Does NICS look for criminal charges or just convictions?


June 18, 2007, 01:45 AM
The reason I'm asking is because I was recently charged with a felony, but was never convicted. I will be filing for expungement in about a month when I'm elligible. I know that once my charges are expunged, I'll have nothing to worry about, but I was hoping to take advantage of a nice deal on an M&P .40 that I've been looking at. Does anyone know if an arrest and charges record will keep NICS from going through, even though there were no convictions?
Thanks for the help!

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Nomad, 2nd
June 18, 2007, 01:55 AM
You are not guilty untill you are guilty.

June 18, 2007, 02:10 AM
The NICS system should look for Convictions under Federal and State law that would be disqualifying, as well as (to the extent the information is available to NICS) Indictments/Informations for disqualifying crimes.

Here is a snippet (with the unrelated bits edited out) from the BATFE FAQs:

(B5) Are there certain persons who cannot legally receive or possess firearms and/or ammunition?

Yes, a person who

(1) Has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year;

(9) Has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence

(10) Cannot lawfully receive, possess, ship, or transport a firearm.

[B]A person who is under indictment or information for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year cannot lawfully receive a firearm.

Such person may continue to lawfully possess firearms obtained prior to the indictment or information.

[18 U.S.C. 922(g) and (n), 27 CFR 478.32]

So, if you are coming up on the Expungement time, can we infer that the Indictment was dropped/Nol Prosed/renounced/etc. by the DA earlier on? People tend to forget that just because the DA doesn't immediately apply for a Trial Date doesn't mean the Indictment/Information disappeared. It remains until it ceases to exist in one of several ways: The DA/PA can formally drop it, the Grand Jury in some places can quash it, a Judge might be able to quash it, they almost always have a time limit written in the Indictment/Information, or the Statutory limit on Speedy Trial may kick in and nullify an old Indictment. Until one of those things happens the Indictment/Information still exists and you CANNOT receive new firearms. It's a real trap if you don't remember the thing is hanging around some months later.


LAK Supply
June 18, 2007, 02:20 AM
You cannot expunge charges. If you were found guilty or plead guilty/no contest and then satisfied your obligations (any time served, fines, probation) you would need to go through an expungement process.

If you were only charged and those charges were dropped you're ok. If they just haven't filed you aren't ok. If you were charged and they were dropped or you were acquitted you should look at a factual finding of innocence.

June 18, 2007, 02:09 PM
Be sure to go to the courthouse and obtain a disposition. It's a paper document with a seal on it. Most likely they will charge you a fee. Get at least three of 'em.

A 42 year-old felony arrest that was dismissed still appears in my NCIC file. The state never followed through by notifying the Feds that the case was dismissed.

When I applied for a C&R license, the ATF wrote me a letter giving me 30 days to provide a court issued disposition. Copies not accepted. Fortunately, I still had two dispositions that I obtained in 1972 and sent them one. The C&R license arrived four weeks later.

It's a bit puzzling because I've never been denied when I purchased either a handgun or a long gun.

Another point. I no longer live in that state and it would've taken well over 30 days to apply for and receive a disposition by mail. Since then, I ordered a couple more dispositions to keep on file.

June 18, 2007, 02:21 PM
This sort of thing happen: The guy in front of me in line for his CCW had his disposition in hand, because he knew that the arrest was on record, and erroneously listed as current, rather than as the DA dropped the charges.

June 18, 2007, 06:30 PM
I dunno, but in Texas, when applying for a CHL, you are asked about ARRESTS. Then you are asked to furnish copies of the judgement and sentence from the presiding court.

Court records may be expunged but I don't think everything simply disappears in a blink.


Well Regulated
June 18, 2007, 09:06 PM
It's not part of the NICS yet, but just wait for the next mass shooting.

June 18, 2007, 11:39 PM
I get a full 3 day delay every time, and this is the reason I use. But with a delay you never know why you're being delayed. My disposition was erased/expunged, but the arrest obviously shows up. I think they try and find out what happened to the arrest and it takes them 3 days to give up.

But I could also be delayed because of some criminal with aliases. When I got my first CWP, the lady's eyes got real big for a while until she figured out my eyes and hair were the wrong color from the wanted person.

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