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California Sheriff Denied Gun Purchase over Background Check

California Sheriff Denied Gun Purchase over Background Check

When Siskiyou County, CA Sheriff John Lopey tried to buy an M1 Garand rifle through the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), he was denied and told he failed to pass the background check conducted via the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

Lopey is a sheriff: he carries a gun and enforces the law for a living. Prior to being a sheriff, he spent 33 years with the California Highway Patrol and is a retired Army Colonel. He had Top Secret clearance in the Army.

The FBI handles NICS background checks for firearms purchases. Ironically, Lopey recently went through and passed a background check to attend the FBI national academy. 

On November 27th, Lars Larson interviewed Lopey about this situation; Lopey said he did in fact receive a letter from CMP and the FBI telling him he had failed to pass the NICS background check and that the money he had paid for the rifle was being refunded. Astounded by the rejection, he called the FBI/NICS only to be told “it could be some identity theft issue.” 

Lopey then asked how it was possible that he had passed background checks for firearm purchases within the last year and no answer was given. 

Sheriff Lopey said he does not meet any criteria for a purchase rejection. He has a “stellar” law enforcement record, he’s never been arrested, never had PTSD, never used illicit drugs, and “never been counseled for mental health care reasons.”

In the end, Lopey’s only option is to appeal his failed background check and wait for better news. He has already filed his appeal, which included having his own records clerk in his own sheriff’s office put together a file on him with new fingerprint cards.

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins.

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