BEWARE: Making a Simple Mistake on a Firearm Background Check Form Can Land You in Prison

BEWARE: those kind faces and “reasonable” overtures to better-consider mental health issues when discussing the Second Amendment are the beginning of the end of the Second Amendment.

It is undeniable that even the most-ardent Second Amendment supporter does not wish to see a firearm in the hand of a mentally-deranged person.

However, it is clear to many patriots that the future of gun control efforts do not rest within a dedicated effort to enact Brady-style federal legislation; the real battleground over the Second Amendment will be fought on the issue of mental health and, sadly, the anti-gunners are winning at this point.

When posed with a question like, “Do you want the mentally deranged to have access to firearms?” the answer for liberal and conservative alike is a resounding, “No!”

However, if we tweak the aforementioned question with the real topic of discussion, the issue becomes more clear: “Do you trust the government to decide who is and who is not mentally capable of owning a firearm?”

That changes things, doesn’t it?

While many have embraced the background check system as an acceptable infringement upon our liberty, the fact is that this invasive procedure is not only unconstitutional, but it also hinges upon what the government believes to be true, not what you know to be true.

The argument over the Second Amendment is boiled-down into soundbite and half-truths. What reasonable person wants the mentally ill to be armed? What reasonable person objects to background checks?

The truth is, however, these issues are not so cut and dry. Many who are not mentally ill are being denied their Second Amendment rights.

The mainstream media absolutely refuses to report on the recent cases of American citizens being stripped of their Second Amendment rights. The Obama Administration has begun to revoke Second Amendment protections from veterans who have served this country under the pretense that they pose a danger to society.

“Hey kids, join the Army, go off and fight for your country and when you get back, as a result of your service, you will be forced to relinquish the very rights you fought to protect. Welcome back!”

Sadly, this same measure is already being considered by the despotic regime for the millions of Social Security recipients if they have their finances handled by a third-party. This, the government alleges, signals that they cannot be trusted to retain their Second Amendment rights.

Further, those who have ever sought mental health or smoked a joint are in danger of losing their rights. Marc A. Scaringi, a Pennsylvania attorney, reports that he has handled cases of regular, common citizens who now face criminal charges for submitting to a firearm background check without knowing that they are somehow ineligible for gun ownership.

Applicants are asked if they were ever adjudicated “mentally defective” or committed to a mental institution.

These past mental health issues could have occurred decades ago when an individual who is perfectly fine today sought mental health assistance. But unless the applicant fully understands the details of his mental health history, he could open himself to criminal charges with a single wrong answer.

Another question asks about unlawful drug use – including marijuana. Answer incorrectly, and you could face potential criminal charges.

There are supposed to be further instructions in an appendix to the ATF form, but who is to say that this information is provided to every applicant in a gun shop? Who is to say every applicant understands the complex legal subtleties involved?

I regularly represent people who are charged with felonies that carry the threat of long prison sentences and substantial fines because they answered the complex questions on the ATF form incorrectly.

Let’s be clear: I’m not talking about dangerous people who have no business owning a gun. In one case, a woman’s application was denied because more than a decade ago her estranged husband had her committed to a hospital for a few hours. She even had the commitment expunged from her record.

In this case, we used the Pennsylvania law allowing people with past mental health commitments petition a judge to restore their firearms rights as long as they can prove they are no longer a threat to themselves or others.

We have reached the point where anyone with a criminal, mental health or drug-use history must seek legal advice before attempting to purchase a firearm.

It saddens me to say this, but the alternative is even sadder: Unwitting gun purchasers suddenly facing felonies – all for making an understandable mistake on the federal government’s overly complicated and legally nuanced questionnaire.

Only with a professional legal analysis of any prior criminal, mental health or drug-use record can a person complete the federal form with confidence. Doing otherwise risks:

  • A felony 3 for false statements regarding the sale or transfer of firearms, carrying a maximum of seven years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

  • At the very least, one could face a state prison sentence of nine to 16 months to 12-18 months, based on current sentencing guidelines.

Our system is broken and it’s not because of too many people getting their hands on firearms; it’s because we, as a society, have allowed this conversation to even take place.

The Second Amendment is remarkably clear. We are not obliged to entertain a discussion over what are “reasonable” trespasses against our God-given rights. Our right to individual firearm ownership is a right that shall not be infringed.


End of sentence.


Bloomberg, Obama and others who cannot conceive of a world where rights are derived from God and not government are free to disagree and grumble all they wish. Until such a time that the Second Amendment is constitutionally repealed, such rules and regulations that undermine it are illegitimate.

About the Author

Greg Campbell
Greg Campbell
An unapologetic patriot and conservative, Greg emerged within the blossoming Tea Party Movement as a political analyst dedicated to educating and advocating for the preservation of our constitutional principles and a free-market solution to problems birthed by economic liberalism. From authoring scathing commentaries to conducting interviews with some of the biggest names in politics today including party leaders, activists and conservative media personalities, Greg has worked to counter the left’s media narratives with truthful discussions of the biggest issues affecting Americans today. Greg’s primary area of focus is Second Amendment issues and the advancement of honest discussion concerning the constitutional right that protects all others. He lives in the Northwest with his wife, Heather, and enjoys writing, marksmanship and the outdoors.

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