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Palm Harbor felon, investigated in threat against Obama, arrested on gun charge

PALM HARBOR — A man being investigated for making a possible threat against President Barack Obama was arrested at his Palm Harbor home Wednesday when U.S. Secret Service agents found he was a felon in possession of a gun, an arrest report shows.

Mark Rattenni was arrested around 7 p.m. at 150 Lifestyle Blvd., No. 219, and charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. On Thursday, he was being held in the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.

When agents called the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office to investigate the firearm, a Pinellas deputy checked a national criminal database and found Rattenni had been convicted of felony forgery in 1999 and felony assault in 2003 in New York, said Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Tom Nestor.

It is against the law in Florida for a felon to own a firearm unless that right has been restored by a state.

It was unclear Thursday afternoon whether Rattenni's rights had been restored in New York, but the criminal database gave no indication they had been, Nestor said.

According to the arrest report, the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services issued Rattenni, 37, a concealed weapons permit in July 2007.

Rattenni gave the deputy a letter from the department dated Dec. 19, 2007, that said the department intended to revoke his permit because of his felony convictions. But a check of the state's concealed weapons database by the deputy found that Rattenni's permit was still valid.

"The individual made no comments that his rights had been restored. He would have documentation to show that," Nestor said. "The only documentation he had was the letter saying 'you shouldn't have the permit.' "

Terry McElroy, a spokesman for the agriculture and consumer services department, said he could not discuss the case or confirm that Rattenni has a concealed weapons permit, citing a law enacted by the Florida Legislature in 2006 that exempts the concealed weapons permit database from public view.

A spokesman for the Secret Service's Tampa field office said he could not discuss anything related to the case, including the nature of the threat against the president.

Palm Harbor felon, investigated in threat against Obama, arrested on gun charge 04/08/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 8, 2010 9:07pm]
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