Question: So what brings you here, Orlan?
Answer: Gun charge, felon in possession of a shotgun.
Question: So you are here to meet with the law students concerning
Answer: That's right. I've been doing my own legal work, but
I thought they might be able to help me.
Question: Orlan, if you were a felon, why would you even think
of having a gun in your possession?
Answer: Well, it happened like this. About fifteen years ago
I was involved in a fight. I was found guilty of fighting in
a public place and that was a felony. I was sentenced to probation
for two years and served my probation and was released. Then
I got married and we had two little girls. My wife is kind of
a shy girl and so are my kids.
The neighborhood where we live is just off of Western Avenue.
It was pretty much black and a quiet place to live. We got us
a nice two bedroom apartment, you know, the kind with the apartments
on the outside, two storeys, and a swimming pool in the middle.
Well, the Viet gangs began moving in and extorting the business
folks, and then moved in on the apartment buildings. Because
most folks was working during the day, they could just rob us
blind. Now some housewives got raped and beat up pretty bad.
I was worried, so I went down to the sporting goods store on
Western Avenue and asked about buying a gun. The manager of
the store came out when I told the salesman that I was an ex-felon.
They agreed I was not precluded from buying a shotgun. I filled
out the registration form and the federal application which
was sent to the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms folks for their
investigation and approval. I was told that if the government
had any problems they would object to the purchase and that
would be the end of it. A couple weeks later when I came home
from work, my wife told me that the man from the sporting goods
store had called and said that I could pick up the shotgun as
the government had not objected to the purchase. I went down
that night and picked up my brand new shiny Mossburg shotgun
and a box of shells. I don't recall ever taking that shotgun
out of the box or down from the shelf in our closet. At least,
not until one evening a year later a knock came on our front
"Who is it?" I asked.
"Yes," I replied, as I slid the dead
bolt out of its jacket and opened the door to see two well-dressed
white men just outside.
"ATF, may we have a word with you?"
"Of course," I responded, and allowed
them to enter.
"Mr. Hamilton, did you purchase a Mossburg
shotgun last year at the sporting goods store?"
"Yes, I did," I said nervously.
"Sir, that is a felony, a felon cannot purchase
I explained the whole story to the officers and
they asked to see the shotgun. I fished it down from the shelf,
dusted off the box, and handed it to them.
"Well, since these are the circumstances,
we are not going to arrest you, Mr. Hamilton. However, if you
wish to get this over with without and further difficulties,
we suggest you take this to our office and turn it in and get
a signed release for it."
I was overwhelmed with relief. I couldn't get
down to the ATF office fast enough if I had wings. The young
woman was aware that a Orlan Hamilton was surrendering a shotgun
and was very respectful. She signed and had me countersign the
receipt, and I was on my way to work.
Another year passed, and another knock on my door.
"Yes," I answered, as the two men bullied
their way into our apartment screaming obscenities in front
of our daughters.
"Down on your belly now," they screamed.
"You're under arrest for felon in possession of a firearm."