC Concealed Carry Instructor. He is also certified as a firearm instructor by the Maryland State Police. He holds NRA Firearm Instructor certifications in Pistol, Personal Protection in the Home, and Range Safety Officer. He holds a federal firearms collector’s license and is the President of the DC Chapter of the Community Association for Firearms Education. Mr. Lyon has written and spoken on a variety of firearms and self-defense legal issues. Mr. Lyon has testified frequently before the DC City Council on firearms related issues. His advocacy was instrumental in effecting positive changes in several provisions of DC law, including relaxation of ammunition restrictions, allowing possession of firearms in the District in the course of training, and conforming DC law with federal law relating to armor piecing handgun ammunition and permissible shotgun barrel length. He is continuing his advocacy for rational firearms regulation with Arsenal Attorneys.
Jay R. Pelkofer, Attorney at Law
Jay R. Pelkofer serves clients in estate planning as well as business matters, real estate law, and landlord/tenant issues.
Mr. Pelkofer earned his law degree in 2005 from the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. During law school, Mr. Pelkofer served on the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics where he co-authored a published law review article titled, “Lawyers, Ethics, and Fees: Getting Paid Under Model Rule 1.5”. Mr. Pelkofer also served as a law clerk for a small firm in Maryland that focused on real estate and small business transactions. He is a member of the Virginia bar.
Upon graduating from Georgetown Law, Mr. Pelkofer joined the estate planning practice of Greenberg Traurig, LLP. He handled numerous trust and estate planning issues including Complex Wills, Revocable Living Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Advanced Medical Directives and numerous other estate planning issues. In 2008, Mr. Pelkofer opened his own legal practice.
Mr. Pelkofer earned his bachelor’s degree with a dual major in finance and economics from Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, PA. After graduating Summa Cum Laude from Robert Morris, Mr. Pelkofer worked for several years in the financial services industry as a financial advisor for American Express and as a senior fund account manager at Mellon Bank.
Mr. Pelkofer earned his graduate degree in public policy analysis at the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University. He is a twice-awarded W.W. Cooper Merit Scholar. During his summer internship at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy his research thesis regarding land use and development, urban sprawl, and eminent domain was published in several local newspapers including the "Allentown Morning Call," and the "Bedford Gazette." Upon earning his graduate degree, Mr. Pelkofer worked at the U.S. Government Accountability Office for several years working on various federal tax policy issues.
Michael Zarlenga, Of Counsel
Michael Zarlenga has been practicing law and consulting with businesses for over 20 years. He joined Arsenal Attorneys in its Washington, DC office is January 2015 as Of Counsel to the firm. He currently serves as General Counsel of Dr. Ben Carson's campaign for the US Presidency. Mr. Zarlenga is licensed to practice law in the State of Ohio and the District of Columbia. After graduating from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration and a Juris Doctorate, Mr. Zarlenga moved to Washington, DC and became an associate with a boutique corporate and securities firm specializing in the banking industry. Wanting a broader knowledge of industries, he then moved to the Washington, DC office of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. While at Manatt, he handled a variety of corporate, contract, regulatory, and securities matters for individuals and businesses that ranged in size from start-up technology companies to Fortune 500 companies. He has represented clients ranging from financial institutions and mutual funds to venture capital funds and technology companies. He is a contributing author to 784-3rd BNA Tax Management Portfolios (2011), Corporate Liquidations, having drafted all of the sample documents to the portfolio. Mr. Zarlenga left Manatt in 1999 to become the President and General Counsel of a start-up technology company building hardware and software solutions in the lawful intercept space. Business and technology issues identified by Mr. Zarlenga back in 1999 remain unsolved today, even with the largest and most sophisticated companies in the world working on the solutions. In 2001, Mr. Zarlenga opened The Trophy Room, LLC, a premier hunting, shooting, and fly-fishing retail store. As the owner, Mr. Zarlenga handled all aspects of the business including financial planning, marketing, and regulatory compliance. He grew the business from an idea to $1.2 million in annual sales in 6 years from a 900 sq. ft. storefront. The Trophy Room was one of the largest Beretta dealers in the mid-Atlantic region. As the holder of a Federal Firearms License for the last 13 years, Mr. Zarlenga is well versed in Federal and State firearms laws and regulations. Since 2008, Mr. Zarlenga has been consulting on legal and non-legal issues that affect businesses. He also retains his Federal Firearms License and continues to deal in firearms, including National Firearms Act regulated items. He is regularly interviewed by news organizations related to firearms laws and regulations. He has regularly appeared on and occasionally co-hosted NRANews. He serves on the Board of Directors and as Secretary to the American Water Spaniel Club, Inc. and has served on the Hunting and Wildlife Conservation Committee of the Board of the National Rifle Association. He is an Endowment Member of the NRA, a Life Member of Safari Club International, and a Bronze Sponsor of Ducks Unlimited. He is an avid shooter and outdoorsman and enjoys hunting with his two American Water Spaniels.
Richard Vasquez, Firearms Technology Expert
Richard Vasquez is an internationally renowned expert in firearms technology, regulations, and tactics. He is available as a technical consultant, expert witness, security advisor, tactical instructor, and compliance specialist. He regularly advises clients in the identification and classification of firearms, particularly under the Gun Control Act, National Firearms Act, and BATFE regulations. His clients have included private individuals, manufacturers, and governments worldwide.
Previously Rick spent 15 years with the BATFE, where he served as acting Branch Chief of the Firearms Technology Branch (FTB). Prior to ATF, Rick served as a firearms instructor in the Diplomatic Security Service. During his distinguished career as a US Marine, Rick served as a weapons instructor and as detachment commander of the Marine Embassy Guard in Moscow.
Here is a small sample of Rick's accomplishments and skills:
- Expert witness in over 40 Federal and state court trials
- Instructor for Interstate Nexus
- Distinguished High Power Rifle Shooter
- Previous FFL Holder
- Certified armorer for Ruger, Glock, Smith and Wesson, and Heckler & Koch
- Advanced training in manufacturing and history of Marlin, Savage, H&R Inc., Winchester, Mossberg, Springfield Armory, Wilson Tools, Sig, Glock, Walther, Mauser, and others.
- Knowledgeable in Principles of Acoustics and the Measurement of Sound
- Delivered training in the recognition of silencers/silencer components and served as an expert in the classification of silencers and silencer components under federal statutes
- Author of numerous training lesson plans in a variety of firearms subjects
- Firearms instructor and security advisor to foreign government personnel, including France, Canada, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico, Canada, Belize, Jamaica, Curacao and Guatemala
- Conversant in all aspects of the National Firearms Act (NFA)
- Knowledgeable in the requirements of importing firearms and firearms components, including ITAR
- Recipient of Public Service Sward from the United States Attorney in the 4th district
- Recipient of ATF’s Distinguished Service Medal
- Recipient of numerous letters of appreciation from ATF, FBI, and foreign law enforcement