Eighty-one year old Homer Wright heard an intruder trying to break into his home about 6:30 yesterday morning. Wright, who had a pistol, shot 19 year-old Anthony Robinson in the leg. But Wright was arrested along with Robinson and charged with unlawful use of a weapon. No, he wasn’t in Canada or even the UK when he pulled the trigger. He was in Illinois. But even in the Land of Lincoln, a homeowner’s has the right to use deadly force to defend himself in his home. Wright’s problem is that he’s a convicted felon . . .

Two convictions, actually, and one of them weapons-related. The first for theft dating back to 199o and an unlawful use of a weapon charge in 1994.

Wright has run a neighborhood bar out of the front of his home for forty years. Apparently being a felon isn’t a problem for the liquor control board. Nevertheless, suntimes.com reports that his neighbors aren’t happy that he was arrested.

“It’s a sad day in American when an 80-year senior citizen with a heart condition can’t defend himself against an intruder breaking into his house,” said Daryl Smith, 43, a self-employed tow truck owner. “He’s been here over 40 years and he takes care of his home and he helps take care of the block.

Earlier, Smith said, “What happened if he didn’t have a gun? We would be talking about a whole different story.”

Just like in the song, Wright fought the law and the law won. Twice. He’s currently out on bail on his own recognizance. But in the eyes of the law he fought, he’d paid his debt(s) to society. Leave aside the issue of whether he can vote, shouldn’t someone who made a mistake and paid for it be allowed to defend himself and his family?

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104 Responses to Question of the Day: Should Felons Be Able to Own Guns?

  1. Here’s my take on felons and the restoration of their rights: if they’ve paid their debt to society such that it is safe to release them back into said society, their rights should be restored. Yes, all of them. If restoring their rights isn’t safe, why the fvck are they being released?!

      • I’ll reiterate, since you seem to have missed part of my post:

        “If restoring their rights isn’t safe, why the fvck are they being released?!”

        In other words, do not release until the subject has been rehabilitated and is no longer a danger to society.

        • Didn’t miss it just didn’t address it. You’re right but theirs no way to know if they are rehabilitated.

          Our prisions system used to be about reform, restraint, retribution, rehabilitation, and therapy now it’s about to protect society, to punish, and to deter.

        • In America you cannot hold people in prison past their release date because you feel they might still be a threat. (This doesn’t apply to people diagnosed as criminal sexual psychopaths who are often detained indefinitely in mental health facilities).

        • Indeed. And this is why I believe that the focus of our justice system needs to shift from punishment to rehabilitation.

        • our justice system needs to shift from punishment to rehabilitation

          Nobody can rehabilitate a convict except himself. Prison should be about punishment and detention. The problem with current prisons and sentences is that the sentences are far too long and the punishments far too mild.

      • YOU are wrong. You are wrong to lump everyone into the same category. on my way to the doctor for a severe sinus infection, on the freeway, somehow I lost control of the car, bounced off the median and hit 2 cars, one flat tire and one tow truck, on the shoulder. One man died. One man suffered injuries from which he has since healed from. I also suffered very severe injuries with sizable lasting effects. I am now convicted of vehicular manslaughter and spent 11 months in jail, NARROWLY avoiding a 9 year sentence. There were no drug or alcohol convictions or involvement. This car accident is deemed a violent crime. I was 23, no record, no arrests, a normal college student who had worked for the military, close with her family, no crazy bizarre shit goin on here. Every single part of life that could be affected, was. There is no such thing as ‘you have paid your debt to society.’ The debt never ends and affect one and others financially, mentally, physically, etc. Not that I would ever own a gun or believe in them, but now I definitely cannot purchase something that I would never even use.
        I completed 5 yrs formal probation extreme success, notwithstanding being treated ‘like a criminal’, worse than a diseased dog by probation officers and have been off now for 1.5 yrs. NO RECIVIDISM. One might find it funny some of those freaks have not believed that I hadn’t been violated, I’ve been accused of not being sorry for what I did. I’ve been called a liar. It goes on and on. Only those I hurt opinion matters. As long as they and God know my heart, the rest of you discriminating motherfuckers can go to hell.

    • I’m open to considering a long waiting period before an ex-fellon can buy a gun if ever. Some do reform. Some don’t. They more violent the crime the more concerned I am. There is also the type of gun they might be able to own. I’d be more comfortable with them owning a double-barrel shotgun than a semi-auto pistol.

  2. I don’t think this is a clear cut issue. You can’t have a law that only applies to some people. If they are a felon they are a felon.

    You are taking one rare case where a guy who turned his life around most people in the prison system enter and exit like it’s a revolving door.

    Why put more LEO’s and the public in more danger.

    I vote no.

    • You are dillusional. Ever been arrested for a misdemeanor ? You can bet its a some where. Maybe ven the town next to you. They put the word felony on too many misdemeanor crimes. Some traffic. Soon if you dont get obamas health insurance those people will be felons too. Watch how you throw the words a felon is a felon around.

      • No I’ve never been arrest at all. But I’ve arrested quite a few people also charged them with felonies.

        You’re entitled to your opinion just as I am mine.

    • Ever tried to wear those shoes called “one size fits all” and walked confortable in them?

      Obviously thats impossible. Some people made honest mistakes in their lives being at the wrong place, at the wrong time, at the wrong state of mind (or under influence either by choice or otherwise/duress). Some had been wrongfully convicted (10% of all people behind bars in prisons across US in fact. – The hard fact, statistic, and reality), some truely want to change and rehabilitate to law abiding sitizens. People like you prevent those people from ever gaining true freedom and love to sit on the high horse of “I holier than thou cause I never convicted a single crime in my life” knowing wholly well that everyone and anyone got skeletons in their closet. None of us is sin free and who are we to decide should a felon own or disown a firearm or not being able to work in medical field or banking industry? Who gave you that right? Why do people like you want to play God on daily basis and freely pass out “guilty, not guilty” judgements out of retribution? Criminals who are released paid for their crimes. “The punishment should fit the crime, not criminal” they say, but by far this statement is complete lie.

  3. Yes.

    If they’ve done their time, they should have their full rights restored. Why continue to punish them? They’re going to face enough **** out in the world and those determined to break the law again are going to do it anyway.

    That being said, there are plenty of non-violent crimes in the various states that are felonies. Too many laws in this country.

    • A convicted felon who returns to crime will get a gun anyway, while a felon who walks the straight and narrow must forego the ability to defend themselves – or risk arrest and another conviction.

      Hmm, I thought self defense was a human right rather than a privilege bestowed upon the deserving by government.

      The same argument against gun control – limiting gun ownership among the law abiding in an effort to deny guns to criminals – works in this case too.

  4. I agree with what’s been posted. Many felons will reoffend, so I’d prefer bangers not be legally allowed to own a gun. But, perhaps after some period of time, maybe they could petition to restore their rights? Maybe 5 or 10 years without reoffending?

    • I would support a law that had a trial period like this. If they can keep their nose clean for 5 years After release, they should have full rights restored. But not a day before 5 years has elapsed.

  5. I’m on the fence with this one. My brother committed a felony when he just turned 18 from one of his stupid buddies stole a cd player & he was the passenger next to it in the car later that night. Truth be told, he wasn’t mature enough of a person to understand the consequences. Now he is 27, has a wife, a kid, and a good job, and wants to buy a handgun for outdoor shooting and he can’t because of a felony from 9 years ago. True some people don’t deserve to own a gun after murder, rape, burglary with a gun, etc., but now people like my brother who can be seen as a hard working citizen, cannot own a gun. It’s hard to punish the ones who don’t deserve a handgun and not punish the ones who do. Would I love to see something happen where he could apply to be able to get one, yes, but do I see that happening? Not realistically. Sad.

    • So for being near a stolen CD player he was slammed with a felony? He can’t vote, he can’t own a gun. What else can’t he do? I encourage people like Michael Savage to take note of this.

      What state do you live in, by the way?

      • Indiana. His buddy stole the cd player earlier in the night, and as they went out to go to a friends house, he got busted because it was in between his legs. Granted a stolen cd player is a stolen cd player, but the guy who actually stole it got off with a misdemeanor!

        • Behold, our (in)justice system! One wonders just how much longer the house of cards will stand.

    • Unfortunately, it doesn’t pay for politicians to treat criminals with a fair, balanced, and nuanced approach. So the laws will always be overly harsh, punishing everyone based on the lowest common denominator (violent felons).

      • This is exactly right. Thanks to the stupid “get tough on crime” mentality that became the standard response to real or perceived increases in crime, we have huge numbers of people serving time in prisons who should not be. And any politician who suggests that reforms might be needed is attacked as a pro-crime, anti-victim fiend who must be driven out of office. What is horrible about these laws, like the three-strikes laws, is that prison guards and for-profit prisons work very hard to keep them in place–the laws keep people employed and profits coming in, and it does not matter what the consequences are to the criminals, their families, or society.

    • What your brother needs to pursue is a pardon from his governor, and a restoration of all rights. His case, as you present it, seems to be what that process is designed for.

  6. Just like those folks who carried guns with them to New York, this guy will get a slap on the wrist. Why? Because the law prohibiting felons against owning guns is meant to prevent them from misusing them again. This guy may have been rehabilitated in the meantime and a good judge will take that into consideration.

    The solution cannot be to allow ALL ex-felons to own guns. That would invite too much trouble. Many will say fuck-it and get a gun anyway. But, some of them who are unfit will obey the law and everybody is better off.

    • “But, some of them who are unfit will obey the law and everyone will be better off.”

      Ummmm….wut?

      So we’re talking about law-abiding-felons unfit to own firearms despite their interest in abiding the law?

      ……okay

      • I think his answer is to deny rights and let them take their chances with a judge….. because that’s BOUND to end well.

        • Perhaps, but Mikeb’s comment seems to presume that rehabilitated ex-felons should be legally allowed to defend their own life.

        • You’re forgetting the grabber tree of humanity is criminals most human, ex-criminals next most human, and law abiding gun owners somewhere below troglodytes, because spending your whole life obeying the “big” laws is just freaky to them. In that light criminals will have more of a right to life and thus more of a right to defend that life.

    • I think I agree with Mike on this. I don’t think (violent) felons should own guns, and I think this guy will probably get off (somewhat) easy.

      But then it occurs to me: plainly “the law prohibiting felons against owning guns [that] is meant to prevent them from misusing them again” is NOT WORKING.

      Is it possible to make it work? Not without harming the innocent, so far as I can see.

      So should we even bother? I guess there are probably some cases where it does work. Someone who has been convicted of a crime involving some sort of unpremeditated violence might abide by the law forbidding him to own a gun. That might make a big difference if he flies off the handle again. Is that statistically significant?

      Then again, if a felon illegally acquires a gun, there’s a possibility (however remote) that he will be caught with it *before* he is ready to use it. Is that statistically significant? I dunno.

      Long and short of it, I don’t care enough about the rights of felons to take their side, rehabilitated or not. I would much rather pay attention to the question of which crimes ought to constitute a felony, or to the question of how we can prevent innocent people from being convicted.

  7. Should felons be allowed to own knives? How about baseball bats? What about chainsaws, books, land, cars, houses, iphones, computers or any other piece of legitimately obtained property?

    Those who think felons should be restricted from guns are buying into the gun-grabber arguement that the gun itself is the problem. A gun is just a piece of property. A person who commits a crime against someone should pay restitution, but that doesn’t mean he somehow forfeits his inherent right to own property.

    • Agreed!!…This revocation of a persons 2nd amendment rights( lets remember are birth and God given,not government given) was another ploy at “An on the way to a socialistic dictatorship government” taking rights away from the people(slowly but sure) .. BTW,Which soon wouldn’t matter what “social status” an individual falls in when they come for them ,and they will come!!. At one time it was just felons banned..now it is returning vets from the Middle East with PTSD and persons with certain mental health conditions…what classification/status will be named next on the Gun Grabbers hit list?..If I understand my history right…did not the Federal Government give convicted felons,violent or not, the choice and option to have a gun(fully automatic assault rifle) placed in their hands..(or serve remainder of his time)and shipped off to Vietnam and Laos to fullfill a Federal Government agenda post GCA 1968…Violence was just as great as it was then as it is now just more racially motivated then than now

  8. PL 265 was just revised in NY to make it clear that black powder weapons are also forbidden. So, no flintlocks for felons. Sorry, I just wanted to say “flintlocks for felons”.

    Now, I do believe that Illinois has a process for to obtain a relief from civil disabilities, yes? If so, did he take the opportunity to take advantage of it?

    That said, this is an issue that must be addressed as more and more things are made into felonies.

    • Sadly, not everyone has the financial resources to jump through all the legal hoops required to restore their rights. The end result is a system that denies the right to self defense to the poor, disadvantaged or those without political connections (this is Illinois we’re talking about) – something I don’t see progressives wringing their hands about.

  9. What makes a convicted felon with a gun any more dangerous than someone with a history of violent/angry behavior but no criminal record?

  10. Let us view this matter from the core perspective.

    Laws exist to punish people for making poor decisions. As such they make very poor tools to prevent crime, which is an entirely different proposition. Murder is illegal no matter what one’s legal status is. So is theft, and so is assault.

    A law mandating that it is illegal for a felon to own a firearm is just as pointless as a law mandating that concealed carry is illegal.Criminals intent on violent crimes could give two spits about Unlawful Use of a Weapon or Felon in Possession charges.

    If a felon has paid their debt to society, they should have their rights restored accordingly.If that person is such an evil man that they shouldn’t be allowed to own a gun, then they shouldn’t be allowed past the prison gates.

  11. Hey where’s the NAACP, Al Sharpton, and Jesse Jackson in this? A young black man was shot. They have nothing to say? Oh wait, Homer is black too. Would they be speaking out if he had been white? Hmmmm. Why don’t these “community leaders” spend more time educating folks in their community instead of running their mouths on TV for money and publicity? I bet things like this would not happen as often.

    • I don’t think that there is a lot of ambiguity over what happened here, and that is what has caused the mess in Florida.

  12. Victimless crimes have to be taken off the books. Violent crimes must carry extreme prison sentences with no chance for parole. The revolving door policy of the prison system has to be replaced. Lock them up until the arthritis doesn’t let them pull the trigger and let everyone who didn’t do anything particularly damaging, such as drug charges, out of prison. Once these reforms have been made, then it will be the time to completely restore every single right of every ex-felon that has paid their due to society.

  13. There should be a mechanism in place for restoration of said rights. If one keeps out of trouble for “x” years, a petition can be made, and after review by whomever is chosen to be the determining authority (say, a panel of 3 judges), a yay or nay.

    • Sounds like a ‘may issue’ rights permit. No thanks. If you’ve proven you can keep your nose clean for x years then there is no reason to convince 3 people that you’re now in good standing.

      • I think in the case of an individual convicted of a felony, “may issue” becomes reasonable. Unlike individuals who have never demonstrated the poor decision making that leads to a felony record.

        • And if “they” put 3 judges on the panel who reject restoring gun rights in 100% (or 99% since some former politician may end up there) of the cases?

  14. I am surprised that anyone at TTAG would oppose felons owning guns.
    Isn’t one of our main arguments against gun control that criminals don’t obey the law?
    If that is truely the case, why will a law that prohibits a felon from legally owning a gun, prevent him from getting one?
    From the above story , it obviously doesn’t.
    Why send a reformed felon who is now a respected citizen back to prison for defending himself?
    With very, very few exceptions I oppose gun control laws.
    They don’t work.

      • Age restriction is the only one I can think of at the moment.

        I believe no one under the age of seven (7) should be allowed to legally own a gun.
        ( Actually, I also support a minimum of a first grade education. See how I snuck that one under the table?)

        • As my three kids are 5, 7 and 9, I can understand the idea of an age restriction. I would submit, however, that removing the age restriction and instead adding a requirement for parental consent for minors to purchase firearms would accomplish what you’re trying to do. My nine-year-old is ready for his first .22. My seven-year-old will not be ready for many years, at the rate he’s going. 😉

        • Sorry, without a minimum age of seven (7) I can’t sneek my education requirement through.

          While I have no problem with your five (5) year old child purchasing his / her own gun. Assuming he / she earned the money him / herself ( I believe in raising responsible children).
          I absolutely insist on a first grade education. Can’t have illiterates running around with guns.

        • Well, as long as it’s just you and me deciding the fate of the country [;)], I’ll agree to the 7 years of age requirement as long as the safe handling of firearms is part of the curriculum, to include the 4 rules and the safe loading, unloading and firing of a reasonably-priced firearm. Say, maybe, the Ruger 10/22 will be the standard weapon for public schools? Maybe make that the Friday phys-ed activity, instead of dodgeball.

        • Done deal.
          My people will call your people.

          Don’t forget to vote for my bill.
          It’s HB # b302000

          See you on “The Hill”.

  15. If a felon is out of prison he paid his debt and shouldn’t have any of his rights denied. I could agree to voluntary time limited suspension of a felon’s constitutional rights as a deal to be released early on probation for violent offenders.

  16. Colorado’s constitution contains a RKBA provision (Article II, section 13) and court cases have held that a defendant charged with possession of weapons by a previous offender can raise that constitutional provision as an affirmative defense if they were possessing firearms for the purposes of self-defense.

    [blockquote]

    Affirmative defense. A defendant charged under section 18-12-108 who presents competent evidence showing that his purpose in possessing weapons was the defense of his home, person, and property as recognized by this section thereby raises an affirmative defense. People v. Ford, 193 Colo. 459, 568 P.2d (1977).
    [/blockquote]

    I suspect that courts will have to revisit these laws in light of Heller and McDonald. If I was to guess I’d say that they will uphold the laws but they will require states to adopt some means by which the convict can petition for restoration of his/her rights. There are already provisions in some states for convicts to have their right to vote restored, so I suspect the new laws will follow a similar path, i.e., minimum time, proof of good behavior, etc.

  17. I’m definitely for harsher punishments for people with priors. A new scale of punishments based on prior crimes would be great for this. But out right prohibition doesn’t work. I also want more corporal punishment. Give people a bigger reason to fear going back.

  18. Guns for nonviolent felons: Okay sure, after a period of time and good behavior, why not?

    Guns for violent felons? Are you sh!tting me? You people must be insane.

    • [overused joke alert]
      I wouldn’t sh!t you Ralph; you’re my favorite turd.

      Seriously, though. If they’re dangerous to society, why are they being released? If they aren’t dangerous to society, what’s the harm?

  19. If a non-law-abiding-felon wants to get a gun, they’ll get a gun whether its “allowed” or not.

    I’d be in favor of no legal guns during parole/probation. After that, the sentence has been served and the legal debt to society repaid.

  20. Felons convicted of crimes of violence, or involving firearms in any way should be banned from owning guns, IMHO. White color crimes, illegal acts not involving any real danger to others I think deserve a judge’s attention. There should be the option of allowing 2A rights to remain and a judge should make that determination.

  21. Ok here is a little clarification to all those with little idea on how the firearm rights go, there are 2 types of weapons under disability that make it illegal for felons to own firearms. First is state, this is typically only for violence and drug related crimes. The second is federal in which crimes where the sentence over 1 year will disqualify anyone as well. To be a felon and own a gun a few avenues are available. The first is the expungement, sealing, or anullment of the record. The second is to file for firearm rights back on every case that is a disqualifier, note this way charges by case number for reopening the case to give the rights back if the judge of convicting county agrees. These are the main ways to be a felon and have a handgun legally, not in all methods of obtaining rights back the subject must be off probation or parole for a minimum of 5 years and show they have led a law biding life and have a high chance of doing so in the future

    • Differing states have differing ways to regain your Inalienable right to posses protective weapons (similar to voting as voting isn’t a federal issue).

      As I understand it, there is a mechanism through the BATF to regain your rights if a person became entangled in the federal system. Problem is, it’s unfunded.

      Convenient.

  22. At the end of his SENTENCE, a convict should be able to petition a court and have ALL his civil rights restored, voting and gun possession included. If he’s out on parole, then he can wait. If he’s pardoned, I thought he got all his rights back anyway, but if he doesn’t he should. If the sentence isn’t long enough to protect society against a criminal, then maybe society needs to reconsider the sentences. “Sex Offender” registries in particular are useless and contemptible, at least as they have become.

    If a man is a lifetime crook, if a reasonably free society, somebody will shoot him.

    • I’m not even sure he should have to petition the courts for restoration. I believe it should be automatic. If you are behind bars no rights other than a roof, 3 squares and reasonable medical care (no elective treatments). When they open the doors you should be able to go to the nearest FFL and re-arm. As you stated, repeat offenders won’t repeat for long.

  23. No violent felon should get his gun rights back– ever. But then, I’m not sure any violent felon should ever see the light of day again.

    Non-violent crime- it depends. Some crimes aren’t actually violent, but involve a high risk of violence (burglary, drug dealing). Others (embezzlement) don’t.

    • I think it’s important to define “violent crime.” A guy who commits a predatory crime, or commits armed robbery is different than a guy who get’s in a fight in a bar. The latter is stupid, yes, and maybe deserves some punishment, but it is far different from someone who sets out to commit a violent crime.

  24. I think this is a problem for our courts and incarceration systems. If a felon goes to prison, serves a lengthy sentence, and is set free then why do we assume he is still dangerous? I understand that criminals have vastly different minds than you and I, However if a criminal is released from prison and is still considered “Dangerous” then the problem is with the prisons.

  25. I might be willing to vote in favor of giving convited felons back their guns rights, especially if they were convicted of non-violent crime, but NOT a concealed-carry permit of any kind. It would be kind of like living in New Jersey.

  26. This is kind of a mixed bag. Short answer is yes. Show me where in the constitution where it says no. Longer answer is still yes. If it is such a great idea for for felons to not to be able to own and carry a firearm, then why did they not put it into the constitution? Historically in this country up until the first unconstitutional FFA felons where allow to. How has this made us safer?

  27. It depends on the felony. Violent felons- hell, no.

    Non-violent felons, maybe. After completing their parole, and paying all restitution.

  28. The FFA and federal gun law generally has been written carelessly, over-broadly, and often blurring the distinctions made in state law which Congress was pretending to rely upon when it created the law. Instead of respecting the deliberate choice of state legislatures to classify an offense as a misdemeanor or felony, the Congress chose to simply treat any state offense having a maximum possible sentence of “a year-and-a-day or more” as a felony. That would have been a good definition in most states in 1750, but hardly fits the modern trend of allowing wide flexibility of sentencing for diverse reasons, including allowance for judicial supervision of perceived substance abusers over a longer rehab period. The fed statute should be changed to accept state determinations of what is felonious, and the gun laws should, as they do in the states, refer to crimes of violence and sex offenses, not broadly to the hundreds, thousands of malum prohibitum offenses. For example, should a minor but intentional violation of the EPA carbon dioxide standard cause the loss of gun rights? Constitutional rights aren’t like candy, some bauble to be taken away to punish regulatory misconduct. Should violently dangerous boys and girls suffer prohibition for some period? Sure. Should rehabilitation be possible after a period? Sure. Should repeat violent offending be a factor in long prohibitions? Definitely.

  29. Yes, absolutely. Number one, people change. And secondly I think that just about everyone with a pulse has committed a felony at some point in their life, if not many. Unless they happened to be in a coma throughout their teens and twenties. And anyone that does not think that is a realistic view, is probably rather ignorant of what constitutes a felony. With that said, I do believe that violent felons should have a somewhat lengthy probation period, just to make sure they can behave in society before they get that right automatically restored.

    But the most atrocious gun control law that should have gun owners marching in the streets, is the Lautenberg Amendment, that was attached to the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997 by Frank Lautenberg from NJ, that takes away your second amendment rights for a misdemeanor DV conviction. And to the best of my knowledge there is no process available too regain those rights. I strongly suggest that anyone interested in keeping their gun rights, should spend some time studying Domestic Violence law. It will scare the hell out of any rational person, when they find out what is considered Domestic Violence in the eyes of the law. In a nut shell anything a (man) does during a disagreement with a significant other, short of curling up into a fetal position and crying, is considered Domestic Violence.

    And for the record, I have never in my life been charged with anything, or ever been placed under arrest. But I have spent a considerable amount of time studying DV laws, after my closest friend got caught in the DV web. (He never laid a hand on anyone, nor is he in the least bit violent) And my ex-girlfriend that I had known for thirty years, and recently dated for a year, is an attorney who occasionally fills in on the bench, and is a self proclaimed feminist and woman’s rights activist. So I have had lots of exposure to the abuses that exist in the courts, when it comes to DV law. And I believe it is hands down the biggest threat to a person’s (a man‘s) right to own a gun.

    Maybe in the future the question of the day could be. Should someone convicted of misdemeanor Domestic Violence lose their right to own a gun?

  30. A felon can buy a car, he can buy a 5 gallon can of gasoline and a book of matches, he can buy a chainsaw or a machete. He can get a gun on the black market if he’s so inclined. If you can’t trust a guy with a legal gun, you can’t trust him with any of those things, and he shouldn’t be on the streets.

    Beyond that, restoration of rights should be one of the incentives for reform. We should welcome those who have paid their debt back into society with open arms. Otherwise, what reason is there for them to make a change? How will they see civil society as anything but an enemy and oppressor?

    We need to make it clear that there are benefits to following the rules. Not just punishments for failing to follow them.

  31. Yes, they have paid their debt. They should get their rights back!

    ERRR, What Jason says. 😉 Carrot and stick.

  32. If he “did his time” then he should be given another chance, and for sure allowed to defend himself, otherwise it’s a form of post-incarceration death sentence.

  33. To me rights are rights. They are granted me by God, not by man.
    I understand that if I violate the social compact, break a law, I am subject to punishment. Some punishments involve loss of liberty. A rough differential between felony and misdemeanor is that the former has the possibility of one year or more in the penitentiary. The latter carries up to a year, typically in county jail, I understand that is a very rough differentiation. Both are subject to probation and parole, both conditions are a form of custody by the state.
    My point is; while in the custody of the state I am subject to the loss of freedoms or rights to varying degrees but having fulfilled the terms of my probation, incarceration, and/or parole why would not all my rights be restored. If I have fulfilled my part of the social contract with society, am I then shunned by God for the rest of my life, in that God has determined through the courts that I no longer have rights.
    Should the felon be forever prohibited; from being able to speak freely, from attending the church of his choice, from being able to write a letter to the editor or his Congressman, from being able to go to his buddy’s house to watch the Super Bowl? Why is this fundamental right to keep and bear arms different?

  34. For those who don’t know. Any man who’s made a mistake and has spent a length of time in a institution to be punished, will not come out the same. That is not to say they don’t desire to and cannot change. There is so much stacked against them in the outside world, being a ex-con, never mind that to survive in a place like that, you have to become something less than civilized. It really takes a herculean effort of friends and family to help get some of these guys back on there feet and a productive member of society.

    Now, after pointing out the above for those who will never know, the old adage, “time heals” is very true in many respects. The young man (20s) who made the stupid mistake is not the same guy he was now that he’s in his forties, with wife, children, home, and church, on and on..

    Hate to us the U.K. as an example, considering their gun laws in general, I think they got it right as far as rehabilitation. As I’m aware, in the U.K., depending on the crime, after a amount of time has passed, they consider you rehabilitated, able to go on with your life without HAVING TO bring up your criminal past. Mind you it’s still there if needed to be looked up, i.e. child crimes, violent crimes, sexual crimes etc.

    I think there should be a time, beyond probation, as that seems that is a tool used in lieu to longer incarceration, that a ex-con should have to take, to gain their inalienable right(s) back. Give them time to decompress, get in the groove of life ( no, we don’t shank people for cutting in line at the Walmart like we did in the chow line).
    Given a length of time, lack of recidivism, and general showing good behavior, regaining your right to have firearms would be one of many reasons to keep ones nose on the straight and narrow (besides just desiring being a honest good natured person), on the march to being a good citizen. And no longer a subject, which is the reason I believe this rule even exist in the first place, considering the number of non-violent criminals behind bars.

    Homer Wright should have been allowed the legal means to protect himself and family in the privacy of his home. E.O.S.

  35. If we as a society feel a person is safe to walk the streets unsupervised then that person should be allowed to exercise all of the inalienable rights that everyone enjoys.

  36. *sigh*

    Guys, this is the same emotion driven argument as CPZs. The argument that simply making something illegall will make it magically disappear.

    Ban guns from schools? = No more school shootings.
    Ban guns from Banks? = No more bank robberies.
    Ban guns from felons? = No more repeat violent offenders with guns. Felons will be magically disarmed.
    Ban guns altogether? = No more gun crime. All guns just vanish.
    Ban cocaine/crack/meth/heroine? = No more drug abuse. All bad drugs will just vanish.

    The adage “If guns are outlawed, then only outlaws will have guns.” Applies here just fine. If a felon is reformed and is no longer inclined to commit crime then he should have every right that you and I have. He’s not going to commit a crime wether he’s armed or not. If he isn’t reformed and is still inclined to commit crime then he’s going to acquire a gun anyway, BECAUSE HE DOESN’T OBEY THE LAW. All this is doing is disarming the reformed felons.

    On a side note; I can’t figure out why the NAACP hasn’t jumped on this one a while ago. It can easily be argued that disarming felons disproportionately disarms blacks.

  37. Legally speaking yes they should be able to have a firearm. If a convicted felon has served their time and are no longer on parole then they should be able to have a firearm. Yes the comments above about petitioning to have reinstated is what you have to do but I think that is unconstitutional.

    No where in the Constitution does it provide for the taking away of the 2nd amendment because someone has committed a crime. Now one could say that all powers not granted to the federal government by the Constitution are reserved for the states and therefore the states could do this (as many do). BUT even that is unconstitutional based on the 14th amendment which says, No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States. What that means is that the state does not have the power to take away rights granted under the constitution. Since the federal and state government cant take away your rights then clearly not allowing a felon to own a firearm after serving their time violates the Constitution.

    Now I am not saying I want felons to own firearms but if we truly are a nation of law then we need to follow it regardless of personal opinion because if we dont then there really is no justice.

    • As a felon (one offence by the way) considering myself to be reformed and law abiding (which I am) I constantly wrestle with the many obsticals set forth in my path. A plumber by trade , but will never hold a license to do plumbing as occupational licenses are forbidden to felons .This hinders my ability to provide for my wife and two children (all 3 came after prison). I cannot vote for leaders in which to put my trust that theywill make this country and world for that matter a better one for my children and undoubtedly my far far off (one can hope) future grandchildren . I have lost a basic right to defend my family and home . If a wack-job decides to break into my house with a mind set to do evil what am I to do ? Throw a f’n shoe at him ? Tell him move on to the next house I’m a felon and its not fair that you come in here because the federal government will not let me defend myself nor my family so shew. Get real .
      These laws are so out of touch to the point that it actually endangers the inocent. My son and daughter did nothing yet they are being given a sh***y hand in life to start with . I have been doing everything right yet can’t get ahead. Can’t get better pay.Can’t unless I get a journeymans license. If you only knew the mental anguish I go through on a daily basis… a lesser man would have said f it a long time ago. It seems I have exhausted every viable resource to get my rights back. My anxiety is threw the roof ! The government makes it impossible for exoffenders to live a normal life PERIOD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hate this !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My rights are GOD given and no man has power over me. I ask the Lord every day ” Will today be the day my fellow man will forgive me? Tell me Lord ,how to show them I am not that person any more… Lord protect my family in my inability too

      • Felons with guns is the politically correct way to say niggers with guns. I know that there are whites affected by this also, but the whole plan is set out at blacks. Who’s the higher percentage of felons? I agree if you allow violent prone people to have guns you’re crazy. But an ex drug offender or bad check writer, come on, be realistic! And here in Chicago, you can become a felon just by being close to someone elses drugs and the police can blame you. It happened to me and I’ve never been in trouble before that or after so do I “deserve” my rights taken away? I have four daughters, if I go into their room and find a rapist attacking my child do I deserve to go to jail for protecting them? But I will though! Like another person said, if a person wants a gun bad enough they will get it and use it for wrong. But if a person wants to be law abiding that means be a victim?

    • It’s a long shot but I’m in. I have a felony from defending myself against 3 attackers. It ruined my career (US Marines) and now I can never serve and re-enlist. I consider myself a law abiding citizen and have been trying to build a life for over 2 years now without getting so much as a traffic ticket. Just yesterday there was an armed man that the police were looking for in my neighborhood. If he entered my home I’d be defenseless. That was a wake up call. This needs to change.

  38. 1st off Im not posting my name or my email address because I dont want the cops beating down my door tomorrow. Im a non-violent felon from over 25yrs ago. I have had to endure so many setbacks in my life because of this conviction there’s no way getting my rights restored could ever replace the losses. If your convicted of a felony you are handed a life sentence. Your forced to be underemployed or self employed. The only way to get a pardon is to get on a list and wait till the last day of office of the elected official doing the pardon. They wait till thier last day in office to do it because they know they will be thrown out of office if they do it sooner. I dont think that violent offenders should ever have the right to own a gun again but there is no reason to treat non-violent offenders the same way. I dont have any guns in my house but I have plenty at a hunting cabin owned by someone else. I have never stopped hunting and never will. My 14yr old son likes to hunt too but I guess my conviction has infringed upon his right to own a gun too since he is a minor under my control that means his guns are in my possession ? Thats just not right. The only thing a non-violent felon can do is the same as me and hope that if you get caught with a gun you get a judge that will take into account that your a non-violent felon and have stayed out of trouble. If they keep cracking down on gun laws the only people with guns will be the bad guys then we are all in danger.

  39. I too am a felon , no problems for 18 years. (non Violent) I had a gambling and drinking problem and wrote bad checks in 2 states. I can seal my record in the state i live in. However because i don’t live in the other state I can only file for a governors
    pardon. The chances of getting one in that state are equal to my chances of winning the lottery ! However , if i lived in that state for the last 4 years i could petition the court i was convicted in .
    statistically , the chances that a felon will re-offend after 1 year is very high , after 2 years it gets better and after 5 years almost no chance of re-offending. The right to vote is getting some attention , but almost nobody wants to tackle the second amendment rights of felons. I agree that the constitution does not allow for removing any rights and if you are too dangerous to be on the street you should still be locked up.

  40. Still fighting the good fight… I believe I will be able to get my journeyman license after all. A lot of writing and waiting but I may have won. And if not… o the bitterness . Still living in fear of the break in.

  41. I’m a so called “violent felon.” These tags, non-violent felon versus no violent felon are really just political buzzwords, and frankly, shortcuts to thinking. My “violent” felony stems from a bar fight. Some jackass took a swing at me, and I beat him up. This was 16 years ago. I was 21 years old. In that time, I have earned a degree in engineering technology, bought a home, and property in several states. I am married and have a 10 year old son. I am lawfully barred from obtaining the means with which to defend my life, the lives of my family and my property. The restrictions on rights, and social stigmatization felons face everyday in America is nothing short of creating a second class citizenry and is wholly evil.

    Self defense is an innate characteristic of life, it is biologically hardwired into all of us. A law barring felons from owning firearms affects ONLY felons who have no wish to break the law. By definition, this makes them law abiding citizens. The felon who wishes to return to a life of lawlessness? He already has a gun, because he doesn’t care about breaking the law. Once a person’s sentence is completed – to include incarceration, probation/parole, and restitution – they should automatically restored to full citizenship, including the right to own firearms.

    To believe that barring felons from owning firearms is justice is to believe it is the item which is evil. The American legal system states that one is innocent until proven guilty. The sheer possession of a piece of property should not be a crime. To believe that a prior convicted felon will commit a crime simply because he/she owns a firearm is to believe them guilty with no evidence. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and logically fallacious.

    It is the right of every human being to defend themselves, their families, and their property. Thusly, it is their right to be armed in what way they so choose.

  42. I think that those felons that have had violent tendencies and those that have been convicted of motivated violent crimes while using a firearm should consider their rights gone forever ( or especially if their second offense ); they chose that path; That’s something that the judge/jury could tag on as part of the sentencing. Otherwise, it should be a waiting period of so many years – like 5 to 10 years after all probation/time is completed; along with a mandatory 30 day waiting period to vet the possibility of an immediate need- unless they are convicted of other similar crimes[not traffic violations/minor offenses like jaywalking] during that period.. IF they are rotating thru the penal system- their chances at restoring rights should restart that 10 year waiting period. But in the end, most felons that have rehabilitated should get their rights back. Petitioning the govt/judicial system is costly and beyond the reach of most; to the point it’s unfair and keeps most from even trying. A lower level approach of them petitioning the DA’s office, with a background check for recent history (past # of years) should be sufficient to grant the rights back.
    Interestingly enough, from what I’ve ran into, most repeat offenders- felons or not- don’t really expect to live to a ripe old age anyways; so if they are continuously in the penal system- their rights should not be restored till they are out of the system for at least 10 years (arbitrary ).
    Criminals that are convicted of more than one offense of a violent & intentional crime like burglary, hold-ups,etc should have all their rights removed -permanently. But this is something that a judge/jury should contemplate at the time of sentencing; not a blanket approach. It’s at that point that they, the jury and the judge, determine whether or not the convicted should ever have a shot at restoring his rights.
    To some extent, I think that a restriction for a felon not to be able to conceal carry or open carry is a fine restriction. I think a longer mandatory waiting period when they attempt to purchase a gun is fine as well. But in the home, and on their property, they should be able to defend themselves unless they were those already tagged as violent felons committing intentional violent crimes. There should be exemptions & rules put into place if they want to go target shooting/hunting etc if they are allowed to own a weapon.

    To make it harder for criminals to get guns that should not, I think that the govt’s should adopt a “Red” drivers license / ID card system to easily visibly flag those that should not be able to purchase firearms. When they earn their rights back, they get their rights back and get a “clean” drivers license. When they go to prison, their ID gets flagged once again- back to “Red”.. Then most reasonable people selling their firearms could easily check if you should sell to them easily by asking for their current drivers license/ID. FFL Dealers would still run background checks. I would watermark the cards with a “F” as well, so that the status is evident if they make a copy of the ID.

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