Episode 17: What To Do When… You Are Purchasing a Firearm.
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EP 17: What To Do When… You Are Purchasing a Firearm with Scott Cardani and Will Smith III
Welcome to What To Do When….A podcast from real lawyers with real perspective, where we explore a variety of legal issues and scenarios. Each week we focus on a new topic and discuss What to do When, and if any of these legal scenarios ever happened to you or a loved one. With over 40 years of combined legal experience, our hosts offer their unique perspectives and insights on a range of real life legal situations.
Scott Cardani 0:28
Welcome to What To Do When… A Dummies Guide to the Legal verse.
Will Smith III 0:32
What’s on the docket for today, Scott?
Scott Cardani 0:34
We’re gonna talk about purchasing firearms and crimes that can come from that purchase. Okay, so Well, I’m going to buy a firearm at Cabela’s. What do I need to know?
Will Smith III 0:45
Well, in order to purchase that firearm, they’re going to ask you to fill out a questionnaire, giving you background information, giving everything that they need to see and know before they’re able to legally sell you that firearm.
Scott Cardani 0:58
And there’s both state and federal form. I just know, I know this so well, because I just did it this morning, literally. Okay.
Will Smith III 1:06
So, you know, I mean, when you’re filling out that firearm at the end, you know, you have to attest that everything on the form is true and accurate.
Scott Cardani 1:13
Absolutely. Okay. And so what happens Will if you don’t, if you didn’t provide accurate information?
Will Smith III 1:22
So if anything on there is inaccurate, and it comes back that it’s inaccurate, you’re going to be charged.
Scott Cardani 1:27
Will Smith III 1:28
You’re gonna be charged the class five felony.
Scott Cardani 1:30
And there’s two felonies, there’s the possession. And the purchase.
Will Smith III 1:35
Yes. And the purchase, that’s when you’re looking at the purchase, you’re gonna end up getting charged with providing false information on state form.
Scott Cardani 1:42
People don’t understand that possession of a firearm is I’m in that shop, and I’m holding that firearm and I’m not supposed to I’m in possession of that firearm, even if I’m looking at it to buy it. That’s right.
Will Smith III 1:51
That’s right. And so there are certain people you know, that are going to be disqualified from owning or possessing a firearm. There’s really three that think that that happen the most. Yeah. You know, that when you have somebody that’s been convicted of a domestic violent crime of domestic violence.
Scott Cardani 2:06
Watch our podcast on domestic violence, we just did one on assault, domestic assault, correct?
Will Smith III 2:10
Yeah. And someone who has been involuntarily committed for some mental health issue. And then the third is kind of the most obvious, I think, but not everybody realizes it, but it’s somebody that’s been convicted of a felony, and hasn’t had their rights restored.
Scott Cardani 2:22
It’s really, you know, this is super, super important, because most people and what we see most often I think, is when you were a juvenile, and you had some kind of crime that was a felony or a domestic crime or something like that, or you were committed when you were a juvenile for some reason. They get you know, your adult, and it’s been 20 years since that happened, and you’re filling out that form. A lot of times we didn’t remember what happened. We were 18 years. 17, 16 years old. I certainly don’t. So you think in good faith, you’re filling out this form, and then they go, Oh, well, you were actually convicted of a felony. Well, my attorney told me it was a misdemeanor. That’s what you remember, I didn’t go to jail, I didn’t go to jail.
Will Smith III 3:01
So that’s, you know, people kind of, I think that, you know, they need to do their due diligence before they go in there. Before they walk in before they pick up that firearm. Right, before they try to figure out what is going to be their best gun. Figure out whether or not there’s something in their past that’s going to prevent them from one purchasing it and making sure especially they don’t provide any false information on that form.
Scott Cardani 3:22
And just so you know, it’s really simple. You go to the state police and do a background check on yourself. You What is it five bucks or 20 bucks, maybe like 12? Okay. It’s not expensive. It’s gonna be like, cheaper than paying for a lawyer.
Will Smith III 3:32
Scott Cardani 3:33
I highly suggest if you have any questions, if you’ve ever had a run in with a law and had to go to court, I would say that would be the baseline. If you’ve ever been in a courtroom, where you are the person being charged, I would probably do a criminal background check prior to going to a gun, show a gun store, or anything else, because you could be in jeopardy. And I’ll tell you the other one. Well, let’s finish that one. If you get your background checked, and there’s no felonies on it, then you’re probably pretty okay. Yeah. I can also have this you have a domestic violence conviction. You’re not okay. Again. So look at that. But you can always contact a lawyer and a lot of lawyers will do it and look at your record, if you’re not sure what it says we can help you out with that too. And look at it, but it’s you want to have this right. Yeah. This morning. I really mean this this morning. I was buying a gun at Cabela’s. And I’m filling out that form and I’m reading it like three times because I know how many times my clients have been in there. And I’ve had clients go, I didn’t realize I’m but I didn’t realize that. So you’ve got to be sure you got to be it’s a real simple questionnaire. It doesn’t ask anything difficult. No. But I’ll tell you the one that comes up quite often is the mental health component. You know if you’ve ever been What’s it, what’s the word? involuntary commitment, I involuntary detention order. Yeah. So that’s a big one. And I’ll tell you the one I ran into a few years ago was you Say you, you were drinking and they put you in Tucker’s for the night because you were so out of control and you’re drinking and you think I just want because I was drunk. If they kept you, you are involuntarily committed. Yep. And that one will blow people away. And they really don’t matter. It’s such a minimal thing. And again, if you’ve ever been in a healthcare facility like that, you probably are, have some hinderance to buying a gun. So you really, really need to know that. So we have number one, felony.
Will Smith III 5:34
Crime, well crimes and domestic violence, when we discuss, and that’s, you know, to solve better against a family member or a household member. Yeah. So it could be your, your brother, your sister, could be your parent, it could be your spouse could be your boyfriend could be your girlfriend, right. The other is, yeah, the second one we’re discussing is the the involuntary any involuntary commitment. And that can be for a 24 hour period, a 72 hour period. But I mean, it’s one of those things that if any point, you were involuntarily committed to a hospital or any other mental health facility, then it’s going to probably prevent you from purchasing a firearm as well. The third one, and I think it’s the most obvious, but again, maybe not to some people, is our felony convictions. So if you’ve ever difference, obviously, between being charged with a felony, being convicted of a felony, being charged with a felony is one thing, and you could be charged with a ton of felonies narrative convicted, and you’re fine. But as soon as you get convicted of a felony, that’s going to prevent you until your rights are restored from purchasing a firearm. And so a lot of people that I’ve run into, you know, got convicted of a felony trespass or felony vandalism, you know, and had a deal worked out with the state where there was no jail time, as long as they paid, you know, restitution. So it’s one of those things that, you know, just because you didn’t go to jail, or you didn’t go to prison, doesn’t mean that you’re not going to, you know…
Scott Cardani 6:53
Have a felony conviction. Absolutely. It’s very easy. I mean, you think that’s so simple, but it’s amazing how many people don’t understand that. I didn’t go to jail. So I didn’t have a felony. That’s not, that’s not the determination. And remember this one of the biggest crimes, that kids especially get our larcenies when there was used to be $200. Yeah. And so when it was $200, and you committed as you stole, like you went into Walmart, and I don’t know stole a gun, just getting, you steal something was over $200, you have a felony on your record, if you are convicted of that, and you just remember, as you stoled, some, some stuff from you know, owner, I didn’t go to jail, and you think, Oh, I don’t have that misdemeanor. But that’s a big one, that people don’t really realize that they had a felony conviction or so many other things. And I want to say this, I think it’s really important. Under the Code of Virginia, it’s still a Code of Virginia. Nobody ever argues this anymore. But when you commit a crime as a juvenile, it’s a status offense, considered a status offense, that would be a misdemeanor, or would be a felony, if committed by an adult, that kind of language seems to be washed out in the statute and buying a gun. But I think there’s stuff there that needs to be explored. And we can help you explore that. I don’t think we need to be a sorting house for whether you can buy a gun or not, you can do most of that on your own. And quite frankly, I can’t look up your mental health past and figure that out. And so if you know, anyplace you’ve been you need to kind of try to do that research.
Will Smith III 8:22
But the place to start, I mean, especially when you’re worried if you’ve had any criminal convictions in the past, it’s just to go to state police, you know, the state police have offices all over the state, where you’re able to go pay that little bit of money, they do the background checks in it to you, I mean, better to be safe in that regard, than to find out later on, after you’ve, you know, falsely provided information on this application. So that’s important.
Scott Cardani 8:45
And you know, it’s kind of one of those things, it’s a straight up kind of thing, you lied to the court. So there’s not much wiggle room, we can help some, and there’s a lot of avenues we can explore. But so there are a lot of things on there about being a US citizen, and you know, all those kinds of things. You got to answer those correctly. If you’re not sure, don’t answer it and don’t buy the gun, right. But the rest of the questions are pretty simple. But again, if you’re gonna purchase firearms, you can’t have a domestic violence charge. You can’t be committed involuntary even as a juvenile, you can’t have a felony.
Will Smith III 10:32
Scott Cardani 9:24
Anything else we need to cover? I think that’s about it. I remember this and the next step, one of the next episodes, we’ll do restorations of rights. And that’s really important in this case, because a lot of times, I won’t give one of our strategies away. But there’s a way sometimes even when you’re convicted to fix the conviction, but you’ve got to have your rights restored. And it’s not that for instance, for an involuntary commitment. It’s usually in the general district court that you file a motion. And if it’s been 20 years, most judges aren’t going to hold that against you. And even if you had a crime when you’re younger man, and you want to start hunting again, judges are fairly lenient about that they’re not looking to Keep your hand up the whole your whole life. If you had a recent robbery here, you’re gonna get it restored. But you know there for the majority of people who are trying to legally buy a gun, getting your rights restored is not a hurdle. It’s too big, right? And it’s well worth it. And we can help you do that. But really, we can help you if you go to buy a gun, and something goes bad. Make sure you call it do not talk about it. Do not talk to the investigating officer. Do not try to defend yourself, call us and let us walk you through the process and help you.
Will Smith III 10:33
That’s right. Better remain silent and protect your rights than to say too much to the investigator to the police officer and find yourself locked up.
Scott Cardani 10:42
What To Do When…Legal Chat Podcast Outro
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