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Army Vet Refused Gun Permit For 42 Year-Old Drug Misdemeanor

July 18, 2013 by  

A Texas man who served for 20 years in the U.S. Army after being convicted for a minor drug charge in 1971 was turned away from a local Walmart after attempting to purchase a .22-caliber rifle and failing a Federal background check for his 42 year-old offense.

According to a report from CBS Houston, Ron Kelly incurred the drug charge while still in high school and was sentenced to a year of probation. He enlisted in the Army two years later, and went on to obtain a top-secret security clearance.

“It is amazing that they won’t let me buy a gun for a misdemeanor 42 years ago,” he told The Houston Chronicle. “I am ashamed of the way my government has treated me. The government may have the greatest of intentions with the [law], but they messed it up.”

A Texas Rifle Association representative said it was “crazy” that such a minor blemish in the life of an American veteran – one who went on to fire cannon and machine guns as a soldier – could place him in the same company with felons and traitors as one who doesn’t meet the government’s standard for owning a firearm.

More troubling is the mystery surrounding how the FBI, which conducts Federal background checks, knew of the decades-old conviction. When the Chronicle checked with the North Carolina courthouse, police department and District Attorney to obtain a record of Kelly’s bygone run-in with the law, the paper was told records that old weren’t stored in a computer database, and very likely couldn’t be located.

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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