Join Date: July 23, 2009
Purchase DENIED! (Advice?)
I've got a question for those of you who are knowledgeable and/or interested in the legalities of firearms ownership. Much to my surprise, I was recently DENIED on a handgun purchase in Colorado, and I hoped that some of you folks might be able to offer some constructive advice as to what I should do to clear this up.
Background: In 2003 I was arrested for domestic battery in Illinois. Not a typical domestic battery situation in that the so-called victim was a male roommate who picked a fight with me specifically to call the cops and try to get me arrested, a provocation which I, in my callow and impulsive youth, stupidly responded to. In other words, I gave the guy what he wanted and kicked his !@#, and got arrested in the bargain. Since we lived in the same house, it was considered "domestic battery," even though he was twice my size and had really instigated things by any reasonable measure... I digress.
At any rate, I was 20 at the time and had an otherwise clean record, so the charge was quickly reduced to "simple" battery (not domestic battery), and I was thankfully granted court supervision and so NO CONVICTION was ever entered on my record. Though I still feel like the original arrest was not entirely fair, I have accepted my own role in the whole debacle and have tried to learn from it. As a result, I have scrupulously avoided any illegal conduct ever since, and have never been arrested for any other offense.
With all of this behind me: no convictions on my record, the terms of my court supervision satisfied years ago, and no further trouble with the law, in Summer 2008 I applied for and received an Illinois Firearm Owner's Identification Card (FOID), which requires a background check and disqualifies anyone with a conviction for domestic battery. I received the FOID with absolutely no problem or delay, which should reinforce my statement that there is no disqualifying conviction on my record. In addition, a few months AFTER receiving my FOID, I petitioned the State of Illinois for expungement of the arrest records, which was handily granted. I received documents from the Illinois State Police confirming that the arrest record had been destroyed, and that my record was officially clean. Sounds good, right?
Well, I never actually purchased a firearm in Illinois, and about a year ago I moved to Colorado for professional reasons, so now I am officially a Colorado resident. Since I already had no convictions on my record, and as of winter 2009 now have no arrests on my record, plus I had undergone a background check last year to receive the FOID card in the first place, I assumed there would be no problem purchasing a firearm in Colorado, particularly since Colorado's firearms laws seem much less stringent than the Land of Lincoln's. Wanting to do things the right way, I trained with a fantastic former police firearms instructor in Colorado to fulfill Colorado CCW requirements, but didn't want to apply for a CCW permit until I legally possessed and trained with my own firearm for some time. Ok, sounds good, right? The next step was to buy a firearm, which I did through an excellent local shop in Colorado, but the guys at the shop were sorry to inform me that my purchase was denied through whatever Federal database Colorado purchases are approved through.
So my question is this: What is the process by which I can remedy this situation? Since I haven't gotten so much as a speeding ticket on my record since 2003, and don't have any of the other issues mentioned in form 4473 (no mental, drug, or US loyalty issues), I assume that there is nothing else besides maybe identity theft that could be disqualifying me. The guys at the gun shop told me that the Federal databases record all arrests as well as convictions, and that sometimes if there is a disqualifying arrest still on the record even with no disqualifying conviction, the database errs on the side of caution and denies a purchase request even if the applicant's criminal record is now technically clean.
Anyway, I've been very careful to avoid any illegal conduct since this whole sorry incident in 2003, have no convictions on my record for any offense, recently got the arrest removed from my state record, was granted an Illinois FOID with no trouble whatsoever, but still was denied in Colorado. I assume this is because the Federal database still has my original 2003 arrest, but has not been updated to reflect the outcome of the case. (i.e. no conviction, arrest expunged). I've made a real effort to stay on the right side of the law ever since, and have paid a substantial sum in legal fees to get the arrest off my record, as well as paying to get proper CCW training in Colorado and several hundred bucks to buy the firearm that I am now apparently not allowed to have. What is the process by which I can appeal this denial and legally receive the firearm and go about my business? (And specifically, how can I do this WITHOUT paying exorbitant fees to a lawyer to take care of this?) Thanks, your advice is really appreciated!