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Wyoming targets ATF in suit over gun rights
Rocky Mountain News ^ | May 11, 2006 | Dan Lewerenz

Posted on 05/11/2006 8:13:42 PM PDT by neverdem

Associated Press

CHEYENNE - Wyoming Attorney General Pat Crank has sued the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, saying the agency is relying on a "hyper-technicality" to refuse some Wyoming residents - people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence - the right to bear arms.

"We really are arguing about what is an 'expungement' - that is the critical question here," Crank said Wednesday.

"Essentially, what the dispute involves is the meaning of the word 'expungement' and how it is applied to firearms disability under federal law," said Eric Epstein, division counsel for the ATF field office in Phoenix.

Federal law prohibits anyone convicted of "a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" from possessing a firearm. In 1986, Congress amended that law to allow states to set rules for restoring gun rights to people who've been pardoned or whose convictions have been "expunged, or set aside."

In 2004, Wyoming's legislature passed a law meant to govern how such convictions could be expunged: Individuals would have to wait one year after completing their sentence; they would not qualify if their misdemeanor conviction involved the use or attempted use of a firearm; and they could not have any other convictions that prohibit them from owning guns.

Furthermore, Wyoming's law stated that a record of the "expunged" conviction would be kept by the state Division of Criminal Investigation and could be used to enhance penalties for future convictions.

Correspondence between ATF and Crank's office show ATF doesn't feel the Wyoming statute "expunges" the records.

In August 2004, shortly after Wyoming's law was passed, ATF Special Agent Lester Martz wrote to Crank, saying the federal law applied only to convictions that were completely eliminated. Citing a 1991 opinion from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Martz wrote: "The word 'expunge' generally means the physical destruction of information."


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Arizona; US: District of Columbia; US: Wyoming
KEYWORDS: atf; banglist; batfe; expungement; freewestproject; fsp; fsw; wy

1 posted on 05/11/2006 8:13:44 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: Joe Brower
BANG!
2 posted on 05/11/2006 8:15:28 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem

Nice to see somebody stand up to the jackbooted government thugs.


3 posted on 05/11/2006 8:23:43 PM PDT by ozzymandus
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To: ozzymandus

Someone needs to. This is a huge gray area of the law, at least in interpretation. Prosecutors like it because it saves them from having to go to trial over relatively minor cases, and it offers the offender a second chance. They have to keep some record of the offence so people do not abuse the system by claiming a first offence when in reality they have been convicted numerous times. Law enforcement and background check companies abuse the system by claiming that if the record exists, then the person's record is not expunged. Supposedly, only law enforcement has access to the record, but in reality background check companies and others get to it through police corruption. Instead of subscribing to public criminal databases, the companies pay a cop under the table to run background checks for them in confidential databases, thus harming folks who, in good faith, made a deal with the prosecutors in return for a clean record. The end result is that defense attorneys will no longer accept expungments because they are a dead letter.


4 posted on 05/11/2006 8:44:08 PM PDT by flying Elvis
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To: ozzymandus; nicmarlo
Nice to see somebody stand up to the jackbooted government thugs.

Anti-thug ping!

5 posted on 05/11/2006 8:48:20 PM PDT by Borax Queen
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To: Borax Queen; ozzymandus

Bump!


6 posted on 05/11/2006 8:53:06 PM PDT by nicmarlo (Bush is the Best President Ever. Rah. Rah.)
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To: SLB

FYI


7 posted on 05/11/2006 8:55:21 PM PDT by Stonewall Jackson ("I see storms on the horizon")
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To: neverdem

AMENDMENT X to the Constitution of the United States:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

I don't recall the ATF being established by a Constitutional Amendment. Someone please direct me to the appropriate amendment, please.


8 posted on 05/11/2006 8:56:32 PM PDT by FreeKeys (Without the 9th and 10th, many states would have refused to ratify the Constitution in the 1st place)
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To: FreeKeys

Wake up, AMENDMENT X!!!

Wake up!!!


9 posted on 05/11/2006 9:17:50 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem

Sounds like a great state. One of the last few left.


10 posted on 05/11/2006 9:21:57 PM PDT by Sir Gawain
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To: Sir Gawain; archy
Sounds like a great state. One of the last few left.

Porcuping! Maybe the location for the final redoubt!

11 posted on 05/11/2006 9:51:36 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: All

Well, a kindly thank you is in order for the good folks in Wyoming.


12 posted on 05/11/2006 11:47:56 PM PDT by AZ_Cowboy ("I said raise the bar, not raze the bar.")
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To: neverdem
The Feds are correct in this case. The Wyoming law is not expungement if the evidence of that conviction can be later used despite the expungement.

Its the Wyoming legislators who screwed this one (probably to please some screeching anti-gun feminazi harpies) and now they are pointing the finger at the feds.

Think about it. It ain't expungement if anyone keeps a record of it for possible future use against you.

This Wyoming law is an outrage, NOT the Feds position on it...

13 posted on 05/12/2006 12:01:26 AM PDT by Al Simmons (Four-time Bush Voter 1994-2004!!!!!!!!!!!!)
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To: flying Elvis
You are wrong. That is not the issue here. The Wyoming legislature tried to "have its cake and eat it too" and now they don't like the result.

Instead of whining they need to amend the law to delete the provision allowing for the expunged record to be used against you in sentencing for a future offense.

THAT is the key. THAT is why its not expungement under any definition that I am aware of.

14 posted on 05/12/2006 12:12:54 AM PDT by Al Simmons (Four-time Bush Voter 1994-2004!!!!!!!!!!!!)
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To: Sir Gawain
Wyoming is the home state of Dick Cheney. Other than some limousine liberals in Jackson Hole and the usual academic leftist scum in Laramie, it is perhaps the least infected of all the states. Even the Democrats are more conservative than Northeastern Republicans.
15 posted on 05/12/2006 5:44:27 AM PDT by Wallace T.
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To: neverdem; All

One last thought; "Expunge" is kind of like "Pardon" in the sense that it means that all record of the conviction is erased.

If you reserve the right to later use the evidence of the conviction that was "pardoned" in the sentencing phase of a later prosecution, its not a "Pardon".

The exact same analogy applies to "Expungement". The Wyoming law does not provide to expunging the records in these cases, hence the Feds won't honor it.

The question y'all ought to be asking is 'WTH did the Wyoming legislature buckle under to PC and try to parse words here instead of doing what is right'?

You know the answer - the better not to offend anti-gun feminazis. That's why.

The Wyoming Attorney General would be far better served to publicly address himself to the legislature instead of filing a 'can't-win' suit against the ATF as a publicity stunt.


16 posted on 05/12/2006 8:50:50 AM PDT by Al Simmons (Four-time Bush Voter 1994-2004!!!!!!!!!!!!)
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To: neverdem
"Furthermore, Wyoming's law stated that a record of the 'expunged' conviction would be kept by the state Division of Criminal Investigation and could be used to enhance penalties for future convictions."

THIS is why the Wyoming law, at present, does not really provide for expunging these offenses - and why the ATF is correct in their legal position.

I've never even been to Wyoming but I am almost PO'd enough to email their Atty Gen.

Few things frustrate me more than seeing good people spin their wheels going down the wrong alley....

17 posted on 05/12/2006 8:55:08 AM PDT by Al Simmons (Four-time Bush Voter 1994-2004!!!!!!!!!!!!)
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To: neverdem
Tom Morton's earlier Casper Star-Tribune piece is FReepposted *here*. The AP version is a bit more detailed, and not surprisingly, a good deal better written.
18 posted on 05/12/2006 1:26:58 PM PDT by archy (I am General Tso. This is my Chief of Staff, Colonel Sanders....)
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To: neverdem

There is another area of the Federal and many State laws I would like to see challenged – “Have you ever been committed to a mental hospital?”
This does not apply just to psychopaths, but also to the citizen who suspects they have been under too much stress, the person who realizes they drink too much etc.
What does this have to do with the safety of the general population? The person who ignores the early warning signs and avoids treatment retains 2nd Amendment rights. The citizen who recognizes the problem and takes steps to head off trouble forfeits 2nd Amendment rights.


19 posted on 05/12/2006 1:35:36 PM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
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To: FreeKeys
I don't recall the ATF being established by a Constitutional Amendment. Someone please direct me to the appropriate amendment, please.

What Federal Law Enforcement Agencies are authorized – other than the Coast Guard?
20 posted on 05/12/2006 1:36:54 PM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
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To: neverdem
Wake up, AMENDMENT X!!!

Wake up!!!

You familiar with Wyoming's Bighorn County Sheriff Dave Mattis? If not, you might find the results of a websearch to be interesting.

21 posted on 05/12/2006 1:37:10 PM PDT by archy (I am General Tso. This is my Chief of Staff, Colonel Sanders....)
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To: R. Scott
What Federal Law Enforcement Agencies are authorized – other than the Coast Guard?

The Treasury's anti-counterfeiting police "The T=Men", IIRC.

22 posted on 05/12/2006 3:52:21 PM PDT by FreeKeys (Without the 9th and 10th, many states would have refused to ratify the Constitution in the 1st place)
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To: archy; All
You familiar with Wyoming's Bighorn County Sheriff Dave Mattis? If not, you might find the results of a websearch to be interesting.

Indeed. Thanks for the heads-up.

Sheriff boots Feds from his county By Phil Hamby Sheriff Dave Mattis of Big Horn County, Wyoming said this week that as a result of Case # 96-CV099-J, U.S. District Court, District of Wyoming, he now has a written policy that forbids federal officials from entering his county and exercising authority over county residents unless he is notified first of their intentions.

After explaining their mission, Mattis said he grants them permission to proceed if he is convinced they are operating within the legal parameters and authority limitations set forth in the U.S. Constitution.

The sheriff grants permission on a case-by-case basis only. When asked what, if any, repercussions he had gotten from the Feds, he quickly and confidently replied, None whatsoever.

He explained by saying, They know they do not have jurisdiction in my count unless I grant it to them.

Mattis clarified his position by saying the federal court had ruled the state of Wyoming is a sovereign state and the state constitution plainly states that a county sheriff is the top law enforcement official in the county.

Additionally, Sheriff Mattis contends that the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, clearly defines the geographic territories where the federal government has jurisdiction. Amendment X, he said, states that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Therefore, Mattis thoroughly believes the Feds have very limited powers in any state unless the local high-sheriff allows them to exercise power beyond that which the Constitution provides. Put another way, Mattis said, if the sheriff doesn’t want the Feds in his county, he has the constitutional power and right to keep them out or ask them to leave.

Accompanied with other legal interpretations Mattis stands on the definition of the wordsovereign, which is defined by Webster’s as paramount, supreme. Having supreme rank or power. Independent: a sovereign State. Mattis said he grew weary of the Feds coming into his county and running rough-shod over county residents: i.e., illegally searching, seizing property, confiscating bank accounts, restricting the free use of private lands and other abuses, without a valid warrant and without first following due process of law as guaranteed by the Constitution to every citizen.

As long as Mattis remains sheriff he says he will continue to see to it that the citizens of his county get their day in court.

Mattis went on to say that, to his knowledge, even the IRS has not attempted to seize any citizen s real property, bank account or any other private-owned possessions since he ran the Feds out of his county.

Sheriff Mattis emphasized that he is not a radical man. He said he is only dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of the citizens of his county. He added that ordinary citizens are not the only ones bound by and expected to obey laws. Elected officials and government employees at all levels of government are also bound by and should be expected to obey certain laws.

As long as Sheriff Mattis is the high-sheriff of Big Horn County, he seems determined to make sure private citizens and government officials alike act within the law and their designated powers.

Sheriff Mattis came across as a soft-spoken, polite man whose only interest is protecting the citizens he was elected to serve. That being the case, he might be the sheriff for as long as he wants to be.

Sheriff Mattis is hopeful that other sheriffs will assume the same stance.

Copyright 1997 The Knoxville Journal

-- copied from http://www.eoffshore.com/uia/sheriffBootsFeds.htm


23 posted on 05/12/2006 5:33:44 PM PDT by FreeKeys (Without the 9th and 10th, many states would have refused to ratify the Constitution in the 1st place)
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To: archy; All
You familiar with Wyoming's Bighorn County Sheriff Dave Mattis? If not, you might find the results of a websearch to be interesting.

Indeed. Thanks for the heads-up.

Sheriff boots Feds from his county By Phil Hamby Sheriff Dave Mattis of Big Horn County, Wyoming said this week that as a result of Case # 96-CV099-J, U.S. District Court, District of Wyoming, he now has a written policy that forbids federal officials from entering his county and exercising authority over county residents unless he is notified first of their intentions.

After explaining their mission, Mattis said he grants them permission to proceed if he is convinced they are operating within the legal parameters and authority limitations set forth in the U.S. Constitution.

The sheriff grants permission on a case-by-case basis only. When asked what, if any, repercussions he had gotten from the Feds, he quickly and confidently replied, None whatsoever.

He explained by saying, They know they do not have jurisdiction in my count unless I grant it to them.

Mattis clarified his position by saying the federal court had ruled the state of Wyoming is a sovereign state and the state constitution plainly states that a county sheriff is the top law enforcement official in the county.

Additionally, Sheriff Mattis contends that the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, clearly defines the geographic territories where the federal government has jurisdiction. Amendment X, he said, states that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Therefore, Mattis thoroughly believes the Feds have very limited powers in any state unless the local high-sheriff allows them to exercise power beyond that which the Constitution provides. Put another way, Mattis said, if the sheriff doesn’t want the Feds in his county, he has the constitutional power and right to keep them out or ask them to leave.

Accompanied with other legal interpretations Mattis stands on the definition of the wordsovereign, which is defined by Webster’s as paramount, supreme. Having supreme rank or power. Independent: a sovereign State. Mattis said he grew weary of the Feds coming into his county and running rough-shod over county residents: i.e., illegally searching, seizing property, confiscating bank accounts, restricting the free use of private lands and other abuses, without a valid warrant and without first following due process of law as guaranteed by the Constitution to every citizen.

As long as Mattis remains sheriff he says he will continue to see to it that the citizens of his county get their day in court.

Mattis went on to say that, to his knowledge, even the IRS has not attempted to seize any citizen s real property, bank account or any other private-owned possessions since he ran the Feds out of his county.

Sheriff Mattis emphasized that he is not a radical man. He said he is only dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of the citizens of his county. He added that ordinary citizens are not the only ones bound by and expected to obey laws. Elected officials and government employees at all levels of government are also bound by and should be expected to obey certain laws.

As long as Sheriff Mattis is the high-sheriff of Big Horn County, he seems determined to make sure private citizens and government officials alike act within the law and their designated powers.

Sheriff Mattis came across as a soft-spoken, polite man whose only interest is protecting the citizens he was elected to serve. That being the case, he might be the sheriff for as long as he wants to be.

Sheriff Mattis is hopeful that other sheriffs will assume the same stance.

Copyright 1997 The Knoxville Journal

-- copied from http://www.eoffshore.com/uia/sheriffBootsFeds.htm


24 posted on 05/12/2006 5:33:45 PM PDT by FreeKeys (Without the 9th and 10th, many states would have refused to ratify the Constitution in the 1st place)
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To: FreeKeys; All

dunno how it got posted twice; sorry


25 posted on 05/12/2006 5:34:25 PM PDT by FreeKeys (Without the 9th and 10th, many states would have refused to ratify the Constitution in the 1st place)
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To: FreeKeys
dunno how it got posted twice; sorry

Maybe, if it appeared not to have been posted on the first attempt, i.e. you did everything to post it correctly, but it apparently failed to post correctly. Then you posted it a second time, under the impression that the first attempt was a mysterious electronic goof-up that apparently failed to post, but it actually did generate the posted comment.

I hope I didn't lose you. But I'm pretty sure it has happened to me. So now when it appears that my post was in vain, and I'm tempted to repeat everything to post again, I open a new window on the forum and check my latest comments. More often than not, I find that it posted correctly. Somehow, an electronic goof-up occured, looking I, the hardware or the software goofed, but I actually made the intended comment.

26 posted on 05/12/2006 6:41:21 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: FreeKeys

Yep – forgot about them. Originally the CG was a tax collecting agency.


27 posted on 05/13/2006 2:49:07 AM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
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To: Everybody; neverdem
An unconstitutional Federal 'law' prohibits anyone convicted of "a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" from possessing a firearm.

In 1986, Congress amended that bogus 'law' to allow states to set rules for restoring gun rights to people who've been pardoned or whose convictions have been "expunged, or set aside."

In 2004, Wyoming's legislature compounded, and agreed with the federal infringement by passing a 'law' meant to govern how such convictions could be expunged:
"-- Individuals would have to wait one year after completing their sentence; they would not qualify if their misdemeanor conviction involved the use or attempted use of a firearm; and they could not have any other convictions that prohibit them from owning guns. --"

The US Constitution is clear in that no level of government can infringe on our right to bear arms. -- A fiat prohibition on a persons RKBA's for "a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" is clearly an unreasonable regulation regardless if written by fed, state or local 'lawmakers'..

That sheriff in Big Hole County should refuse to enforce it.

28 posted on 05/15/2006 12:01:35 PM PDT by tpaine
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