A Tennessee man has been arrested and is facing multiple charges after trying to obtain a carry license in the name of former president Barack Obama. Chattanooga police took Robert Joseph Hallick into custody late last week and have charged him with forgery, perjury, and identity theft.
It’s not clear why Hallick decided to impersonate Obama on his license to carry application, but he has a history of claiming to be the former president dating back to at least 2019. In addition, Chattanooga TV station WTVC reports that the man isn’t able to legally purchase a firearm or obtain a carry license because of legal troubles in his home state.
An affidavit obtained by NewsChannel 9 says Hallick had been denied a gun permit request using his own name back in November due to an active warrant for his arrest in the state of Michigan.
The arrest report says Hallick sent another application on January 21st, except this time he used the name “President Barack H. Obama” instead. Included along with the form was a $50 check.
The report says Hallick’s application also contained a letter “bearing the United States of America seal with United States Department of State letterhead.”
To make matters even stranger, Hallick’s own Facebook page contains the claim that he’s actually Barack Obama, describing himself as the “former President of the United States. Hallick’s Twitter account, which was created in April of 2019, also claims to be run by Obama, though Hallick himself appears in the profile’s picture. Hallick is even offering a hand-built clock allegedly created and signed by Barack Obama.
American Hancrafted Clock by President Barack Obama signed by President Barack Obama and can get Authenticated by API or office of authentications Washington D.C. pic.twitter.com/GuOnMozPkW
— President Barack Obama (@PresidentBarac2) January 9, 2021
While there’s no word on what charges Hallick is facing in Michigan, WRCB-TV reports that the issue may go deeper than the fact that there’s an active warrant out for Hallick’s arrest.
Robert Joseph Hallick was sent a denial letter from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Handgun Permit Unit on November 19 of 2020, due to an “Adjudicated or Committed Mental Defective and Active Warrant” in Michigan.
If Hallick has been adjudicated as mentally ill, then he’s lost his right to keep and bear arms regardless of whether or not there’s an active warrant out for his arrest in Michigan.
I spent some time on Hallick’s social media today, and while I didn’t see any posts that raised alarm bells in terms of threats of violence, there were some signs that all is not well in Hallick’s world. Back in April, for instance, Hallick sent celebrities ranging from Adam Sandler to Harrison Ford dozens of tweets asking for help after his truck broke down.
“I have about 600 dollars to my name. No income. No vehicle. No family and friends local,” he wrote. “My identifications and banking so screwed up even a donation could not be sent to my account. But I would make any one of you dinner. But that’s all I’ve got.”
I certainly don’t have all of the details about Mr. Hallick’s previous history, but it sounds to me like he could use some help, and I hope that he gets it. I’m not sure, however, that the criminal justice system is the best place for him at the moment. Yes, if Hallick tried to obtain an enhanced carry license in Tennessee under the name of Barack Obama he technically committed a crime, but clearly there are bigger issues here. Given his previous mental history, it’s even possible that Hallick will be ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial on his most recent charges.
Unfortunately it’s also an open question as to whether or not Hallick will receive any sort of mental health treatment if that’s the case. I wish I had confidence in the criminal justice and mental health systems to refer Hallick to the appropriate authorities, but unfortunately the most likely outcome is Hallick either ending up behind bars or back out on the street without getting the help that he needs.