IN THE MATTER OF A.M., A.M., Petitioner/Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Bremer County, Christopher
C. Foy, Judge.
person previously involuntarily hospitalized for
mental-health treatment seeks restoration of his firearm
D. Engels of Correll, Sheerer, Benson, Engels, Galles &
Demro, P.L.C., Cedar Falls, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
by Vogel, P.J., and Tabor and Bower, JJ.
appeals the district court's refusal to restore his
firearm rights under Iowa Code section 724.31 (2016). After
reviewing the available record, we reach the same conclusion
as the district court-A.M. did not present sufficient
evidence to show he would not be likely to act in a manner
dangerous to public safety. Accordingly, we affirm.
Background Facts and Prior Proceedings
2010, then twenty-year-old A.M. was abusing alcohol; by his
own account, he drank almost every day. He also suffered from
depression starting in high school. And although A.M. was
prescribed medication, he refused to take it.
night of heavy drinking in March 2010, A.M. contacted Shane
Hoff, who was a Bremer County Sheriff's Deputy and a
family friend. A.M. was driving his brother's truck and
asked Hoff to follow him home; Hoff, who was on patrol duty,
refused two separate requests and told A.M. not to drive if
he was drunk. But A.M. drove anyway and sideswiped a bridge
with his brother's truck. A.M. again contacted Deputy
Hoff and asked him to survey the damage to the truck. Hoff
stopped by the home of A.M.'s mother to inspect the truck
and talk to A.M.
Deputy Hoff left, A.M. grew more distraught and decided to
commit suicide with his mother's shotgun. Once A.M.'s
mother awoke and realized her son's plans, they ended up
struggling over the gun. A.M.'s thirteen-year-old sister
helped by distracting A.M. so their mother could hide the
gun. A.M. became enraged and assaulted his mother and sister,
as well as a neighbor to whose house they ran for help. After
responding to a 911 call, Deputy Hoff arrested A.M., who was
charged with burglary and assault. All three of A.M's
assault victims required medical attention for their
result of the violent incident, A.M.'s mother initiated
civil commitment proceedings, writing in the application
under Iowa Code section 229.6 that this was "not the
first time that [A.M.] has gotten this way with me or family
members." Once at the hospital, A.M. didn't want to
disclose why he was there and wouldn't take
responsibility for his actions. Psychological testing
confirmed A.M.'s problems with anger management and
substance abuse. Specifically, the psychologist's March
7, 2010 report opined that A.M. was "at risk of ongoing
problems with poor control over his aggressive
impulses." A medical doctor reported A.M.
"minimized any depressive symptoms" and assessed
him as having "probable alcohol dependence versus
hospital discharged A.M. to outpatient mental-health and
substance-abuse treatment. He continued treatment for "a
couple of months" after his discharge. He also completed
substance abuse counseling as a requirement of his probation.
A.M. took the medication prescribed to him for a few months
after his discharge. When he believed he was better, he
stopped taking the medication without consulting a doctor.
A.M. also abstained from alcohol for a couple of years after
his discharge fearing he wouldn't be able to handle
himself if he resumed drinking. But he eventually returned to
occasionally consuming alcohol.
started a romantic relationship shortly after he was released
from the hospital, and he married in 2013. The couple had a
son in the spring of 2015. A.M. also opened his own full-time
result of his involuntary hospitalization, A.M. lost his
firearm privileges in accordance with 18 U.S.C. §
922(d)(4) and (g)(4). Wishing to someday teach his son to hunt,
A.M. filed a petition to restore his privileges under Iowa
Code section 724.31. As required by statute, the district
court ordered a hearing on the matter in November 2016.
See Iowa Code § 724.31(3) (requiring court to
consider evidence in a closed proceeding). The provision also
mandated the court receive evidence, offered by petitioner
A.M., concerning all of the following:
a. The circumstances surrounding the original issuance of the
order or judgment that resulted in the firearm disabilities
imposed by 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4) and (g)(4).
b. The petitioner's record, which shall include, at a
minimum, the petitioner's mental health records and