Juvenile Record Prohibitions Under New BSCA Law?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Fatman, Sep 11, 2022.

  1. Fatman

    Fatman Member

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    I am not a lawyer, but I am a worry wart, and the new "bipartisan safer communities act" has me thinking...

    Lets say at 17 yo, you were adjudicated delinquent of doing something which would be a felony as an adult. Non-violent, no jail, just youthful stupid. Then around age.. oh 35 you get into guns, get your TX concealed carry license, all the good stuff.

    Now at age 50, they passed the bipartisan safer communities act. Are you now prohibited from buying a firearm under the new law? Will it impact your ability to renew your LTC? Should you worry, or should you drink more beer and worry less?
     
  2. MEHavey

    MEHavey Member

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    https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/2938/text
     
  3. Fatman

    Fatman Member

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    I see what you're thinking (I think), but the part about misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence doesn't apply. The part that worries me is:

    "SEC. 12001. JUVENILE RECORDS.

    (a) Improving NICS Examination of Juvenile Records.--
    (1) In general.--Section 922 of title 18, United States
    Code, is amended--
    (A) in subsection (d)--
    (i) in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by
    inserting ``, including as a juvenile'' after
    ``such person''; and"


    Which means that US 18 922 (d) now reads: "
    (d) It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person, including as a juvenile-
    (1) is under indictment for, or has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
    "

    Now, my brain says that a juvenile adjudication is not a conviction, but IANAL.
     
  4. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    I’m going to let this run a bit more to see if anyone can point us to some reliable and useful information. But I’m not optimistic.

    The thing is that this is very new. The are probably a whole lot of things that will need to be sorted out by the courts. Among other things, I wonder how this federal law will mesh with the various juvenile offender systems the various States have.

    But let’s keep this substantive and evidence based.
     
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  5. RickD427

    RickD427 Member

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    "Fatman" is on to something here.

    California provides unique treatment to juvenile offenders, and I have seen many other states do the same.

    In California a juvenile may be criminally prosecuted for specified offenses, and only after a finding is made that the juvenile is unsuited for the services of the Juvenile Court. Refer to California Welfare and Institutions Code, section 707. When a Juvenile case is handled under section 707, they may be "Convicted" of the offense and if the offense is a felony, or a crime of domestic violence under the federal definition, then the juvenile would become a federally prohibited person.

    But in juvenile cases where the case is tried in juvenile court, there is no criminal conviction possible. The outcome of a Juvenile Court hearing, when the charges are proved, is that the juvenile is made a ward of the court. Refer to California Welfare and Institutions Code, section 602.

    Nearly all California juvenile cases are initiated under section 602. It is quite rare to see a section 707 action.

    The federal definition of an "Indictment" differs considerably from the way that term is used in the state courts. Most state prosecutors use an "Information" rather than an "Indictment" to initiate felony criminal charges and the two terms are quite different. However, 18USC921(a)(14) defines an "Indictment" in a way that also includes "Information." But in California, juvenile cases are not commenced using either legal instrument. They are brought by a petition alleging that the juvenile is a person needing the supervision of the Juvenile Court.
     
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  6. MEHavey

    MEHavey Member

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    In other words, we have a mess....
    ...(again)
     
  7. RickD427

    RickD427 Member

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    We've always "had a mess" with the interplay of federal law and state law, and that is probably gonna continue for a while.

    The real root of the issue lies in the Constitution, and in efforts of the federal government to broaden their level of control, and to bring standardization of the laws to the states.

    A central theme of the Constitution is that the states are the primary authorities to define the laws that apply to their populations. The federal government's role in lawmaking is limited to those areas where the Constitution assigns a federal responsibility.

    One drawback of that approach is that you can have 50 different ways of performing the same criminal justice task. You can also have very common criminal justice terms, like "Conviction" and "Indictment" mean 50 different things. A California "Indictment" is very different from a federal "Indictment" as we discussed above.

    California and many other states have opted to relieve youthful offenders of the stigma of a "conviction" (with the exception of WIC 707 cases in California). But when Congress creates a federal statute, it's really necessary for them to do so using language that is consistent with the language of corresponding statutes of each state, or to write the federal statute so that it supersedes the state statutes.

    Early in my career, I was given my first management job. The County's Housing Authority Police Department was disbanded following a number of internal issues and the County contracted with the Sheriff's Department to serve as the Housing Authority Police. I was assigned to run the operation. One of the strategies of keeping criminal elements out of the projects was to screen applicants for housing. The federal law expressly required law enforcement agencies serving federally funded housing authorities (which we were) to perform criminal history background checks on applicants. California state law expressly prohibited agencies from performing such checks. There had been a U.S. Supreme Court decision (Printz v U.S.) that would have allowed us to challenge the federal law, but it was in our interests to follow the federal law. I approached the County Counsel with the issue expecting a clear answer (remember, I was the "new guy" at this time). By the time that the issue finally got resolved, it took the efforts of several different folks to run bill through the California Legislature to permit such checks to be performed.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2022
  8. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    Sadly, all I can point to is hearsay, but, I was under the impression that the "opening juvenile records" was only applicable to persons under 21 wanting to buy. The "enhanced background check for juveniles."
    The published language, so far does not actually seem to support that.

    There is also the question of just how NICS is meant to hold disqualifying juvenile information without decades of new data entry after opening, and examining all those closed/sealed records for such DQ info. This is not defined within the new legislation, which suggests it will require Rule-making under CFR. And, that means needing a crystal ball.
     
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