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Legalease
Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 14571
Experience:  13 years experience in criminal law, BA in criminal justice
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I went to a gun shop and filled out the federal form for a

Customer Question

I went to a gun shop and filled out the federal form for a firearm transfer. This was 2 days ago, and I am waiting to hear back for results of the background check. I am concerned I may not have answered one of the questions correctly, though I believed I was. It is the question regarding involuntary commitment. 20 years ago, I was anorexic and committed involuntarily in order to ostensibly save my life due to low weight. It was to an eating disorder treatment program for one month. I told the gun dealer about this, since I did not know how to answer the question, and he showed me where there is an exception to this, saying that if the court ordered treatment was completed and the person released, the answer to the question on the form should be"no". So he said I should answer "no" , which I did. But I am not sure if this was right, and I am afraid I may be accused of lying on the form. I certainly do not wish to get in any trouble for this honest mistake , if it is actually is wrong.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Legalease replied 1 year ago.

Hello there.

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Because the FBI is so thorough on the background check, they may come up with the fact that you were institutionalized but there is probably no reason "WHY" that happened in any of the records that they have access to -- so they may deny your application just for that simple fact. I have seen this happen on a few occasions -- sometimes it is difficult to know what to answer on that question because the reason for the treatment was not anything to do with violence or that you could not control yourself mentally (that is really what the FBI is looking for). If you are denied the permit then my suggestion is to inquire for the reason and if this is the reason you should appeal the denial so that you can put the accurate records in the hands of the decision makers - and that way they can actually make an informed decision rather than basing a denial just on the fact that you were in a hospital for a month 20 years ago. I have seen many denials be approved after the appeals process once you are able to convince the appeals officer that you are not a danger to yourself or anyone else. Here is a link to the FBI exact website page which has instructions and contact information to start your appeals process. http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/appeals/nics_appeals_brochure_eng While there are penalties for lying on a federal form, once you offer up the explanation and confirmatory documentation if requested and explain the mistake and the gun shop owners suggestions, your answer on the form will not amount to intending to lie and deceive in order to get a gun that you are not entitled to (that is what they are looking for -- criminal intent), so other than a denial I do not see any further issues coming from your answers on the form -- and as I said, I do think you should appeal any denial (even if they still refuse you the permit, the actual reason for the hospitalization will then be in their records from that point forward).

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Please let me know if you have further questions.

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MARY

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Expert:  Legalease replied 1 year ago.

Hello again Lynn

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Do you have any further questions for me? If not, can you please press the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face underneath this ANSWER box so that I will be paid for my time in assisting you? I am truly paid NOTHING unless you press an OK or Positive rating below and this is not a hobby for me -- it is how I earn a living in a tough economy. If you think of any other follow up questions in the next week or so and you come in and post the follow up questions to this session I will be happy to answer any such additional follow up questions that you may think of later even after you press the OK or positive rating underneath this ANSWER box !! THANK YOU VERY MUCH !!!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I need a bit more information, though your answer so far is extremely helpful and eases my mind, but there is one other issue. I do receive Social Security Disabilty, due to a diagnosis years ago of depression, and my father, a doctor (now deceased) was the one who instigated my receiving this back when I was 18 years old. He then was my representative payee. Later,when he became ill, he transferred this over to my sister, who now gets the check and simply hands it over to me. I manage my own affairs completely, and she is not a guardian, and right now the social security is not my main income source either. However, we have not attempted to change it to come to me directly, because of the fear I would lose my benefits if they think I am no longer disabled enough to get it. What I am wondering, is if this would count as being "adjudicated mentally defective" , as the form asked about. I did not even consider it when I answered the question, because, as far as I know, I was never judged as a "mental defective." I do not want to be accused of lying about this either, but I certainly do not remember ever being judged this, even though I do not receive the social security myself. I really do not even want the gun that much and wish I had never applied for it, since now I am scared of being accused of perjury, which I never meant to do in the least. Should I also say something in my appeal about , that to my knowledge, I was never judged to be "mentally defective"? Is there any chance I could be arrested for perjury,though I meant to do no wrong?
Expert:  Legalease replied 1 year ago.

Hello again Lynn -

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If the application is denied, the first thing you have to determine is WHY they rejected your application (when they issue a rejection, they do not have to tell you why -- you must make an inquiry and then if you do not agree with it, you can start the appeals process). It may or may not have to do with the fact that you are disabled and receiving social security disability -- but if that IS the reason, the FBI will use whatever social security has in their records for the disability. Now that you have given me this additional information, I think that it will probably be a 50/50 chance that they will approve the initial application and if you truly want the permit you will have to appeal and bring in some proof that you are not "mentally defective" (that is a horrible term, by the way - I have a sister who is mentally handicapped and receives SS, so I am also very sensitive to labels as I am sure you are also) -- you will have to prove that you are now to a point where you will be safe around yourself and others with the firearm. I am certain that you can probably have a local counselor evaluate you and issue a report that confirms this but then you may be risking your social security payments if the social security administration then decides to review your case again (social security has the right to review your case any time they want to review it and as many times as they want to review it and they also have the absolute right to have you see one or more of their own doctors and/or psychologists). In this situation, I would be more concerned that social security may decide to do that if you appeal a denial on the firearms permit -- rather than being afraid of any perjury charges that the FBI might bring. Prosecutions for perjury are extremely rare in the US -- and the main reason for that is because the prosecution and the authorities have a difficult time proving to a jury that you deliberately lied rather than became confused and made a simple mistake (and given your history, any court would believe that it was confusion and a mistake rather than deliberate). While I cannot 100% guarantee you that such a charge will not happen, I can tell you that the odds of it happening are almost ZERO (perjury prosecutions are so rare that most lawyers will never even see one in the course of an entire career). So please relax on that point. I do not see it happening. As I said earlier, when you receive the results of the permit application and determine what the reason for the rejection is, I can answer any follow up questions that you have at that time so long as they are within reasonable bounds of the original question for the same price as you have already paid (obviously if you want or need me to get into a bunch of legal research or something like that which increases the amount of time spent significantly, then this website may ask you to open a new question, but generally speaking I am free to continue to assist you after you press a positive rating underneath the ANSWER box (below) for the same amount as you have already paid).

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Please let me know if you have further questions. If not at this time, I would appreciate it if you would press the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face below so I will be paid for this question (I do not receive a paycheck and truly am not paid anything unless you press an OK or positive rating below). THANK YOU VERY MUCH !!!

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MARY

Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 14571
Experience: 13 years experience in criminal law, BA in criminal justice
Legalease and 11 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I would like to get further input on whether I need to be more concerned about this than your previous answer indicated. You said that the chance of an accusation of perjury for my answer to that question on the federal firearm form was almost none. And I did consider my answer to be the truth or I would never have applied to purchase the gun, of course. What will actually happen if I get a denial of the gun transfer? Please respond if possible. I will certainly appreciate it.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Can I please have a little more information? Of course, I would not have even applied for purchasing the gun if I had not considered my answer to be truthful for the already mentioned question on the federal form. You said the chance of being accused of perjury was almost none.
What will actually happen if I am denied the gun transfer after the background check? Will I contacted by local police? I did not think this would be the case. I would like a response about what I should expect if denied and exactly what I should do.
Expert:  Legalease replied 1 year ago.

Hello again Lynn -

- If I were in your shoes, I probably would have found his tone and attitude hostile and I would have told him so. The bottom line on this entire thing is that neither myself nor the other attorney can predict what will happen in this matter with 100% certainty and, if this other attorney or his firm or affiliates could be hired by you to assist as your attorney, then he may have been trying to frighten you so badly that you would call his firm or his affiliates to represent you as your attorney in this matter. If there was no way to contact him or hire him or his firm or his affiliates through the webservice that you used to ask your question, then he may simply be a pessimistic person who believes that everything and everything will end up in court and that every single person who goes to court must have a lawyer in case the worst happens. I honestly do not know why he wanted to frighten you like that and I do not think it was very professional of him to do so. However, as I said earlier, prosecutions and any further actions for perjury are very, very rare and most lawyers will never even see such a case / prosecution during their practice years because the prosecutor and police (if police are involved) must PROVE that you intended to lie and you deliberately lied and that is very difficult to do. If you had such an intent then you never would have brought the matter up with the gun dealer in the first place -- you simply would have answered the question "NO" and waited to see if anything came up in the FBI background check about your alleged emotional/mental issues.

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At this point you need to stop thinking about it and asking about it and just wait to see what response you get on June 25th. I am very interested to know whether or not they will approve the permit. If they DO approve the permit without further investigation, then my suggestion is that you do NOT accept the permit / firearm and you should contact the FBI office in charge of the background check and discuss with someone there ALL of your issues -- or you could hire an attorney at that point to have these dicussions with the FBI if you are afraid that you may make a mistake and/or say something wrong when you are trying to sort this all out after your acceptance or denial of the firearm permit.

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Please come back and let me know what the letter states on the 25th of June and I can assist you at that point regarding what steps (if any ) to take to straighten everything out.

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MARY

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