Friday, August 29, 2008

Federal appeals court rules against Wyoming gun law

The Tenth Circuit has ruled that against Wyoming's law that permits certain people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence to petition the state for a restoration of their gun rights:

CHEYENNE - A federal appeals court in Denver has ruled against Wyoming in a lawsuit over a state law that seeks to allow people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence to regain their gun rights.

A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled that the procedure spelled out in Wyoming law fails to expunge the criminal record of people convicted of domestic violence.
[Casper district attorney and president of the Wyoming Prosecutors Association] Blonigen said that the Wyoming Legislature may choose to change the law to address whether conviction records are truly expunged.

"I think it's one of these situations, where if you're going to call it an expungement, it has to have all the characteristics of an expungement, and frankly this law didn't get there," Blonigen said. "You can't say you're going to take it away for these purposes, but not for these three purposes over there."

Blonigen said most of the gun rights restoration cases his office sees involve relatively minor incidents.

"You just can't lump everybody together," Blonigen said. "You could have everything from a pushing, shoving - a minor thing that is isolated - to severe beatings. And you can't say that the first offender is related to the second offender, not in my mind. And I think that's what the statute is intended to do."

Article here. If I recall correctly, the law didn't truly expunge the convictions, and that was the problem. As the article notes, the Wyoming legislature may choose to modify the law so the convictions may be properly expunged.

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