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Taft Midway Driller - Taft, CA
  • Sheriff Lopey perplexed by firearm purchase denial

  • On Tuesday, NICS informed him that someone with the same or similiar name had committed a crime, and that is why his name was flagged.
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  • Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey said he was “flabbergasted” two weeks ago when he was notified that he failed to pass a background check to purchase a rifle. The check was conducted by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System when he applied to purchase a M1 Garand rifle through the Civilian Marksmanship Program. On Tuesday, NICS informed him that someone with the same or similiar name had committed a crime, and that is why his name was flagged. After running Lopey’s fingerprints, which he submitted as part of an appeal, they were able to “substantiate that I am not that individual” and cleared him for all firearms purchases, he said. The sheriff had been irritated with the vague answers he received when he inquired about the failed background check. “I’m an elected official. I’ve been a law enforcement officer for 36 years... I’m a retired colonel with the United States Army and had top secret clearance. I recently attended the FBI National Academy, and I am denied? I just can’t understand it,” he said. Disqualifying criteria include being a fugitive from the law, being an illegal alien, being an ex-felon, domestic violence offenders, or having been treated in a health care facility for mental illness, Lopey said. It is also possible the denial could be a result of a stolen identity or other glitch in the system, but as a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, it’s the implication of the denial that bothers him. “What you’re telling me is I can’t purchase a firearm. If I can’t purchase a firearm, then essentially you’re telling me I shouldn’t possess or own a firearm,” said Lopey. “That is what gives me concern. None of it makes sense.” He pointed out that after last year’s tragedy at Sandy Hook School, he wrote letters to Senator Diane Feinstein and Vice President Joe Biden opposing stricter gun control laws. Lopey said he asked if there is “some other list, perhaps a political list” the organization may be using to flag individuals, though the NICS representative he spoke with on the phone said that’s “absolutely not” the case.

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