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By Ross

President Bill Clinton signed a bill into law before leaving office in 2000 that affected those of us who were not US citizens or permanent residents (green card holders) who where purchasing firearms. Shortly after the terrorist attacks on September 11th 2001, the ATF did their “90 day comments” program with the intent to start enforcing the law/rule change. I was living in North Carolina at the time and owned a number of firearms, concerned that I would not be in legal compliance when the enforcement of this rule change took place I contacted the local ATF office and spoke to an ATF inspector . . .

The inspector informed me she did not know how the rule change was going to be implemented and how it would affect me and that I may have to surrender any and all firearms I owned as there was no grandfather clause within the rule change. I informed her outright that I would NOT be surrendering any firearms, just wasn’t going to happen, so we had better figure out a way to deal with this rule change. She provided me a contact number for the ATF folks in DC who had written the law/rules change and suggested I call them.

I contacted the folks in DC and informed them of my immigration status (I was on a J2 non-immigrant visa at the time) and asked them how this new change to the law was going to affect me. I was informed that they had no idea how the law was going to affect me or how it was going to be implemented and they asked me to call the NRA. Keep in mind these are the same people who wrote the law, they even provided me a contact number for the NRA. I was/am a member, and worked as a volunteer recruiter for them at that time covering local gun shows.

The ATF also asked that I call them back and let them know what the NRA had to say. I contacted the NRA-ILA and explained the problem I was having and was about to have with the new rule change. The folks at the NRA explained how the law would affect me, how to get into compliance, and how to legally keep my firearms and continue to purchase firearms.

I called back the ATF in DC and informed them how the law would affect gun owners who were not US citizens and what their (ATF) responsibilities were going to be with ensuring compliance and enforcement. They thanked me for my help and asked if I would be prepared to meet with the lead inspector in the Greensboro, North Carolina office and to let her know the same information I had just given them. I informed them I would be glad to and contacted the Greensboro office and made an appointment to see the inspector I had been dealing with there.

Half way through my chat with the inspector in Greensboro she stopped me mid sentence and said, “Do you have any idea how ridiculous this is? Here we are the ones who wrote the law and are tasked with enforcing it and yet you are having to explain it to me.” Yes ma’am, this was not lost on me. At the end of our chat I looked over at a poster she had on her wall offering $1,000,000.00 for the capture of Erick Rudolf and told her that if they (ATF) offered a lifetime, tax free, moonshine manufacturing license rather than a million to the first person to gave up his location they would have him in custody by the close of business Friday. Yes, contrary to popular belief ATF inspectors do have a sense of humor.

So with this battle won it was off to the next. Local gun dealers along with the sheriff’s office had to be shown the way.

Now I’m all set, visas came and went then the green card (no it’s not green), and now I’m an American citizen, sworn in August 23rd of 2013. Gone are the days of having to hold a hunter’s license and providing 90 days worth of bills in my name to get a pistol purchase permit. Just one last thing to get, a North Carolina concealed handgun permit (NC requires US citizenship for their carry permit). I spent the last 10 years carrying on an out-of-state non-resident carry permit. Where there’s a will there’s a way folks.

50 Responses to P320 Entry: Fun With BATFE

  1. Like Robert says, a natural, human right.

    Our Constitution only PROTECTS this right (and others), it does not grant them.

    Good for you sticking with it, and with us long enough to become a citizen.

    • Congrats. We are going to be puttng in our citizenship papers this year. It would be nice to be able to vote again.

    • Congrats to all of you who have obtained your citizenship! For those still in process, keep going and persevere! I, personally, can not think of a better testament to the USA’s greatness than the idea that people will work VERY hard to be here. Some even risk death to make it here. Kudos to you!

      • I would go as far to say that US Citizenship is one of the most coveted things on the face of the Earth. In fact if the government were to say tomorrow “If you make it into the US in the next 30 days we will give you US Citizenship no questions asked” you would see people attempting to swim the atlantic.

  2. North Carolina is in non-compliance with Supreme Court decisions, I think.
    .
    The Constitution applies to all persons legally present in the United States and/or it’s territories.
    .

    • The current SCOTUS ruling requires the states to have either open carry or concealed carry available – they can’t forbid both at the same time, but they can forbid one. If NC allows everyone to open-carry, but only citizens to carry concealed, they would be in compliance.

      • I find it sad that we are debating compliance details of fundamentally unconstitutional laws.

        • Personally I believe that concealed handgun permits are un-contitustional. They require the individual to seek permission from the state and pay a fee (which really in a tax) to excise a right. States like AK & AZ have it right “Constitutional carry” is what I would like to see in all 50 states.

  3. What a knowledgable bunch of folks. If they have to ask a non government organization to explain the laws that they are going to enforce, maybe they should look at changing the laws first.

  4. Citizens having to explain what the Federal Guvmints job is to them, sounds about right.

    • You’ve never worked for the government.

      Policy or Law may be one thing, but the higher ups all interpret things differently, change their mind, implement at their will, or pend issues till they get other guidance or the related agency attorneys work through something. Some things get so convoluted that the line staff that actually have to enforce a law are kept in the dark about how its going to work. Take all that fun and then deal with the public….

    • I work for a Federal agency with my primary responsibility being phone contact with the general public. Been doing it for about 6 years, and I consider myself to be an expert on all the subjects in the purview of my job. About 3 months ago, a guy calls up and asks about a provision for him to get a benefit with less rigamorale. I kindly tell him “sir I have no idea what you’re talking about, where did you hear that?” He says “your website.” I pull up the website and clear as day, there it is on the front page. It wasn’t there the day before, and no one had told us about the change, and didn’t send us any official notification of change in policy until about a week after it had been online.

      The moral of the story: Most Federal employees are hard working people who want to do a good job, but are hampered by the bureaucracy. We’re not all the Pheonix VA.

  5. >> providing 90 days worth of bills in my name to get a pistol purchase permit.

    Just FYI, they’ve dropped this ridiculous requirement, 2 years ago I think? It was such a huge pain in the ass. Still need a hunting license, though, but thankfully it doesn’t have to be of your state of residence, and Alaska sells a basic one online for $30.

    It’s really the state requirements that are more burdensome. Many states don’t allow non-citizens to carry outright. Some states don’t even allow to possess. My state of residence – WA – does, but requires a license merely to possess for non-citizens, and that comes with its own set of requirements (IPDA membership satisfies those, though) – and even that was won from them in court back in 2008 (thanks, SAF!).

  6. Dammit! If only the NRA had said,”Tell them the change means you can own whatever you want”!!!! We missed our chance!

  7. Glad you’re a citizen. It sounds like you worked very hard to get it, and are working very hard to be a good citizen.

      • Congratulations on becoming a US citizen. I helped my wife immigrate to the US and stayed up nights helping her study for the citizenship test. You are 100% right, it isn’t easy to do it all legally, ain’t cheap either, but worth the effort in the end.

  8. “I spent the last 10 years carrying on an out-of-state non-resident carry permit.”

    Care to share more info about this? I am a green card holder living in NC, and have another 18 months before I can apply for citizenship. Would be interested in an alternative approach to concealed carry requirements. Thanks.

    • I gained a UT non-rez concealed handgun permit, at the time they didn’t require a green card, when my UT CHP was up for renewal the first time they had changed the rules and required a green card (I had my by then). They now require that non-rez holders hold a CHP of the state in which they reside. I got my NC CHP earlier this year and renewed my UT for nothing more than old times sake, you may want to look at a FL non-rez.

      • Thanks for the suggestion of looking at Florida. Where can I get definitive info that shows NC would honor a Florida non-rez permit, even though I reside in NC and have a NC drivers license? I have looked all over and even checked with a few gun stores here in Charlotte, and a few people who conduct concealed carry classes. I have looked at the NC Doj site regarding firearms and CC licenses. Nothing says yes, nothing say no as it relates to NC honoring a non res permit from FL for a NC resident. Want to be absolutely sure I am not doing something wrong, as that would likely have an adverse impact once I am a citizen and attempt to get a NC CC permit. Thanks again.

        • Randy, I’m a permanent resident living in NC. What you’re looking for is NC GS 14-415.24 – “Reciprocity; out-of-state handgun permits.”, which reads, on item (a), as follows: “A valid concealed handgun permit or license issued by another state is valid in North Carolina.”

          As I was still unsure if it would apply to a NC resident (after all: why wouldn’t a NC resident NOT apply for an NC CCW?), I emailed the NC DOJ asking the question: “is it legal for a resident living in NC to carry a concealed handgun using a non-resident permit from another state?”. The assistant Attorney General herself replied within three days – as long as the permit is VALID (unexpired), you’re OK to CCW in NC with that permit.

          So I did my CCW training, and applied for a Virginia non-resident permit – they sent me the application packet about a week after I requested it. Got my fingerprints, sent all the paperwork and payment back. Thirty days later I got my permit in the mail.

          I would like to talk to you directly, as there are some things going on on this front. Ping the TTAG folks, if interested to discuss further, for my email address.

  9. It’s clear, then, that the BATFE needs to be replaced. By the more efficient and knowledgeable NRA.
    Do I hear a “second”?

  10. Congratulations and welcome to the family, fellow American.

    A thought popped into my head while reading this article; I wonder what the left would think if the GOP started touting the ‘Pathway to Firearms Ownership’ as opposed to the ‘Pathway to Citizenship’ for illegal immigrants. Most of the people on the left don’t even realize that foreign nationals are allowed to possess firearms in this country, so I’m guessing that would make some heads explode. Kind of like defeating the robot with a logical contradiction.

  11. Great article, congrats on the citizenship and hello fellow NC’er. Nice to know the local ATF doesn’t know wtf is going on, and that they at least have a sense if humor. y

    • Gaining US citizenship has been a lifelong dream for me and a minor firearms volition would have gotten me deported, so yes I was on someones radar……….. but that someone can’t have been to important as it was way back in 2002/2003 I went through the above and I still got the green card then US Citizenship.

  12. I lived in CT on a green card a few years ago. They amended the law (about 18 years ago) to allow non citizens to obtain CCW permits. So I called the local Police department to make an Appointment, they had not heard of the change and did not believe me. It took a while but I obtained it a few months later. They were friendly but had no clue about the law, and they were the people issuing the permit.
    I dealt with immigration 14-23 years ago, they used to be very inefficient and clueless. I sat in an airport office with two immigration officers helping them to process my visa. Nobody in the office had processed this type before. After we had finished the Visa they wanted to take me out on the town. Friendly and willing, but no clue about their own job.
    I now live in NC. a US citizen with lots of evil black rifles and high capacity magazines and a CCW.
    I wonder if the State of CT is busy looking for the AR15s that I bought there and has not been registered.

      • I hope they go crazy looking for my evil black rifles.
        I and many other people escaped with our toys.

        • <joke>
          An old man lived alone in Idaho. He wanted to spade his potato garden, but it was very hard work. His only son, Bubba, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament.

          Dear Bubba:
          I am feeling pretty bad because it looks like I won’t be able to plant my potato garden this year. I’m just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. If you were here, all my troubles would be over. I know you would dig the plot for me.

          Love, Dad

          A few days later, he received a letter from his son.

          Dear Dad:
          For heaven’s sake, Dad, don’t dig up that garden. That’s where I buried the BODIES.
          Love, Bubba

          At 4 a.m. the next morning, FBI agents and local Police showed up and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left.
          That same day, the old man received another letter from his son.

          Dear Dad:
          Go ahead and plant the potatoes now. It’s the best I could do under the circumstances.
          Love, Bubba
          </joke>

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