Court: Minnesota man can’t have gun permit, despite domestic violence expungement

Court: Minnesota man can't have gun permit, despite domestic violence expungement

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A court’s expungement of a man’s domestic violence conviction didn’t restore his right to carry a firearm because it didn’t wipe all records of his conviction clean, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. According to court documents, James Bergman’s court records were sealed as part of a 2007 expungement of his 1996 domestic assault conviction. At the time, the state court found that his conviction was ineligible for "statutory expungement" — which means records held by all other government agencies would be sealed — so his conviction remained in national and state background check databases. "In sum, the expungement that took place in 2007 … did not remove, erase, or destroy the executive branch records of Bergman’s prior domestic assault conviction," Justice Margaret Chutich wrote. "We therefore hold that expungement by inherent authority does not by itself satisfy the federal meaning of expungement, and Bergman’s right to carry a firearm in Minnesota cannot be reinstated under these circumstances." Isanti County Attorney Jeff Edblad said the case highlights a need for clarity on what constitutes expungement under state and federal law when it comes to determining who is eligible to own a firearm. He said clarification would help sheriffs, who approve gun permits, as well as people who may be applying for a permit with past domestic violence offenses. Bergman sought to expunge his conviction in 2007 so that he could hunt. An Anoka County judge granted the expungement and ordered that the judicial and arrest records […]

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