Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Wyoming sues ATF over Wyoming Law "Expunging" Domestic Violence Misdemeanors to Permit Subsequent Gun Ownership
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. "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 gun ownership by those convicted of domestic violence offenses unless those offenses are expunged. The ATF maintains that a 2004 Wyoming statute that provides for "expunging" records of certain misdemeanor assaults in order to allow those convicted to subsequently own guns does not meet the standards of the federal law because records of the conviction are still kept for limited purposes.
Read the article in the Billings Gazette (last visited May 23, 2006 bgf)