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Private Purchase of a Firearm After Negative Background Check

March 7, 2009 Firearms Transfers No Comments

Question: I am 65 years old,I filled out a background check application approximately February 15th 2009 for purchase of a new pistol and was refused approval. Although I do have 3 adult criminal violations the last being approximately 30 years ago.  I was found not guilty / acquitted on one charge, charges dropped on another and plead guilty on one which sentence was set aside, put on a probation period and payed restitution.  How ever none of the charges pertained to any questions on the background check and none of the background check questions pertained to me but results came back negative on approval.  First do you believe my second amendment rights were violated, second even though background check came back negative would I be in violation of any law that you know of if I purchased a firearm from a private seller where I do not have to go through a background check?

Answer: First, let me state right up front that since I am not a lawyer, I cannot give you legal advice.  If you need legal advice, you would need to hire an attorney.  With that out of the way, let me address your questions.  First, when you purchase a firearm from a federally licensed dealer, they need to run your information through NICS to see if there is anything in your background that makes you a ‘prohibited possessor’ and therefore ineligible to own or purchase a firearm.

The entire list is fairly lengthy, but the short version is that you cannot have ever been convicted of a felony crime or any misdemeanor domestic violence offense.  Since you didn’t give me any information on your three violations, I have no way of knowing if one of them fell into the category of a felony or domestic violence arrest and conviction.  If there was a felony or domestic violence arrest but no conviction, you may have been denied based on the arrest record.  If you did not provide a social security number on the BATF 4473, it is also possible that there is someone that has a similar name and physical description that has a criminal background could have been mistakenly thought to be you.

Persons who are denied by NICS can request the reason for their denial.  To file an appeal, you must first have the NTN (transaction number) for the original request.  The gun dealer where you tried to buy the firearm has to maintain this information and can provide it to you.  You can fax in the appeal to 888-550-6427 or send it regular mail to:

FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Division, NICS Section, Appeal Services Team, PO Box 4278, Clarksburg, W. VA., 26302-9922

You can also get additional information on the appeal process including appeal forms at the following website:  http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cjisd/nics/index.htm

Regarding your second question, if you are a prohibited possessor and you attempt to purchase a firearm via a private party transaction, you would be in violation of federal law as well as Arizona state law.  Both violations are felony offenses with significant criminal penalties.  If the person who sells you the gun is aware that you are prohibited from owning a firearm, they would be guilty of a felony crime as well.

My recommendation to you is to find out why you were denied in the first place.  If there was no conviction and you have the court records to prove it, they can change the information in the record to reflect that.  I would not suggest that you attempt to purchase a firearm privately until you get this resolved.  You could be creating very serious legal consequences for yourself that would turn you into a true ‘prohibited possessor’.

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