No Background Checks for concealed weapon permit holders
BATF backs down on requirement threat
October 23, 2005
Earlier this month, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) withdrew a threat to require holders of Wyoming concealed weapons permits to undergo a background check to purchase firearms, according to the Wyoming Attorney Generalís Office.
Presently, individuals who have been issued a Wyoming concealed weapons permit are not subject to a background check prior to purchasing a firearm. The threat, which was made in a July 5, 2005, letter from John Spurgeon, BATF firearms program division chief, was withdrawn pending further legal research by BATF's legal staff.
"1 am pleased that the BATF has withdrawn the threat to conduct background checks on Wyoming's concealed weapon permit holders," Attorney General Pat Crank said. "The procedure and necessary steps to obtain a Wyoming concealed permit are far more extensive than those employed in a Brady check or NICS check. BATF's threat would have burdened many of our most law-abiding citizens' right to own a firearm."
In 2004, the Wyoming Legislature passed a statute which allows persons convicted of misdemeanors to petition a court for expungement of records on the conviction, allowing the person to restore any firearms rights they may have lost as a result of the conviction. In a letter dated Aug. 6, 2004, the BATF claimed that it would continue to investigate and prosecute Wyoming citizens who possess firearms, even if the person had followed the procedure outlined by the statute to have their misdemeanor domestic violence convictions expunged.
In a subsequent letter dated July 5, 2005, the BATF threatened to require all Wyoming concealed weapon permit holders to undergo an unnecessary background check before purchasing a firearm. The BATF had threatened to begin the background checks as of Sept. 30, 2005.
The Wyoming Attorney General's Office wrote a letter pointing out the flawed legal analysis underlying the BATF threat. The letter explained that the threat was based on speculation and a political disagreement with a law duly passed by the Wyoming Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Dave Freudenthal.
"BATF may not agree with the Wyoming legislation, but Wyoming law and federal law give the Legislature the power to set guidelines for expungement of criminal convictions. The BATF should quit trying to mandate federal firearms policy and political considerations on the citizens of Wyoming and their duly elected legislature," said Wyoming State Senator Cale Case (R-Lander). Case was the primary sponsor of the 2004 misdemeanor conviction records expungement statute.
"This is all about the fact that federal firearms officials do not like Wyoming's procedure for restoring firearms rights in one-time misdemeanor convictions-something that Congress provided for in the original Brady Gun Control Act, but has never funded-leaving it to the states to act. I applaud General Crank and the Governor for their defense of Wyoming's law and freedom and the Second Amendment," Case said.