The debate keeps raging over background checks for gun buyers. And we've found some people are getting caught 'lying' to get a permit for a concealed weapon.
We're finding people facing charges when it 'appears' they try to do the right thing--get a permit to carry a gun. The problem? Their dirty little secrets.
"Why do you think you should have a gun if you have that trouble in your past? Trouble in my past?"
19 Action News confronts a young man recently investigated for falsification.
He was caught lying when he applied for a concealed weapons permit. Didn't revealed he'd been convicted of a crime as a juvenile.
"Why didn't you put that down?"
"Why didn't I put that down? My understanding was my record was sealed when I turned 18," replied gun permit applicant, Dustin McRoberts.
Every year Cuyahoga County Sheriff deputies approve thousands of concealed weapons permits.
But lately we've been noticing people investigated for falsification.
Not admitting they've had trouble with the law.
Not revealing sex crimes, mental incompetence or trouble as a juvenile including drug trafficking and felony assault.
Deputies say anyone applying for a gun permit gets checked using fingerprints and social security numbers through police databases.
"It's hard to get in somebody's mind why they would lie about their background," said Sgt. Don Michalosky, Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office.
"Just trying to follow the rules and the laws."
Meet the wife of Charles Crabtree. His case is moving through court. Records show he didn't reveal an old conviction.
His wife says the case happened 28 years ago when he was a teen. She thinks this isn't what it seems. Hiding something to get away with carrying a gun.
"Again trying to follow the rules. Trying to let everybody know we have a gun and we have a permit for this."
So what about that? Why indict people going to a county office to file for a permit.
We hear all the time anyone can buy a gun on the street. Why go after people following the process?
"Doing the right thing is full disclosure. So if they're withholding information, we can guess what their intent was. But that wouldn't be how the justice system operates."
We checked on what happens.
First--you don't get a permit.
As for criminal charges for falsification--Cuyahoga County prosecutors consider the 'intent' of the person caught keeping secrets about the past. And how long ago was the conviction? Was it a crime of violence?
In recent months 14 cases. One man got probation. Three cases are pending. 10 dismissed.
Dustin McRoberts had his case for lying dismissed.
His trouble came from not revealing a breaking and entering case as a kid.
"I was 13. dumb. Broke into a house. It was my first offense."
In the end deputies say if you keep a secret about your past they're not reading your mind. You'll end up in court even if it looked like you we're doing the right thing to get a permit to carry a gun.
With guns a dirty little secret can be a big thing.
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