I have a friend who’s a big, bad felon. You know, one of those eeeevil villains who’s not fit to own a firearm (Unlike Florida jihadi Omar Mateen, who was vetted multiple times by the FBI, found totally a-okay, and breezed through the NICS background check).
My friend’s felony record still stands, but in the state where he now lives (not the one where he committed his savage depredations), he discovered he was eligible to have his rights restored. He went to court and he became a “real” citizen again.
He was raised around firearms and always enjoyed them. Being a serious freedomista he also understands the connection between guns and liberty. So on both counts he was delighted at the prospect of purchasing his first pistol.
Court order in hand (and having waited sufficient time for the order to make its way all the way through the system), he went into a gun store for the very first time in his life. He had a great time checking out various sidearms before settling on a big Glock. Filled out the application. Looked forward to taking his purchase home.
Denied. “Red bar bigger than the gun,” he told me. Heartbreaking.
But it gets worse. A week later, state police showed up on his doorstep on a Sunday afternoon, threatening to arrest him — now or at any time. Yes, now or at any time. Either the state police or the feds can do the honors now that he — this vicious felon — has dared tried to buy a gun.
“Talk about entrapment by estoppel,” he sighs. “This is text book.”
The state cops knew about the court order. They had a copy. But tough luck.
His lawyer says the law is on his side. Even the district attorney says the law is on his side. Both have written letters to the state police confirming that. But the state police will do nothing to clear him through NICS — while being perfectly willing to arrest him now that NICS has wrongly said no.
He says, “I read something about 78k denials for felonies last year (I think), and wonder how many of them are folks like me who spent thousands to get pardons, expungements, restorations at the state level, only to have the feds still deny because they just don’t update their records. According to this USA Today story
there is no working appeals process, so once you’re in [the NICS system as a prohibited person] you’re in.”
Now he either faces a long, expensive legal battle, which he may not win, or a lifelong ban coupled with threats to his safety and his freedom.
His state doesn’t allow private sales, and even if it did he wouldn’t take the risk now that the cops are watching him.
I’m writing to ask if anyone has any experience with something like this. I’m pretty sure my friend will come in, answer questions and otherwise participate in discussion on this.
Oh. And about that eeeeeevil, deadly felony that makes him totally unfit to protect his home or go plinking at a quarry? Thirty-plus years ago he was convicted of possessing $40 worth of crank and $3 of cocaine.
“Yup,” he says, “$43, I didn’t forget the zeroes, weren’t any. Never been a violent person, either.
“I’d like to find out whether I’m alone or if others suffer the same fate, and if so to bring some light to it. It would feel like I helped if we can prevent someone else from falling into the same trap.”