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Old January 20, 2011, 08:13 PM   #1
EVO
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Non-statistic (felon) request's advice!!

Hey folks.

New here, but had some question's, of course I'm seeking legal avenues as well...
Question's are pertaining to those people (who voice their opinions here) whom have knowledge of (legally speaking) or know of people first-hand, that have been re-instated to own firearms. whew, that's a mouthful.

I've searched past threads here. Find all kinds of mixed information, some biased, some clear. Obviously different on a per state basis.

I'm recently showing interest in firearms at age 39, A retired Military family member now residing with me has shown me "the light", so to speak.
My new found interest (Mainly WW1~2) has spawned my GF to purchase a few firearms for peace of mind, protection, hobby, etc, as well... My family member filing for his FFL to participate in Show's, collecting, auctions, what have you is the constant energy & topic of many conversations.

After consulting with some LEO buddies and friends who are avid collectors, I had feelings of concern, so I delved into the NET, researching all I could. Most recently contacting MSP (Md Sate Police), Md Attorney General, etc..
What I was told was disturbing, to say the least....
Besides, I now have an anxiety & haven't broken the law (in my eyes).

Ok, so moving forward on a positive note, We are making provisions in the home (Protect the household in general), By locking everything up!
Keeping them from myself? Cuz Im a "Bad-ass Johnny law breaker" (insert Sarcasim & Those that pass judgment here)!

I have Felony convictions dated 1990 For Credit Card fraud (Yeah white collar crime, Im as much a THUG as Martha Stewart) I was 18 & stupid. Irregardless, I'm now faced with the life long punishment...
I have voted, one of the many "Faux tails".

I have never attempted to purchase a firearm, so I've never been denied, however I now, expect to be declined after reading all I have.
I've read the Black & White ATF rules as well as MD laws, they are cut and dry. A "blanket" is an understatement. For example, the misnomer that all "Felons" are Armed Robbers, Murderer's & Rapist's!
Couldn't be the furthest thing from the truth.
I suppose its a means of Government to control, limit & eventually reduce firearms. Hell, Urinate in public, Jaywalking, bounce a check, etc, and Poof, gone are your right to bare arms & the possibility of protecting your family.

Back on point, I'm going to start my personal journey to do what I can at minimum expense to regain my rights. To reduce my risk of being robbed (which I have been) or my family injured by some crack-head on a home invasion (ever increasing in my area). God forbid, my GF or Uncle incapacitated with a Burglar in the house, I'm to do what? Lay down? Help the crook pack our belongings, Call 911, cuz the Cops are down the street? I think not, however, If I handle a weapon according to the text law, I'm going to jail (Hypothetically).
Also my 11 year old son was gifted a .22 Winchester 150 (1968) for Christmas, I would enjoy very much to participate (Law says I cannot) with my sons experience.
I'm not making excuses for what I did, I was young, impressionable, Broken home, etc... I was 18 and didn't know anything, they through the book at me, in essence they scared me into pleading. However, that was along time ago, it has not effected me my entire Adult life. I've lead a pleasant and crime free life (Shocking I know, to the Self righteous Do-Gooder's, who've never been caught...).
I did not become a statistic.
I paid with my freedom for years, monetary reimbursement, parole, etc. They keep you on a short leash waiting to have you fail, in my case never occurred (I'm sure they were disappointed, they didn't receive the Government funding for me anymore).
And again here I am being punished, 20 years later.
Complaining is hardly my way, a solution is what I am after.

Consequently, several of my Felonies, would now be considered "Misdemeanor", that change in law is what I'm going after. For instance, those that don't know, Back in 1990 a Felony Theft or Fraud consisted of $300, yeah, $300!! Today, it is $1000. So, perhaps I'll get that reduced, doubtful of an expungement, not what I'm aspiring, but if their willing (doubtful based on their previous gavel blow to my head) I'll run with it.

So, after my brief synopsis and rants here, I'd like some input, Positive reinforcement, perhaps, some avenues I may try, etc..
As far as contacting an Attorney, I'm to assume that means a Criminal specialist or one whom does appeals/ Appellate perhaps? I'm going to find the loop-hole if there is one.
I'm of the opinion a person like myself, based on my record and of sane mind (free from mental derangement), is NOT in anyway a danger to the community, himself or otherwise.
As a matter of fact, I'm more aware of Legalities and consequences then the typical next guy (Not been caught - Yet!)...

Cheers.
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Last edited by JohnKSa; January 20, 2011 at 10:10 PM. Reason: Helping the language filter out.
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Old January 20, 2011, 08:35 PM   #2
Sefner
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My recommendation?

I recommend getting a lawyer that specializes in these things in your state. By specialize I mean check the NRA website and various local gun organizations, they may give you some leads. For instance here in MI we have a gun owners forum that has several lawyer members that not only answer questions but takes referrals from the forums for their services. Ask around at gun shows and gun stores. You're looking for a "firearms attorney", not a "criminal defense attorney". There is a huge difference.
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Old January 20, 2011, 08:37 PM   #3
Aguila Blanca
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Very important question: Was your felony conviction in Federal court or state court?
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Old January 20, 2011, 08:40 PM   #4
Frank Ettin
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Well welcome to the Forum, but I'm not sure what you're looking for here. The law is what it is, and as a convicted felon you may not, under federal law, have a gun, or ammunition, in your possession. It appears from your post that's the case under Maryland law as well.

If you want to try to change your situation, you'll need to see a lawyer. You may or may not have any recourse, but you really need to pursue that question with your own lawyer. An Internet forum is a lousy place to come for legal advice about a serious, real life problem.

Yes, under current law conviction of any felony includes debarment from the possession of firearms as a life long component of the total price/punishment for the crime. If you may have any remedy, you'll need a lawyer to make it happen.

One more thing. Consider that communications between you and your lawyer are confidential. But what you post here is not. It's generally a very bad idea to discuss your real life legal problems with strangers in public.
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Old January 20, 2011, 10:01 PM   #5
EVO
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I appreciate the candid comments here.
As for "Fiddletown", Bro, Im well aware that I'm posting on a public forum. Ive broken no laws, I'm seeking advise to pursue freedoms, not to avoid persecution.
I'm an avid forum member, Moderator on some forums related to my career and other (Non-firearm) Hobbies.
As one gentleman stated, its common that some members here or elsewhere may be Attorneys or of an experienced legal background, those are the ones I would hope may chime in.
I must not have been clear, my bad. I'm not seeking legal advice from just the community at large.
I wanted to perhaps, correspond or get some enlightenment from those that have experienced this procedure. Perhaps different circumstances, but a pleasant outcome. As when I called the MD attorney general's office, I was transferred 7 times and ended up with MSP (MD State Police)!
No-one knew how to respond to my question's. I called the Courthouse, again, know-where...
So, I will look into the NRA and they're legal outreach program, if you will.
My experience and situation may be odd to most, however, its like a taboo and some will come to recognize very common... But, this is the real world, reality we live in. For arguments sake, Go to the "Judicial case search" in your area, online and public. Just randomly type in, your friends names, Neighbors, Co-workers, etc, You'll be shocked.
As a matter of fact, I have 3 Sexual predators on the SO Registry within 4 Blocks of my residence and 2 of them are tier 3!
So, they are monitored by my family, especially when my son is here, when outside. Those crimes are NOT justified or excusable behavior, I don't care what planet your from. And I'm not talking statutory rape (18yr old boy w/ 15 yr old high-school sweethearts), I'm talking Father raping daughters or Grown men Molesting young boys, etc...
If I can help others, perhaps in a similar situation (Mind you there are 100's of thousands!), I will, but we gotta start somewhere. The internet seems to be a good place, at least to get generalized answers, if not proprietary. And as with most laws, they claim " Ignorance is not an excuse"!
Sure, like most of the general public checks on City, County, State & Federal Laws as they change, are modified or as people move about the country, WRONG!
That's as if to assume, when your convicted of a crime or released from jail, Prison, etc, your explained all the RIGHTS you no-longer Have. WRONG!
Most dont know, till its too late.
I actually stumbled upon this site researching WW2 Firearms and saw some topics about Felo's and such. I was surprised! So, I got information hungry and here I am, all this over the past few days. Better safe than sorry (Been down that road).
Perhaps, what Im missing is that the typical Firearm owner is Law savvy, partly do to the preliminary BS one experiences for ownership? I dunno, but I do know this, my family has quit a bunch, see my sig, so LEGAL steps are being taken to abide by the local & federal regulations.
Consequently, ATF will be visiting the premises eventually (FFL Licensing), at that time I can ask a million questions pertaining to their expected control/housing of the firearms.
I plan to exceed all laws, from my experience, you want to play by the rules. But in the interim Im going to start my challenging adventure. I expect adversity and frustration, however, it may not be that bad.
Well soon see.

Thank you to all who responded and those that have not yet in advance.
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Last edited by JohnKSa; January 21, 2011 at 12:50 AM. Reason: Helping out the language filter.
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Old January 20, 2011, 10:23 PM   #6
EVO
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"Very important question: Was your felony conviction in Federal court or state court? "

State Court, not Federal.
Interesting tho, as it seems, when I was young and "STUPID" doing that fraud business, it was still new, the laws were extremely harsh, partly due to me being arrested in a rural "Un-developed" NATZI regime governed county.
So they Hammered me.
As time marches on, that crime became almost out of control with E-commerce based business & Internet fraud, Credit Card & the like (Identity theft being the newest) exploded.
Being a business owner myself, selling retail, had knowledge of the CC Fraud and Paypal scams, I had experience if you will, So I was never a victim in the business. However Ive had cars stolen and 30+k worth of vandalism & theft from my Automotive shop over the years. Only One guy ever held accountable, I must have 30+ Police reports on file in my area.
But I have had my wallet stolen and Cards used as well, so I've been on the other side & would not justify the punishment I experienced on the criminal...
When I was a kid (18) we (white collared criminals) thought of this as a victimless crime, in essence no-one was injured, nothing experianced by the victim other than some time on the phone explaining: "wasn't me", etc...
However, the CC companies and their Insurance pass the Buck onto the consumer. I understand that as an adult.
But you can see how an impressionable young man would see little harm to Joe blow personally... No excuse either way, just explaining.
Since that time, they have modified and changed quit a bit, the laws. Some more extreme punishment, others have been reduced, and new ones created with the new technology and new crime...
Now on a Federal level, I have no experience, but I hear they have fine meals & Conjugal visits. I missed those perks haha...
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Old January 20, 2011, 11:39 PM   #7
357 Python
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As the victim of credit card fraud I have a different perspective. In the eyes of the courts it makes no difference if you convicted in state or federal court a convicted felon is a convicted felon. If you wish to own firearms get an excellent attorney and you may have to check on a pardon instead of reinstatement of rights. Personally I don't think you will have much luck, but I have been wrong before. I just don't want you to get your hopes up.
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Old January 21, 2011, 12:02 AM   #8
KyJim
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Your best recourse is to talk to an attorney about either (1) expungement or (2) a pardon.

Some states allow first, non-violent felonies to be expunged or "wiped out" by a court order, especially if committed while young. State laws vary widely and your state may not even have this.

The governor usually has authority to grant a pardon. It would need to be a full pardon, not just a state restoration of rights to possess a firearm. Otherwise, you may still run afoul of federal law.
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Old January 21, 2011, 12:25 AM   #9
orangello
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I wish you the very best of luck in regaining your right.
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Old January 21, 2011, 12:42 AM   #10
EVO
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Again, with the "Felony" convictions....
It clearly states "Any Crime which carried more than a 2 year sentence (weather that was your sentencing time or not!)", which includes any Drug charge, CDS (Pot, Ecstasy, Heroin, Crack- classified the same (But many would argue they are different )), whatever, several DUI/DWI's, Hell, I know at least 100 People w/ them, breathalizer's...How about the domestic violence, I know another Hundred or so people who've had Bar fights, fights with their spouse, Girlfriends, etc.. What else, Oh yeah, perhaps a Bi-polar person, who takes medication for their genetic disposition.... The list goes on, and in 1998, MD's law only read "Violent or Domestic convictions", the laws are getting tougher, in essence weeding people out. It's extremely easy to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and end up a statistic on this list.
But I'm just now learning this from outside the box, however I see what they're (Law makers) doing.
Cheers.
Bottles up.
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Old January 21, 2011, 12:47 AM   #11
EVO
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Thank you for the kind words of support fellas.
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Old January 23, 2011, 12:30 PM   #12
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Quote:
18 U.S.C. 921(a)(20) provides:

"Any conviction which has been expunged, or set aside or for which a person has been pardoned or has had civil rights restored shall not be considered a conviction for purposes of this chapter, unless such pardon, expungement, or restoration of civil rights expressly [or implicitly as a matter of state law] provides that the person may not ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms."
How each state allows for reinstatement of a felon's rights is different. For example, the State of Montana automatically reinstates a convicted felon's civil rights after all terms of the conviction have been met (e.g., incarceration, probation/parole, etc.). The State of Tennessee, where I received my felony conviction, requires a convicted felon to petition the court in the district where they received their conviction to have all of their civil rights (i.e., the right to vote, to sit on a jury, to purchase and possess firearms) returned to them.

When I began the process of having my civil rights restored to me in Tennessee, I identified a criminal attorney and had them present all of my information to the court. (I had done most of the legal research into the Tennessee code sections that applied in my case myself, so it was a simply matter of including all of that information to my attorney.) As I am not a "bad guy" but had only made a incredibly stupid decision when I was younger and have been a productive member of society since my conviction, I have all of my civil rights back. Once my civil rights had been returned, I filed a "Voluntary Appeals File" (VAF) application with the FBI so that, during firearms purchasing background checks, all of the information that says that I'm no longer firearms prohibited is right there in front of the NICS operator.

Since having been accepted into the VAF, my NICS transactions take the same amount of time that everyone else's transactions take. The hard part was doing the legal research and waiting for the Tennessee courts and the federal firearms bureaucracy to move the paperwork through.

Good luck -

Fish

Last edited by Fish_Scientist; January 23, 2011 at 07:36 PM.
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Old January 23, 2011, 01:20 PM   #13
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Congress also prohibits any federal money being spent to restore firearms rights of felons.

While the law allows restoration, there is no money available.
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Old January 23, 2011, 01:35 PM   #14
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Brickeyee, I could be wrong, but I think that's a problem only if you've been convicted of a federal felony. It leaves you no course for reinstatement of your rights.

I think state offenses are handled w/in the states so the federal fund prohibition doesn't pertain.
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Old January 23, 2011, 01:48 PM   #15
musher
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For the OP, since you solicited our opinions, I think the best thing you can do is to listen closely to your attorney on this and stop posting about it.

If you end up in front of a judge, keep your opinions about the justice of it all to yourself. Nothing says "didn't learn my lesson" like blaming the government and/or justice system for not being fair.

Good luck to you.
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Old January 23, 2011, 03:16 PM   #16
EVO
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Mr. Fish -

Thanks, that was exactly what I was looking for. It's obviously possible.

Cheers.
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Old January 24, 2011, 08:01 PM   #17
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"Brickeyee, I could be wrong, but I think that's a problem only if you've been convicted of a federal felony. It leaves you no course for reinstatement of your rights.

I think state offenses are handled w/in the states so the federal fund prohibition doesn't pertain. "

Except you will not get it expunged from any federal data base, and they have most of them in there.
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Old January 24, 2011, 08:04 PM   #18
Glenn E. Meyer
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Asked and answered - seek competent legal advice.

Closed.
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