I thought foreign convictions didn't matter?


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FTF
June 21, 2006, 01:02 AM
Well, they mattered to me... since I was denied the purchase of a firearm a few months back. Oh, and this is my first post, lol, long time troller, first time poster.

I won't go heavily into the details, but I was denied by the NICS for a foreign conviction. The conviction in question WAS a misdemeanor (at least in Canada)... my punishment was a 220 dollar fine, including surcharge, no jail time. In Canada, they apparently have a funky way of classifying crimes as hybrid offenses, meaning they can be tried either as a felony (indictable), or summary (misdemeanor). Of course, mine was tried summarily with above mentioned outcome... well, apparently, this threw up the felon flag at CJIS, and I was denied my firearm purchase. Of course, I bought a firearm a few months and a few more a year or so back with just a delay.

Long story short... 5 months later and what seemed to be a lifetime of worrying (thank GOD I save everything, including court paperwork), my denial was overturned and I got my firearm. Of course, I got 3 crappy letters in the interim... all signed by someone at CJIS and officially telling me not to bother with it. Of course, my successful appeal had no "we're sorry" or anything to that effect, or even a signature on it... just the documentation to take to the dealer to get my burner. Funny how they can be official with all the negative correspondence, but lackadaiscal with the good stuff telling you that you were right.

Well, the bottom line is that I got my gun and I'm now in the VAF (voluntary appeal file), so hopefully this doensn't happen again. My record was also updated during the appeal (hmm... interesting). BUT... it's also interesting to note that even after the Supreme Court Ruling...

Seen here... (if link doesn't work 03750 is the docket #)

http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/26apr20050800/www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/04pdf/03-750.pdf

That ruled that foreign convictions do not disqualify one from US firearm ownership (Apr 2005)... but they still denied me for it. Of course, they did send the reason for denial after I sent my fingerprints... and it was from Canada. Of course I'm a US citizen and a vet so I figured the SCOTUS ruling did apply to me.

Just a bit confused by the policies up thur in VA... seems like the SCOTUS pretty much laid down the law... figured it wouldn't flag at all. Never has before (since it was a misd)... just long delays. 5 months is a long time to wait since some newbie up at CJIS can't call the phone number to find out the maximum sentence... and should have known it doesn't matter anyways.

Regardless. Rant off. Glad to be a new member. One can vent after 5 months of bueraucratic nonsense, can't one?

Maybe this post will help someone else. ~90% of people denied never follow up on it. Of those that do, ~25% successfully appeal... I'm glad I followed up on it and didn't take "no" as an end-all-be-all response.... Just takes a long time, but occasionally, the wheels of justice spin for you, albeit slowly.

This entire experience HAS given me a true appreciation for just how important our 2a rights are. To think that my rights were effectively taken away due to misinterpretation on two levels (1.scotus ruling 2. lack of information on foreign laws), by some government drone, made me more aware on just how easy it is for these rights to be taken away... by all of these silly rules and contradictions that abound in the entire "gun control" philosphy.

FTF

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Dmack_901
June 21, 2006, 01:47 AM
Welcome. Good first post.

If everything is exactly how you tell it, and the official written reason was a foreign conviction you'd have a decent shot at sueing the federal government for that clear civil rights violation. I have no clue of the "monetry value" but that's secondary to the principal of it. I'd bet you could find a lawyer to take it free(with a commission if you win).

That or forget about.

Luckily your situation wasn't life and death, but it's only a matter of time until someone denied his would-be carry gun ends up being killed as a result.

beerslurpy
June 21, 2006, 01:50 AM
The more you learn about the law, the less it resembles the law you were told about as a child.

I assume the ATF basically figures that might makes right- anyone who wants to get out of a foreign conviction denial had better lawyer up. It often takes serious litigation with heavy penalties (painful precedents, some huge equity loss or high legal costs awarded) to get agencies to behave in a lawful manner. Just ask John Rapanos.

IMO you are lucky it wasnt a felony. They would probably continue to deny you unless you sued them.

FTF
June 21, 2006, 02:02 AM
I'm glad some peeps replied... I was beginning to think that nobody cared... it made such an impact on my personal life, I just thought it beared mention.

I never thought I could even pursue suing the government... nor do I think that is an option now. I'm just happy I got my "rights back"... even though they never should have been taken away in the first place. Just the fact that CJIS retracted their original denial statement was enough for me. As a vet, I know that legal action against the government just isn't an option... perhaps if every one of the 10k denial overturns each year sued... but nobody does. As I said, LUCKILY, I had all the original court documentation... which was, ironically, mentioned specifically as a reason in the appeal board letter telling me I was OK to buy. Without those copies, I think I would mostly likely still be in legal limbo.

It really does bring a huge legal precendent into question... the whole foreign conviction thing. I hate giving personal info, but the max penalty was 1yr in prison and no fine (summary conviction). In the state I currently live in and have been a resident of for years (US)... it would have not been a crime AT ALL. I'm not pulling this out of my butt to protect myself legally (I DID get the gun)... it just aggravates me.

FTF

beerslurpy
June 21, 2006, 02:12 AM
You seem unaware of this, but there is a fairly significant group of lawyers that make their money suing government agencies over administrative law, which is basically the area that controls the joining of Statute + Regulation + Enforcement. Environmentalists are huge on suing the EPA to get their way. And there are some lawyers with expertise in the ATF. I remember coming across a paper about using FOIA requests during ATF lawsuit preparations and how to get around various challenges to cases like standing and ripeness, etc.

FTF
June 21, 2006, 02:27 AM
Don't get me wrong... I seriously feel that my rights were violated. One "does" come to this conclusion if two months prior to his "denial" he was allowed to purchase an AR15 from the same store and yet was denied two months later for an offense that happened 7 years earlier lol. It just doesn't add up. It's not hard to see on the paperwork they send you... said conviction happened over 6 years ago, yet was modified THIS year and REPRINTED this year.

I just know where I stand in the whole scheme of things. I will continue to do what I have always done... write all my representatives via snail mail and electronic mail where I stand on the issues. I always get the same canned responses, but hell, I tried. I vote along the same lines.

I guess I'm currently chalking it up as "mistakes happen"... I mean... they do. They happen at my job. It's just that the entire appeal process seems designed to make you give up. I really should scan all the letters I was sent... I know my rights, trust me, I spent many sleepless nights over this... but... obviously, mistakes DO happen... but I'm telling you, the whole process sure belies that fact....

It just doesn't seem fair. And I'm not complaining from the criminal standpoint.. I DID GET MY GUN... I am NOT a felon... It's just such a long road to prove yourself that I question the entire system. :banghead: And YES, I'm telling the truth.

geekWithA.45
June 21, 2006, 08:43 AM
long time troller, first time poster

I believe the term you are looking for is lurker, as in, one who lurks silently, reading without posting.

A troll is an entirely different beast. It is one who among other things posts contrarian views with the bad will intention of simply stirring up reactions, absent any good will intent to genuinely engage in actual debate.

Anyway, welcome.

I'm glad you were able to resolve your situation. As an information engineering guy, my first question would be, "where and why exactly are we getting feeds of criminal information from outside the US, and why are they being misapplied into the NICS base?"

The other observation I would make is that government beaurocracies are big, massive ships with teeny tiny rudders, they don't turn quickly enough to miss the moving icebergs, and so they pinball around the seas, slamming into stuff left and right. I'm not real surprise to see them all out of sync with the state of the law and jurisprudence.

Just_a_dude_with_a_gun
June 21, 2006, 08:52 AM
Good for you.

Now, more importantly, what did you get? :)

sturmruger
June 21, 2006, 10:40 AM
I am glad you got everything squared away and got your gun.

Did you have to write an appeal letter or was there some type of commitee that you have to meet with to get things aproved?

jcb
June 21, 2006, 10:50 AM
I'm glad that everything worked out for you, but the question begs to be asked; what are you doing in Canada? I stay away form there. Everyone I know of who travels to Canada for business or pleasure tells me that there is real dislike=envy of Americans up there. Boycot Canada!

ScottsGT
June 21, 2006, 01:44 PM
Just to make sure it is cleared, go buy another gun, NOW! :D

Kim
June 21, 2006, 01:47 PM
Did not the Enviromentalist weenies get put into law where the government gave them permission to sue. They automatically have standing. Sneakey little devils arn't they. Wish the NRA had such lopsided privilages.

Hawkmoon
June 22, 2006, 01:09 AM
I am curious as to how the Canadian conviction showed up. Did you answer "Yes" to any of the questions on the Form 4473? Or do the Feds exchange information with the Mounties when running a NICS background check?

Zedicus
June 22, 2006, 02:03 AM
Did not the Enviromentalist weenies get put into law where the government gave them permission to sue. They automatically have standing. Sneakey little devils arn't they. Wish the NRA had such lopsided privilages.

Funny how if you are a Raving Psycho who's breaking the law to save something that doesn't need saving in the first place you get classed as a Hero & Catered to by the .gov

But if you are a Reasonable, Logical Thinking, Law Abiding American who is fighting to preserve a god given right that is secured in the Bill of Rights you get classed as a Psycho & get Harassed by .gov Agency's. and dismissed as a Nut.... :banghead: :fire:

roscoe
June 22, 2006, 02:21 AM
I believe that the law is only in effect if you could have been imprisoned for more than a year (as with a felony) and the country has a judicial system substantially similar to ours. That had been the interpretation until not long ago.

The supreme court recently overturned an illegal gun possession conviction in the US - the defendant had been originally convicted of illegally owning a gun because he had served time in Japan. The court decide that Americans could not be subject to foreign laws.

Oh, for all you Scalia and Thomas lovers - Scalia and Thomas voted for the minority, supporting the right of the US government to decide your status as an American based on foreign laws. Notice that the 'liberal' justices supported the defendant's claim that it was unconstitutional to use foreign courts to determine the rights of American citizens. The case is Small v. United States - I encourage you to look it up.

FTF
June 22, 2006, 02:23 AM
I was half expecting this thread to die.

A troll is an entirely different beast. It is one who among other things posts contrarian views with the bad will intention of simply stirring up reactions, absent any good will intent to genuinely engage in actual debate.

It's been a long time. I try to stay away from message boards as they provide an easier opinion for news and resources than actually looking them up myself.


Now, more importantly, what did you get?

Kimber CDP Ultra. Interestingly enough.. the certificate from teh NICS authorized me to buy "a firearm". I didn't buy the firearm I initially was supposed to. Got an "instore" credit I guess.


I'm glad that everything worked out for you, but the question begs to be asked; what are you doing in Canada? I stay away form there. Everyone I know of who travels to Canada for business or pleasure tells me that there is real dislike=envy of Americans up there. Boycot Canada!
Trust me... I would really like to blame Canada for my mistake. It's so easy to say "know the law" in the country you travel to.. but there is NO WAY you will know EVERY law... and if they want to get you, they will... obscure charge or not, it's the law. I spent a night in jail. The Canadians were VERY respectful and I'm not whining. I violated the law... I didn't know. They knew I didn't know. My only access was a border town... like a college town where I grew up.. you know, I live here, you are just visiting lol.... LOTS of drunks though... LOTS of violent drunks...BIG alcohol problems up there as far as I remember... easier to shank than shoot anyways. Canada isn't bad. They aren't jealous... well, some are, but not for reasons you think of... 2a isn't really a big thing up there but they'll fight you for looking at them wrong in Windsor.... we always won tho :D

Just to make sure it is cleared, go buy another gun, NOW!

WAY ahead of you :D

Did not the Enviromentalist weenies get put into law where the government gave them permission to sue. They automatically have standing. Sneakey little devils arn't they. Wish the NRA had such lopsided privilages.

Go ahead and have the government deny you a firearm. You can look up legalese, supreme court rulings and relevant acts of God. You WILL NOT win. At least not quickly. The system is set up so much against you. I KNEW I was right. If I didn't save the documentation I did, I would still be wrangling with Canada to fix my record to reflect actual court dispostion... and they don't move very fast. As sad as it is... they (Canada/US DOJ), just don't care about making wrong records right... if I didn't give them all I did, I would have to clear the record on my own... somehow a request from J. Doe doesn't hold the same sense of urgency from J. Hoover FBI...

I am curious as to how the Canadian conviction showed up. Did you answer "Yes" to any of the questions on the Form 4473? Or do the Feds exchange information with the Mounties when running a NICS background check?

NO. I did NOT answer yes. I answered just as my record said so... I have a misdemanor in Canada, punishable by 12mo max sentence w/o fines. NOT a felony. DOES NOT meet felon requirements as +1yr. I actually only paid 220 bucks.

The Canadian conviction shows up in the III Interstate xxx index... I forget the rest. If you get popped in Mexico, or any country with good relations with the US, you will pop. Lets not forget L. Bean. They send you a nice little packet showing you how you popped.. mine said "Ontario", year etc... of course, my original denial despite the fact the SCOTS ruled foreign convictions illegal.... but you can look that up at SCOTUS online... it's not a big secret.

Bottom line. I answered all questions on the 4473 as best I knew how. I was denied by NICS. I was (5 months later), approved by the NICS after I sent in my appeal. In the interim (5 months), I was presumed guilty (couldn't pick up firearm),and could not exercise my constitutional 2a rights since I was convicted guilty from a CANADIAN conviction years prior,even though the SCOTUS ruled this illegal and unconstitutional. Of course, this was just fine with CJIS untl I sent them all the legal paperwork I had saved PROVING it was a simple misdemanor (like the 220$ fine only wasn't a clue enough).

I bought over xx GUNS in 4 years... with 3 day delays then NICS PROCEEDS on every single transaction. One time they choose to deny. That denial gets appealed then approved. THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN. Not one legit gun owner should have to endure this. IF IT DOESN'T WORK 100%, IT'S BROKEN


I love how some people love to tout the NICS checks as keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. I'm a 5 year veteran of the Marine Corps, ONE FOREIGN misdemeanor,and for 5 months I was denied my 2d amendment rights here in the nation I protected for 5 years. NICE. But after a 5 month review, I'm suddenly OK. Oh, we're sorry sir... you can have your gun... and while you are at it, in the 5 months you were kept waiting, you could have been charged, tried, convicted and out of jail for aggravated assault and STILL bought a gun in the streets, shot it 5 times in the air near someone, got your charge reduced to discharging a weapon and received a misdemanor and picked up a new gun a month later and kept it for life no questions asked. Oh, and embezzling 10 million dollars from a charity is a felony but doesn't deny your 2a rights.... IT'S BROKEN!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stop babying your kids and yourselves and accept some gd responsiblity for your own actions!

ftf

Hawkmoon
June 22, 2006, 01:13 PM
NO. I did NOT answer yes. I answered just as my record said so... I have a misdemanor in Canada, punishable by 12mo max sentence w/o fines. NOT a felony. DOES NOT meet felon requirements as +1yr. I actually only paid 220 bucks.
My recollection of the questions on the Form 4473 is that the ONLY question that mentions misdemeanors is the one asking if you have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. There is no essay question in which you would state that you were convicted of 'X' in Canada.

Maybe my recollection of the Form 4473 is flawed?

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