Caleb Woods loves his AR-15 so much that he’s named it.
“I think I might name her Hope," Woods said.
It's a gun he said he didn't know if he would ever see again.
“That's pretty personal right there. I served in the military, and I earned that right. They’re just going to take my weapon from me," he said.
Woods' problems started a few months ago following his honorable discharge from the military. He was trying to find a full-time job and a place to stay. After realizing he needed some money to get by, he decided to pawn his rifle. So, he took it to a place called Glendale Pawn and Jewelry.
"It was just a little something to help me get established a little more than I was," Woods said.
Weeks later, when Woods went to the pawn shop to pay off his loan and retrieve his rifle, he hit a snag. He was told he didn't pass the background check and therefore couldn't get his gun back.
“I guess the FBI uses the NICS system, and that's what everyone goes through for a weapons check to make sure you have no felonies, misdemeanors, anything like that," Woods said.
As a result, Woods, who trained with weapons, just finished serving his country and has a squeaky-clean record, was being told he didn't qualify to own the AR-15. So, 3 On Your Side got involved, reached out to Glendale Pawn and Jewelry and spoke to Jeff Ortales.
Ortales said his pawn shop isn't to blame and that the decision to deny Woods was the federal government's, a decision that turned out to be wrong.
“A few days after he was denied, in fact one day after the ATF called and gave us the NICS number that pertains to his case individually, they said that the decision was overturned and that we may proceed," Ortales said.
Ortales said he tried reaching Woods several times to tell him he could get his gun back, but Woods had just gotten out of the Army, was in between addresses and had a different phone number. So, getting a hold of Woods was difficult. Ortales showed us the letter he tried sending to Woods, which was returned. Ortales is also relieved 3 On Your Side got involved.
“And we are very glad 3TV is here and that Gary Harper stepped in to help get this gentleman his firearm back, because after our efforts failed by phone and by mail we were pretty much out of options," Ortales said.
It's unknown exactly why Woods was initially denied or deemed unqualified, but we do know he now has his “baby” back.
“It feels amazing that she is here with her rightful owner. There is nothing better than that," he said.
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