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Old January 23, 2017, 01:17 PM   #1
MarkA
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NICS DENIAL Appealed, and APPROVED.. a story of hope for all.

Hello all,
I just wanted to share this story with you, as it’s been a rough couple of years in the world of getting a 4473 to go through… the end of that dilemma showed up in my mailbox in the form of a letter from the DOJ, and a NTN number.

In 2007, I got hit with an assault charge. I won’t go into the details of that (as I’m still PO’d about it), but it was a Misdemeanor crime of Domestic Violence (4th degree assault). Bleh. Had I known at the time, the implications of a guilty plea just to get out of the court room and go home, I wouldn’t have plead guilty (because I wasn’t really.. defending myself). But I was broke, and couldn’t afford a lawyer. At no time whatsoever was it explained to me that I’d be losing my gun rights.

Fast forward 7 years (2 year probation + 5 year waiting period); I filed for an expungement of the charge and it was granted. That expungement order was forwarded to locals, state, and federal agencies including the DOJ, FBI, and NICS division. That was in September of 2014. I knew gov’t was slow. So I sat on that. 1 year later, I ran a background check on myself, and sure enough, record GONE. This brought a smile to my face, as it was closure in a way.

Time to test the waters…

September, 2015… I went to the LGS and picked up a cute little .22 rifle that my boy will love shooting (someday, he’s still 2). 4473 filled out.. DENIED… to which I replied with a -CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED- face. At this point, I walked out with a transaction number, and immediately when through the NICS appeals web page and filled out the appropriate info. I included a certified photocopy of the expungement order (as this technically, should be the only evidence that such a charge ever existed). A few weeks later, I got the DOJ’s letter that said “yea yea… you were denied because of this charge that shouldn’t be on your record but it is, we’ll look into it.” And then I never heard another thing.

Test the waters.. round 2…

September 2016… I used to have my CCDW; I let it expire years ago because I just never did carry. It occurred to me that perhaps, the state police performing a background check for CCDW renewal might be a little more thorough. Let’s try it! Photo, application, checks written, application mailed. 3 weeks later, letter in the mail.. DENIED. Seriously? Ok.. state police have an appeals process too. Again, go through those hoops, include another certified copy of the expungement order as a way of saying “hey look.. there IS no record. Please try again.” They replied 2 weeks later with a follow up denial which basically said “Your NICS background check confirmed that you have a 4th degree assault. Blah blah blah.. you’re breaking the law if you have any guns or ammo.”

It became clear that the state police ran up against the same basic NICS background check as I did, and they weren’t reading what I was telling them and had no capacity to care or take action beyond the NICS check. Thanks for taking my money! (they still cashed my checks).

So what’s a fella got to do to get past this? I read the stories too, that the FBI basically shut down the appeals department in the NICS division back in January of 2016. Even today, I don’t know if you can find a more recent story online that contests that, though the web site now states that they’re processing appeals filed in August of 2015. (last year, it said they were processing June 2015.. progress?!)

Enter Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul, Stage left…

Write your Senators! We hear this often, and we often never do. But… I just happen to live in a state with two powerhouse senators, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul. If you go to their web sites, they offer assistance with Federal Agencies. Ok.. I’ll bite. I wrote them both a letter on the 20th or so of December 2016. I info dumped on em’… included the appeal letters, the expungement order, privacy release forms.. and a thorough letter explaining all of the above, with a reminder that my 2nd and 5th amendment rights are basically being pooped on. On the 10th of January, I received a letter from Senator McConnell’s office:

“…we have reached out to the FBI, and will follow up shortly with our findings.” YAYAYAYAAYA!!!

That was fast! A ray of hope shone through the window. “I wonder how long this will take..” has been a continuing theme lately, and this helped me feel better.

Friday, January 20th, 2016… I got a letter from the DOJ that in short says “We’ve discovered that you are eligible to possess a firearm. Here’s your NTN number certificate. If it’s been more than 30 days since your original application (lol.. you think? Try 470 days).. the LGS will need to run your NICS check again.”

Saturday, January 21st, 2016… I receive a letter from Rand Paul’s office.. “we’re looking into it”.

Now there’s a chance that this is just a coincidence of timing, and the NICS finally got around to doing their job without intervention. After all, the web site does say that they’re processing August 2015, and September is the next month after. But… I get a bigger smile on my face when I imagine that the office of the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called and poked around and someone in Clarksburg said “we should probably make this one go away.”

I’ve not gotten any follow up correspondence from either office, but today, to celebrate, I walked out of the LGS with a brand new Kimber Ultra CDP II. BOOM. That almost 10-year-old weight is finally off of my shoulders.



I’ll need to follow up with an application for CCDW.. again, and some serious thank you notes to Senators McConnell and Paul. I just wanted to share all of this as a message of hope for those that feel like they’re stuck in limbo. Be persistent. If you KNOW you’re right according to the letter of the law, don’t hesitate to ask for any help that your representatives are offering. Don’t just sit around and wait.

It's FINALLY OVER.

Last edited by MarkA; January 23, 2017 at 03:41 PM.
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Old January 23, 2017, 02:25 PM   #2
K_Mac
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Congratulations on getting your record cleared. Your case clearly illustrates that our legal system does not favor those of us who don't have the means or knowledge to avoid the dangers therein. It is unfortunate that it took the involvement of your pro 2A Senators to get action taken. Not all Senators would do the same.
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Old January 23, 2017, 06:32 PM   #3
Aguila Blanca
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Good for you for following through.

Your advice about bringing your congresscritters into the mix is generally valid. Toward the end of my tour of duty in sunny southeast Asia back in 1968, I was attached to 4th Infantry Division headquarters company. My hoochmates were the guys in the Division personnel office, and I learned that the one thing nobody wanted to happen -- EVER -- was for the command to receive a congressional inquiry regarding how the Army was not being nice to Johnny Jerkoff. Your assessment is pretty much spot-on -- when a "congressional" comes in, the name of the game is "make it go away - FAR away."
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Old January 23, 2017, 06:57 PM   #4
5whiskey
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Quote:
Your case clearly illustrates that our legal system does not favor those of us who don't have the means or knowledge to avoid the dangers therein.
This is why I have some issues with misdemeanor assault convictions permanently barring someone from passing a NICS. I ^MAY^ could be sold on a temporary NICS block on individual, case-by-case basis, so long as it sunset after a period of time. It should be case-by-case, and it should be ordered by a judge. There is a difference between a man beating the brakes off of a spouse/girlfriend, and the guy that looses his cool a little just once and pushes her away from him when she's up in his face. Both of them could literally fall under the exact same law/charge, but one is much worse than the other.
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Old January 23, 2017, 07:01 PM   #5
stephen426
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Congrats! I'm glad your persistence paid off!
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Old January 23, 2017, 07:51 PM   #6
MarkA
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Thanks y'all. I'm still reveling in it. It's some very welcome closure to a situation that I was starting to think I would be stuck with for forever. Black cloud.. and some other gloomy metaphors.
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Old January 23, 2017, 07:55 PM   #7
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Oh yeah, and Welcome to the forum!
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Old January 24, 2017, 01:51 AM   #8
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This is why I have some issues with misdemeanor assault convictions permanently barring someone from passing a NICS.
We can all thank Sen Lautenberg, and his party for that. With the passage of the law bearing his name, two fundamental changes in US law happened.

The first, and most noticeable was that, for the first time in US history, a certain type of misdemeanor conviction resulted in a permanent, irrevocable denial of firearms rights.

The other, seemingly smaller but also far reaching change is that under that law, it did not matter WHEN the conviction occurred, last week or 50 years ago. All the same under the law, and no matter what penalty was applied then, after passage of the law, the revocation of gun rights applied to ALL domestic violence convictions.

The law also contained NO EXCEPTIONs for law enforcement or military personnel. It took, literally thousands of police "off the street" because they could no longer legally possess a gun, even on duty.

I'm glad things finally worked out for you, enjoy your restored freedom, and welcome to TFL!!
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Old January 24, 2017, 05:34 AM   #9
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The law also contained NO EXCEPTIONs for law enforcement or military personnel. It took, literally thousands of police "off the street" because they could no longer legally possess a gun, even on duty.
Why should it contain exceptions for anyone? This is one of my biggest sticking points that I see in our government today, a whole list of gun control and other laws are forced upon the people, while government officials/roles are exempted from them. I absolutely reject this practice as clear hegemony, if a law is just enough to be applied to all citizens (and I'm not saying it is), it should be applied to all government officials as well, no matter what their role, particularly all civilian government roles outside the military.

--------------
Congratulations to the OP, And I believe he is correct, I don't think most Jurisdictions explain the ramifications of such a misdemeanor conviction or even care. I'll give you an example; a family member was charged with such a misdemeanor, and when she explained the plea bargain I protested and explained that if she were convicted of this, she could likely no longer be able to purchase or own a firearm legally. After some strongly worded questioning directed at her attorney, they came up with a different plea strategy that worked out well.

Even with an attorney the OP may not have been informed of the permanent penalty for such a conviction. I lay quite a bit of blame at the feet of this attorney my family member hired (who shall remain nameless), it came up that he in fact knew this about the penalty, but failed to disclose it, why exactly, we don't know.
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Old January 24, 2017, 12:09 PM   #10
Aguila Blanca
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Originally Posted by iraiam
Congratulations to the OP, And I believe he is correct, I don't think most Jurisdictions explain the ramifications of such a misdemeanor conviction or even care. I'll give you an example; a family member was charged with such a misdemeanor, and when she explained the plea bargain I protested and explained that if she were convicted of this, she could likely no longer be able to purchase or own a firearm legally. After some strongly worded questioning directed at her attorney, they came up with a different plea strategy that worked out well.

Even with an attorney the OP may not have been informed of the permanent penalty for such a conviction. I lay quite a bit of blame at the feet of this attorney my family member hired (who shall remain nameless), it came up that he in fact knew this about the penalty, but failed to disclose it, why exactly, we don't know.
My wife died three years ago. Recently, someone asked me if I'm dating. I'm not, primarily because I'm almost 73 years old and I know from years of dating (and a couple of prior bad marriages) that the wife I lost three years ago cannot ever be duplicated and nobody can take her place in my life. In addition to that, there's the realization and understanding that, in today's socio-political climate, virtually anything in the context of an "intimate relationship" (which can probably be interpreted to include anything beyond a first date, and even a first date it it results in sexual relations) can be the basis of a domestic violence charge -- even just harsh words or, as someone else already noted, just pushing someone away if he/she gets in your face and intrudes on your personal space.

I like guns and I like shooting. At my age, I'm just not willing to risk it. I'd rather shoot than date.
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Old January 27, 2017, 11:06 AM   #11
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Write your Senators! We hear this often, and we often never do. But… I just happen to live in a state with two powerhouse senators, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul.
I live in California. If I should ever need assistance getting a NICS problem fixed, which Senator do you think would spring to my aid fastest, Diane Feinstein or Kamala Harris?
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Old January 27, 2017, 11:43 PM   #12
MarkA
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I'd probably kick things off with a U-Haul van and a trip east; about 1,200 miles would do it.
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Old February 19, 2017, 09:34 AM   #13
MarkA
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Just a quick update

The state police have mailed my CCDW to the sheriff's office.

Happy boy!!
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