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Old April 12, 2009, 02:42 PM   #1
bearjr2
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Join Date: April 12, 2009
Posts: 1
Westchester County NY Pistol Permit Application

So I've decided to purchase a handgun - picked up the paperwork and started going through it and noticed to my surprise that one of the questions asks if you have ever been arrested.

Many years ago I was arrested in Westchester County NY and charged with one count of assault B, a misdemeanor charge. Other than that instance I have never been arrested and I have never been convicted of a crime.

When the case went to trial all charges were dropped by the prosecutor and the case was dismissed and sealed. I was told that this was the most favorable outcome for me and that I should "think and behave like it never happened". I was told that if I was asked by anyone if I had ever been arrested I should answer no, in fact I was told that it's illegal in many states (NY being one of them) for an employer to ask if you've been arrested - they may only ask if you've ever been convicted of a crime. I also know from purchasing many long guns that the federal background application asks if you've ever been convicted of a crime, not if you've ever been arrested. If the feds are OK knowing if you've never been convicted of a crime shouldn't Westchester County be OK with that depth of knowledge too?(rhetorical question)

So I guess what I'm getting to is the question of whether or not it's legal for the county to ask if someone's ever been arrested when applying for a pistol permit and/or you have to answer yes in a circumstance like mine. I can't think of any rational reason why it would matter in my case for the county to be aware of a past arrest that had my outcome, if employers don't need to know and the court told me to answer "no" to the question of ever having been arrested why should it matter to the county pistol licensing unit, if it's not a piece of info that will be used to determine whether or not I can get a permit (and it legally shouldn't factor in - at least in my opinion because of no conviction) then the county shouldn't have the right to ask - aren't they seemingly stepping out of bounds?

Well I know that may seem like a rant, but it bothers me enough that I'm going to consult with a firearms attorney here in Westchester before I proceed any further in the application process. If anyone has any info or experiences that would relate to this I'd appreciate a response.

Thanks
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Old April 12, 2009, 10:14 PM   #2
2edgesword
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Join Date: December 27, 2008
Location: Suffolk County, NY
Posts: 84
I don't know what the deal is in Westchester but in Suffolk County the directions are very clear...

"If you have ever been arrested, or received a Field Appearance Ticket, or Criminal Summons, you must indicate it on the Applicant Questionnaire, question #18. On the day of your interview, you will be required to submit a Transcript of Record from the Court of Record indicating the Offense and Disposition, as well as a detailed notarized statement describing the circumstances, for each arrest. You must do this even if the case was dismissed, the record sealed or the case nullified by Operation of Law.

The New York Division of Criminal Justice Services will report to us every instance involving the arrest of an applicant. DO NOT RELY ON ANYONE’S REPRESENTATION THAT YOU NEED NOT LIST A PREVIOUS ARREST. New York State law provides the authority for the Licensing Officer to inquire into the facts underlying the arrest of an applicant, even if the arrest was terminated in his/her favor.

FAILURE TO DISCLOSE AND LIST THE ABOVE INFORMATION WILL RESULT IN THE DISAPPROVAL OF YOUR APPLICATION. IF YOU HAVE ANY DOUBTS AS TO WHETHER A PARTICULAR EVENT WAS AN ARREST, YOU MUST ADVISE YOUR APPLICANT INVESTIGATOR OF THE INCIDENT IN QUESTION DURING YOUR INTERVIEW."
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Old April 12, 2009, 11:16 PM   #3
ThorntonMelon
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Join Date: January 20, 2009
Posts: 26
It shouldn't surprise you that they ask about your arrest record. It's their job to figure out if you're a habitual law-breaker. Convictions aren't the only issue. You could get arrested for some heinous stuff multiple times and never get convicted. All that would mean is that you could afford a good lawyer. We could argue all day long about whether or not it should be legal, but it is. It's a background check...they are gonna turn over every stone they can find, just in case you've got something buried somewhere. I wouldn't recommend hiding anything, because they WILL find out regardless...doesn't even matter if it's a juvenile offense..."sealed" records aren't really sealed...they're just harder to find. Most of the applications that I've filled out (home state plus a number of non-resident CCW applications) will tell you, in bold print exactly which law you're breaking if you lie...it's usually called "filing a false instrument". In my neck of the woods it's a Class A misdemeanor.
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