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Army Vet Denied Right To Own Gun Due To 42-Year-Old Misdemeanor Drug Charge

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Man with a .22 caliber rifle shooting at a firing range.  (credit: Dan DeChiaro/Getty Images)

Man with a .22 caliber rifle shooting at a firing range. (credit: Dan DeChiaro/Getty Images)

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TOMBALL, Tex. (CBS Houston) – Ron Kelly is a retired Army veteran. He used to fire tanks, cannons, and machine guns while fighting for the United States.

However, when he applied to the FBI for the right to purchase a .22-caliber rifle from Wal-Mart, the FBI denied him, citing a minor drug possession conviction back in 1971.

Kelly was still in high school at the time, and was reportedly sentenced to just one year probation. Two years later, he enlisted in the U.S. Army.

“I went on to serve 20 years,” Kelly told the newspaper Stars & Stripes. “I had a top-secret clearance. It is amazing that they won’t let buy a gun for a misdemeanor 42 years ago.”

He added, “I am ashamed of the way my government has treated me.”

Background checks are required by federal law for anybody wanting to own a gun, and over 881,000 people in Texas have had background checks prior to purchasing firearms this year alone.

Only a few, including Kelly, have been rejected.

When he was told by Wal-Mart that he did not pass his background check, he applied a second time – and was once again denied. Despite the setbacks, he plans to keep fighting.

“I am not going to give up,” Kelly told Stars & Stripes. “I want to have a gun.”

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