Kendal Law Group is happy to report a very successful outcome for a client in a challenging action for restoring his firearms rights.

While no one wants the mentally ill that are determined to be a threat to themselves or others to have easy access to firearms, the current method of classifying people is casting far too wide a net.  My client was denied his right to purchase and own firearms under Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(g)(4): as “A person who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been committed to a mental institution.”

The problem is the FBI’s NICS Section takes a very expansive view of “adjudicated as a mental defective”. The section currently has a practice of including anyone who has ever had an adult guardianship or conservatorship entered on their behalf, for any reason, on the grounds that it shows that the person “lacks mental capacity to manage his own affairs”.

My client, a male now in his middle 60’s with no criminal record, had a guardianship in place to make decisions for him when he went in for some serious surgery some years ago.  Given the pain he was under at the time, he was unable to manage his own affairs. Even as the court entered it as a limited guardianship, and the guardianship was terminated in a year when he was fully back to health and capabilities, he found out to his dismay that he was unable to purchase a firearm when he was denied under the NICS system.

Never having been adjudicated to have been a threat to himself or others, and never involuntarily committed to a psychiatric institution, my client now found himself lumped into that category and without any means of being removed from the NICS denial list and he had lost his firearms rights..

There currently is no federal program to administratively be removed in the case of a mental health based denial from NICS. Michigan also does not have a federally recognized program to allow for such a removal. In short, there is no way to get off the “no buy list” once you’ve been placed on it for a 922(g)(4) classification. Even if you were properly classified that way years ago and are now not a threat to yourself or others, once disqualified under 922(g)(4) you cannot get it removed.

The only recourse is to sue on behalf of the client, and indeed I did sue the United States and its relevant agencies for violations of his Second Amendment and Fifth Amendment rights.

We have now reached a successful resolution of the case, and quite quickly, in no small part due to the very professional Assistant United States District Attorney assigned to the case, who read my complaint and in our discussions understood we had a very viable claim and cause of action.

The client now has been removed from the NICS denial list and his firearms rights are now fully restored.