Pardon granted on 25-yr old conviction. Do I need to notify NICS?
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Old 09-21-2013, 05:12 AM   #1
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Default Pardon granted on 25-yr old conviction. Do I need to notify NICS?

I got caught up with the wrong crowd when I was young, made poor choices and paid a price. My crimes were property in nature and only happened once. There was no violence or drugs involved. I was talked into breaking into an abandoned bowling alley and got caught. I was let off on early probation for good behavior and since cleaned up and have been relatively successful with my life since.

The State of Georgia recently granted a pardon. Their officlal stamped letter plainly states that I have all civil rights restored including the right to own firearms. Great.

My friend shoots skeet and I want to buy a 20 ga shotgun to join in their sports events.

I found a used shotgun I like, however I do not trust buying from a private seller - I want to know what I am getting is not stolen. I was planning to have the private seller meet me at a gun store and I will pay to have the dealer (FFL) broker the sale. This means I will submit a form 4473 and be submitted for a NICS check.

According to the ATF, persons who have had their civil rights restored may answer "no" on question 11.c of form 4473.

Q: Are there any alternatives for relief from firearms disabilities?

A person is not considered convicted for Gun Control Act purposes if he has been pardoned, had his civil rights restored, or the conviction was expunged or set aside, unless the pardon, expungement, or restoration expressly provides the person may not ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms.
This looks fine on paper, but the NICS system will still reflect my prior conviction (since it wasn't expunged). The big question is will the restoration of rights appear in NICS database? Secondly, do NICS and ATF play well together? If ATF says to answer "no" on prior convictions, and NICS shows prior convictions.. will NICS play hardball and deny the application based on the discrepancy? What about NICS and the State? Will NICS see the restoration of rights issued by the State of Georgia and grant a proceed, or are they looking at a different data silo?

Eventually I'll have to get my feet wet and just try to purchase, but I'd like to be prepared with some idea of how my NICS request is going to appear to a FFL. I understand they don't do "dry runs", and while I have my official letter from the State of Georgia, if someone forgot to key it in or if the NICS system somehow didn't pick it up I don't want to be viewed as breaking the law by entering a firearms store.

Owning a gun isn't the last thing on the world. I have other hobbies, but I miss shooting from when I was on the farm (before moving to the city and meeting the Wrong Crowd).

Be interested to hear from some dealers or LEO's and your experiences & thoughts.
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Old 09-21-2013, 05:40 AM   #2
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I got caught up with the wrong crowd when I was young, made poor choices and paid a price. My crimes were property in nature and only happened once. There was no violence or drugs involved. I was talked into breaking into an abandoned bowling alley and got caught. I was let off on early probation for good behavior and since cleaned up and have been relatively successful with my life since.

The State of Georgia recently granted a pardon. Their officlal stamped letter plainly states that I have all civil rights restored including the right to own firearms. Great.

My friend shoots skeet and I want to buy a 20 ga shotgun to join in their sports events.

I found a used shotgun I like, however I do not trust buying from a private seller - I want to know what I am getting is not stolen. I was planning to have the private seller meet me at a gun store and I will pay to have the dealer (FFL) broker the sale. This means I will submit a form 4473 and be submitted for a NICS check.

According to the ATF, persons who have had their civil rights restored may answer "no" on question 11.c of form 4473.
Q: Are there any alternatives for relief from firearms disabilities?

A person is not considered convicted for Gun Control Act purposes if he has been pardoned, had his civil rights restored, or the conviction was expunged or set aside, unless the pardon, expungement, or restoration expressly provides the person may not ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms.
This looks fine on paper, but the NICS system will still reflect my prior conviction (since it wasn't expunged). The big question is will the restoration of rights appear in NICS database? Secondly, do NICS and ATF play well together? If ATF says to answer "no" on prior convictions, and NICS shows prior convictions.. will NICS play hardball and deny the application based on the discrepancy? What about NICS and the State? Will NICS see the restoration of rights issued by the State of Georgia and grant a proceed, or are they looking at a different data silo?

Eventually I'll have to get my feet wet and just try to purchase, but I'd like to be prepared with some idea of how my NICS request is going to appear to a FFL. I understand they don't do "dry runs", and while I have my official letter from the State of Georgia, if someone forgot to key it in or if the NICS system somehow didn't pick it up I don't want to be viewed as breaking the law by entering a firearms store.

Owning a gun isn't the last thing on the world. I have other hobbies, but I miss shooting from when I was on the farm (before moving to the city and meeting the Wrong Crowd).

Be interested to hear from some dealers or LEO's and your experiences & thoughts.
welcome to the forum! stop over in the Introductions section and say hello.

best advice is to contact a lawyer and let him guide you through this. i see your concerns and fully understand wanting to be totally legal and that the agencies have entered the correct information about you into the system.

others may have some insight or advice, and that's all well and good, if it were me, i'd get in touch with a lawyer, just to make sure everything was done correctly.
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Old 09-21-2013, 06:30 AM   #3
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Welcome! Glad you found your way to us!

If there was an entry into the NCIC database for you (part of what NCIS checks is NCIC) your pardon SHOULD have been entered into the system, modifying the information there.

Couple of routes open to you that do not require an attorney. You can contact the Feds, and apply for a UPIN (Unique Personal Identification Number). When buying gun, on the Form 4473 you complete, there is a spot for you to enter that number. When NCIS is checking, that number refers them to a file for you and nobody else, tells them you have already been checked. Seriously, I know a guy named Charles Manson- he had to get a UPIN or get delayed every time.

Second- contact local ATF office, explain circumstances, (may need to do this in person) and see if they can run you through the system to see what happens.

Third- since you HAVE been pardoned, find a local gun store. Go talk to owner at a non-busy time, explain. Make a purchase, complete the 4473. As instructed, you would answer no to the prior conviction. Have him run you thru the system. He will get one of three responses- approved, denied or delayed (delayed means they are trying to find their butt with both hands). Worst- denied, and you have to appeal denial- at which point you provide copy of pardon. If you DO get denied, you will NOT be the first denial they have had- and no, should not get helicopters descending on the store.

And congratulations.

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Old 09-21-2013, 07:23 AM   #4
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Seriously, I know a guy named Charles Manson- he had to get a UPIN or get delayed every time.
Whoa. What a stroke of bad luck!!
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Old 09-21-2013, 07:49 AM   #5
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Welcome to the forum, HelloDolly!

As a former FFL dealer, I can tell you that C3shooter hit the nail on the head. The only crime is KNOWINGLY lying when you fill out the 4473. Since you have a Letter of Pardon, you can straighten out any kinks that may be in the system. Explain to the dealer that there may be an error in the system and just let the check go through. Even with a denial, the appeals process is straight forward and allows you to provide your evidence so that BATFE can update the system.

If you really don't want to test the waters with an actual sale, then the UPIN is the only other way to go. A felon with the exact same name as my wife stole her social security number and uses as her own, so my wife constantly gets the "Delayed" response, only to go through a few hours later. Delayed is simply giving them time to check further and find things like your letter. My wife applied for a UPIN at our local Sheriff's department, paid a small fee, provided fingerprints and personal information so the Sheriff's Department could do an exhaustive background check. She now enters the UPIN on her 4473 and it bypasses all of the confusion for a "Proceed" response every time!

As an aside, if your seller of the shotgun has to travel far, warn him that there may be a hiccup before he shows up at the FFL. You don't want to anger him and blow the deal over a possible delay. :P

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Old 09-21-2013, 04:02 PM   #6
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Welcome to the forum, HelloDolly!

As a former FFL dealer, I can tell you that C3shooter hit the nail on the head. The only crime is KNOWINGLY lying when you fill out the 4473. Since you have a Letter of Pardon, you can straighten out any kinks that may be in the system. Explain to the dealer that there may be an error in the system and just let the check go through. Even with a denial, the appeals process is straight forward and allows you to provide your evidence so that BATFE can update the system.

If you really don't want to test the waters with an actual sale, then the UPIN is the only other way to go. A felon with the exact same name as my wife stole her social security number and uses as her own, so my wife constantly gets the "Delayed" response, only to go through a few hours later. Delayed is simply giving them time to check further and find things like your letter. My wife applied for a UPIN at our local Sheriff's department, paid a small fee, provided fingerprints and personal information so the Sheriff's Department could do an exhaustive background check. She now enters the UPIN on her 4473 and it bypasses all of the confusion for a "Proceed" response every time!

As an aside, if your seller of the shotgun has to travel far, warn him that there may be a hiccup before he shows up at the FFL. You don't want to anger him and blow the deal over a possible delay. :P
Thanks for all of the welcomes. I wasn't getting email notices of this thread so I'm a little late.. I posted in the main Legal forum but it looks like you, c3 and the others provided me with everything I need to move ahead.

Does it usually take a long time for a UPIN request? It took almost 2 years for the pardon/restoration to be issued.
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Old 09-21-2013, 04:40 PM   #7
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hellodolly,

One thing for sure is be certain to answer all the questions on the form correctly - dont try to lie. It wont work. Some gun shops wont submit requests when they know they are going to fail. But submittal will force a reply - even as c3shooter suggests - you may not like but then you will know.

Our son has a mark on his record and was warned that if he lied it would be less than 5 minutes and he would be surrounded with LEO ready to take him downtown. They were serious.

Good luck!

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Old 09-21-2013, 10:06 PM   #8
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One thing for sure is be certain to answer all the questions on the form correctly - dont try to lie. It wont work.
How would *you* answer question 11.c if you were me? Would you answer "Yes" to prior convictions, or "No"? Then let me know if you read the instructions for question 11.. I'm just curious to see what the average guy would say before reading the instructions provided by the ATF.
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Old 09-21-2013, 10:38 PM   #9
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A pardon is a forgiveness of a criminal act- and differs from leniency, just as an annulment is different from a divorce.

It has the effect of erasing the conviction. As instructed on the 4473, if you have been pardoned, you answer No.

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Old 09-21-2013, 10:51 PM   #10
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It may have the effect of erasing the conviction, but the record remains. The prosecutor for the county this happened in pretty much said he felt bad over the situation, but that if they simply erased every record that was pardoned it would create more trouble for them in the long run. I didn't argue, I did wrong and turned myself in. We all know at least a few people who probably did similar stupid things as teenagers, never get caught, and turned out just like me.. decent, law abiding citizens.

I can tell you this. I am the result of a broken family. There wasn't a father in the house and mom did the best she could with me.. eventually giving me the choice of turning myself in our she would have them come and get me. I had her drive me to the police station and I fessed up what I'd done. Divorce is so easy to get but when there are young children involved it should be the last resort. So easy to bring children in this world but once they are here, we kinda loose track of them and often don't care what happens to them.

sorry I will get down off my soap box. this has followed me around all my life and it's made finding work difficult. The emotional burden has been worse than any restitution, community service or probation I had to go through when it happened.

Love your kids.. if you absolutely have to get divorced, please stay involved in their lives. You mean so much to them and you are the only ones who can help guide and lead them away from darkness into knowledge and light.

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