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Old December 19, 2012, 08:47 AM   #1
Mac Cande
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Join Date: December 18, 2012
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Question regarding the 4473

As I am new to these forums, I'm not exactly that sure this is the correct section for this thread; it did seem the most fitting, though. I have never attempted to purchase a firearm of any sort, but find myself with the desire to do so now. While doing a little research on the procedure, I came across a copy of the ATF 4473 form containing a questionnaire with 12 or so "Yes" or "No" questions. One of them asked about ever having been adjudicated mentally defective or committed to an institution, which is the one I have a question about. When I was around 14 I was having difficulty coping with multiple family tragedies and subsequently spent a week in a facility that monitored minors that could potentially be "at-risk". I was not there for violence or anything of that nature, simply persistent depression my family found worrisome. My mother voluntarily asked that I be evaluated, which I agreed to, so my question is whether or not I would need to answer "Yes" to that question on the 4473. Other than that bout of situational depression, I have never been diagnosed with any mental illness, but I want to make sure that I am not answering incorrectly on the form. Thank you for any help you can offer.
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Old December 19, 2012, 08:51 AM   #2
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Don't take my word on this, but I think so long as you were not officially documented for having some sort of mental deficiency that could be a detriment and/or potentially lethal to your own safety/health or to those around you, you should be ok. If it was not officially documented that you are unfit to possess a firearm(s) then there is nothing to worry about.

Can someone confirm this for me please?
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Old December 19, 2012, 09:41 AM   #3
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I'm not a lawyer & this is by no means legal advice..

My nephew had a similar experience when he was still a minor.
His mother agreed to have him placed under observation for a week.

I asked a gun shop owner once if that would disquailfy him.
I was told since it was voluntary and not court ordered, it didn't fit under the term "adjudicated" & he could anwer no to the question.

In the end it didn't matter since my nephew had/has no interest in having a gun.
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Old December 19, 2012, 09:54 AM   #4
Spats McGee
Join Date: July 28, 2010
Location: Arkansas
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Caveat: I am a lawyer, but I am not your lawyer. I am only licensed in Arkansas and the federal courts, so I am probably not licensed in your jurisdiction. Accordingly, do not rely on my statements. If you want some honest-to-goodness legal advice, go hire a lawyer in your jurisdiction.

With all of that said, federal law specifically exempts voluntary commitments from the definition of "adjudicated as a mental defective."

Adjudicated as a mental defective. (a) A determination by a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority that a person, as a result of marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease:

(1) Is a danger to himself or to others; or

(2) Lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage his own affairs.

(b) The term shall include—

(1) A finding of insanity by a court in a criminal case; and

(2) Those persons found incompetent to stand trial or found not guilty by reason of lack of mental responsibility pursuant to articles 50a and 72b of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, 10 U.S.C. 850a, 876b.
27 C.F.R. 478.11

Whether or not your State law mirrors federal law on this issue is a question to which I do not know the answer. Check on your State law to see what it has to say on the matter.

Welcome to The Firing Line!
I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. If you need some honest-to-goodness legal advice, go buy some.
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Old December 19, 2012, 06:51 PM   #5
Aguila Blanca
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Location: CONUS
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As Spats McGee has already pointed out, words have meanings. "Adjudicated" means "adjudicated" -- involuntarily committed pursuant to a court order.

Your answer to the question is "No."
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Old December 19, 2012, 08:07 PM   #6
Tom Servo
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The answers given are correct on statute, but we can't give you the assistance that you'll get from professional legal counsel. It's worth spending the money to be sure.
Sometimes it’s nice not to destroy the world for a change.
--Randall Munroe
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