Gilford man charged with lying to authorities about felony conviction when he applied for gun permit
Published DateGILFORD — A local man has been indicted by a Belknap County grand jury for allegedly lying to police by not reporting a 25-year-old felony conviction while applying for a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
Bruce M. Gard, Jr. 46, of 9 Ox Bow Lane was indicted for one misdemeanor count of unsworn falsification and six felony counts of being a felon in possession of a weapon, one count for each firearm in his possession.
An indictment has no bearing on a person's guilt or innocence but is a statement by an independent grand jury that enough evidence exists to conduct a criminal trial.
Gilford police said Gard came to them on January 21 and filled out an application to carry a concealed weapon. A detective said a criminal background check indicated he was convicted of burglary in Belknap County Superior Court on March 28, 1988.
Police said further investigation showed the conviction had not been expunged from his criminal record nor had it been reduced to a misdemeanor. Det. Daniel O'Neill said Gard cooperated with police during the investigation.
O'Neill said it appears Gard purchased "a couple" of his guns through a registered gun dealer and that an National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NISCS) profile was done before the purchase. He said others were purchased through gun shows.
According to the FBI Website, the NICS background check was instituted in 1998 as part of the Brady Bill that passed in 1993 and is used by federal firearms licensees to determine if a prospective gun buyer is eligible to buy a gun. The FBI says about 10 million NICS checks have been done that have led to about 700,000 denials. It is the expansion of NICS system that is at the heart of recent national debates regarding proposed new gun laws.
According to O'Neill, it is "unusual" that Gard allegedly purchased guns without his conviction registering on NICS." He said all applications received by Gilford Police for licenses to carry concealed weapons go through a criminal background check and that the application, which is a standard one, has a disclaimer about falsifying information.
The owner of Belmont Firearms and Range said he performs NICS checks on every gun that is sold and denials are "routine." He said, to his knowledge, he has never had an instance where the NICS failed to identify a felony conviction.
"I get audited and the people who sell me guns get audited as well," Gillespie said.