New York Times Calls for the Restoration of Felons’ Gun Rights

GLOCK unchained? (courtesy delaware online.com)

“At least 65 million people in the United States, or more than one in four adults, have a criminal record, which can mean anything from an arrest to a prison sentence,” the New York Times editorial In Search of Second Chances opines. “This can trigger severe penalties that continue long after punishment is complete, according to a new report by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Many of these penalties, known as collateral consequences, are mandatory, and are imposed regardless of the seriousness of the offense or the person’s individual circumstances . . .

Laws can restrict or ban voting, access to public housing, gun possession and professional and business licensing. They can affect a person’s immigration status, parental rights, credit rating, ability to get a job, and eligibility for benefits. In all, more than 45,000 laws and rules serve to exclude vast numbers of people from fully participating in American life.

Did you catch that? Gun possession! And no, they didn’t walk it back by asserting that violent offenders should be denied their gun rights in the interests of public safety.

The report makes several recommendations, including the repeal of most mandatory post-conviction penalties, except for those specifically needed to protect public safety. Where the penalties are not mandatory, they should be imposed only if the facts of a case warrant it. The report also recommends that the process for restoring a person’s rights and status be simple, clear and accessible.

No doubt the Times will make that point – should gun rights advocates’ argument that felons’ gun rights should be restored find fertile ground. Still, could this be the one gun-related issue upon which the left and right agree?

Conservatives and liberals alike agree that it is unfair to continue to punish people who have already served their time. In his 2004 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush said, “America is the land of second chance, and when the gates of the prison open, the path ahead should lead to a better life.”

The point is not to excuse or forget the crime; in the Internet era that wouldn’t be possible anyway. Rather, it is to recognize that in America’s vast criminal justice system, where 14 million people are arrested a year and 2.2 million are put behind bars (virtually all of whom will one day be released), second chances are imperative. It is in no one’s interest to keep a large segment of the population on the margins of society.

In my dreams.

 

comments

  1. avatar Vhyrus says:

    Considering the Times believes that completely innocent people shouldn’t own guns, it wouldn’t be hard for them to argue that any conviction at all would be enough to prevent gun ownership because it is ‘specifically needed to protect public safety’.

    1. avatar theCRASE says:

      They probably don’t mind a bit if a felon has their gun rights restored since they can then use that as a reason to try and have all gun rights removed. I can see the headline now. “Gun rights restored by the SCOTUS to felon’s, millions of violent criminals now eligible to purchases guns.” The story will go on to bash anyone and everyone who owns a firearm and doesn’t want to be a pacifist.

      1. avatar dcarmichiel says:

        OOOOKAY LETS MAKE THIS ARGUMENT…I HAVE BEEN CONVICTED 5 TIMES OF POSS OF STOLEN PROERTY NEVER BEEN EVEN ACCUSED OF ANYTYPE OF VIOLENT CRIME EVEN MISDEAMEANOR LEVEL. SO 25 YEARS LATER I STILL CANNOT GET HOUSING IN SOME APPTS AND CANNOT GET A BUSSINESS LICENSE AS A CONTRACTOR FOR ANY TYPE OF BUSSINESS FAIR>??? EQUITABLE?? WILL THEY TAKE THESE THINGDS ON A CASE BY CASE BASIS?? WHO KNOWS BUT AS I SEE IT THIS WONT LIKELY FLY AND IF IT DOES I FEAR FOR THE SIDE EFFECTS

        1. avatar KissMyWookiee says:

          FYI: The caps-lock key is stuck on your knocked-off keyboard.

    2. avatar roger says:

      all none violent and non gun offenders should be allowed to recover gun rights along with other rights after serving time and satisfactorily completing parole or other form of supervision establishing reputable and law abiding behavior exhibiting no recidivism

      1. avatar Stuki says:

        Or just cut the crap and stop infringing on people’s rights once out of jail, period. Almost no violet crime is committed with legally acquired guns. Ex felons, simply due to the environment they tend to hail from, are much more likely to be at the receiving end of crime than most. Hence, in practice, it is doubly important for the subgroup of ex felons who have gone straight, to have easy access to effective means of crime deterrence and self defense.

  2. I’m sure the times will edit the story in due time. The anti-gunners always twist THIS type of thing into “The NRA wants Felons to have guns!”

    1. avatar Vhyrus says:

      The nice thing about the internet is that now there is a digital record of positions, so if they try to twist this we can simply show them their own words and say ‘oh REALLY?’.

    2. avatar The Brotherhood of Steel says:

      No, they’ll twist it to say that ONLY felons deserve guns.

      1. avatar Jennifer says:

        I became a felon not because I did something wrong but because a roommate that lived in my house did something wrong. I had no idea what the person was doing when I was away at work.. Cops came by and questioned, I was called a liar by them even though I told them the truth… I was given a harsher sentence for something I didn’t do or have anything to do with. I grew up in the country where fire arms are used for the procurement of food. I am unable to buy a firearm to use in that endeavor. You should not put all felons in the same category. Not all felons are violent nor are they all guilty of a crime. Look at me… I have had a felony on my record for ten yrs. and I still do not get jobs easy or even apts easy… I can’t get loans or credit because of it. Do not be a part of the problem. Be proactive and allow people that have white collar crimes that are not violent nor harmful to the people to have their gun rights restored.

        1. avatar The Brotherhood of Steel says:

          Madame, I in fact do agree with you. Felons having completed their sentence for whatever their crime is should indeed be allowed their natural rights back. I was merely making a mockery of the Times.

      2. avatar J Thomas says:

        Please explain if this is fair…… An 18 year “Kid” was driving around with friends and the police pulled over the car. The police, at gun point, got everyone out of the car and made them lay on the ground face down in 23 degree (F) weather. The police kept saying that a car fitting the description of the same one we were driving had a B.O.L.O ( Be on the look out). The police were extremely mean and ruff. They were using excessive force with out provocation of any kind. Long story short. I had no idea why we were pulled over. It was the first time ever being in such a volatile situation with law enforcement in my entire life. The police kept saying numerous reasons for why they pulled us over. One reason for being accosted was that we were involved in an armed robbery (even though we had no fire arms of any kind). Another was that we were involved in a hit and run accident an hour earlier. The car had no damage what so ever. We did nothing wrong at all. We were simply driving to a family members house to visit and spend time. The cops messed with my head so much and had me so scared that when they asked me name, I gave them a false name. I was so scared that I was not thinking correctly. I was also young and had no understanding that it was a serious (Felony) offense. Ultimately I was charged with a fourth degree felony and sentenced to probation. This happened in New Jersey, were they do not have misdemeanors of any kind. I successfully completed probation with no problems what so ever. I have never been in trouble since or before. The sad thing is I can not go and buy a gun to go hunting with. All I want to do is go hunting and teach my kid how to hunt safely and correctly. We all only live one time. To have our rights taken for the rest of our lives for a stupid mistake is cruel and unusual punishment. I was young, scared, dumb and ultimately made a mistake that will strip me of my 2nd amendment for my entire life. I paid my debt to society. I’m not asking for a concealed carry permit for a hand gun. I just want to have my long gun rights restored. I have a lot of property that I would love to hunt and a kid that wants to learn how too hunt themselves. People make mistakes and to be punished for your entire life far exceeds any and all punishments. I am now 33 years old. I made my mistake at the age of 18., fifteen years ago. I have a college degree. I have no mental disorders and most of all I am a productive member of society that pays taxes. Do you really think it is fair that I can never again buy a fire-arm to hunt with, or to never purchase a fire-arm for my child to teach them how to hunt safely and correctly as a father? This is non American and we need more people to realize that not every person convicted of a felony is going to buy a gun to go ahead and use the fire-arm illegally. Not every person that made a mistake in life should be penalized with a life sentence of the government taking away fundamental constitutional rights that were endowed upon us by our founding fathers. As I said before we only live this life one time. We all make mistakes. This is America the land of FREEDOM AND OPPORTUNITY. The land of the brave and the land of the American Dream. All I want is the opportunity to have a second chance at a unhindered life. Without the fear of being thrown in jail for possessing a firearm with no criminal intent. The only intent would be to feed my family, from hunting, and to pass on to my kid what my grandfather and father passed onto me about hunting and shooting the legal, safe and correct ways.

  3. avatar Jandrews says:

    I’ll be back with a witty comment as soon as I can figure out how to get these pigs back on the ground.

    One sec.

    1. avatar Chip in Florida says:

      Try birdshot.

      1. avatar brentondadams says:

        On a pig? I guess it depends if you want to ground ’em or kill ’em.

  4. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    IMHO felons who can’t be trusted with firearms shouldn’t be out walking the streets because the government is impotent to stop them from acquiring firearms and even if they can’t get them they can do nearly as much damage with a kitchen knife or a baseball bat anyway. For those who can be trusted I believe they can get their records expunged. The process may be more difficult than it needs to be, I’m not a felon so I wouldn’t know. But I do think that felons should have to demonstrate their good behavior before they’re allowed to vote or suck my hard earned tax money for pubic housing, etc.

    Also, I think the columnist might be throwing in misdemeanor convictions with felonies to boost the numbers.

    1. avatar BR549 says:

      Those felons who can’t be trusted will manage to gain access to guns anyway. What remains as the most crucial factor here is why so many members of our once proud culture are rapidly becoming disenfranchised. Who or what is causing that? Corrupt legislature? Dumbing down of the school system? Secularization? If the finger of blame is to pointed anywhere, it should be toward those how had been entrusted to maintain or make better or system of government and along the guidelines of our Constitution.

      Nowhere in the Constitution does it state that felons who have paid their debt to society may not have their rights returned ……. unless I missed that part. In fact, if the rate of recidivism keeps climbing, again, it points to piss poor management and even worse generation and implementation of policy.

      Many of these felons are merely the “miners’ canaries” of our failed foreign and domestic policies. They are also the “miners’ canaries” of corrupt and failed agricultural policy, since diet plays such a huge part in cognitive behavior. But what is likely to happen? Most likely, felons will merely have their rights returned, but nothing at all will be done to address the gross incompetence and corruption within our three branches of government that allowed the underlings to stray so far from the nest in the first place.

      Just points to ponder.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        “… why so many members of our once proud culture are rapidly becoming disenfranchised. Who or what is causing that? Corrupt legislature? Dumbing down of the school system? Secularization?”

        Yes.

      2. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

        What Mr. Sense said. It mostly boils down to the breakdown of the nuclear family, which was inadvertently encouraged by our federal government. It’s not that boys without fathers can’t grow up to be good citizens, but they often grow up having never once seen a parent get up in the morning and go to work. For that matter neither have their parents or their grandparents. In the late 40s a black 19 year old was more likely to be employed than a white 19 year old. It was the introduction of the welfare state that freed women up to be promiscuous. You don’t need a baby daddy to hang around when you’ve got Uncle Sugar to feed your babies. You take a kid that grows up out of this and dump him in a school with several hundred other kids just like him and he grows up thinking that work is stupid. Selling drugs on the street corner makes so much more sense than flipping burgers for minimum wage. And so the cycle goes on.

    2. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      I’ve helped a couple of friends expunge their records. It’s not terribly difficult.
      It does take the help of an attorney and some minor filing fees.
      Both are good people who just made seriously bad decisions. Once.

      1. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

        You should win a Pulitzer Prize for debunking a New York Times article with a response you could fit on a Tweet.

  5. avatar Okierim says:

    Either today is 01 April on the nyt calendar or someone didnt check with their editor before sending this out

    1. avatar JasonK says:

      Well, it’s an editorial so it’s not the NYT specifically. A lot of news outlets like to give a voice to a side they don’t normally cover to have the appearance of balance.

  6. avatar Mike says:

    Once you are a convicted felon tough rocks. You loose many parts of your life. Firearms is one voting is another. The NACDL and their boot lickers can jump up a fat mans keister for all I care.

    1. avatar Wendy says:

      Oh, so if you did something stupid at age 19, you should be marked for life? No opportunity for redemption, even after you have fulfilled all the obligations of your judgment and sentence?

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      Yeah the word ‘felony’ is used more than you’d think. If you’re going to take away someone’s gun rights for violent felonies, okay, but I think it should be enumerated in the law (robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, etc).

    3. avatar Anon in CT says:

      There’s way too many things that are “felonies” these days.

      Robbery, assualt with a deadly weapon, murder, attempted murder, and other crimes of violence – yeah, you should lose your gun rights for life. Hunting out of season? Importing the wrong kind of African hardwoods? Not so much.

    4. avatar Another Robert says:

      The posts immediately above referring to what might be called ‘felony inflation” are all true enough. On the other hand (and this is particularly for Wendy’s post), even in Texas you have to try pretty damn hard to get an actual felony conviction for a first-time “something stupid”, at 19 or any other age. Before someone actually gets a final conviction involving actual imprisonment, there is generally a whole string of priors that resulted in a pre-trial diversion, a deferred adjudication, and/or a regular probation, none of which counts as a “final conviction” if successfully completed. A final felony conviction for a first-time non-violent offense is only a little less rare than the proverbial hen’s teeth.

      1. avatar Mike says:

        Precisely. With diversions and options unless the crime is one of violence then getting a felony on your first offense is very rare. Once somebody commits the offense that draws a felony conviction it is not like they did not know what was coming. Bob on simple possession or VERY small amounts I would tend to agree. However drug dealers are poison/death peddlers and receive mercy only from idiots and fools.. They deserve a long drop with a short rope.

  7. avatar Another Robert says:

    Vyrhus is right about the NYT and guns; they will have no problem advocating the “public safety” exception vis-à-vis gun rights restoration. The Times is primarily interested in getting felons the vote, and yes, that is because felons are primarily a Democrat constituency. That’s not a snide crack, it’s a fact.

  8. avatar Pascal says:

    By denying people any way to get a job, a place to live, a car and many other things one just simply needs to live, you are in fact simply creating more criminals

    As far as guns, it is black and white what will happen, just from the quote above

    The report makes several recommendations, including the repeal of most mandatory post-conviction penalties, except for those specifically needed to protect public safety.

    They will simply make guns a “public safety” concern — done! — no guns for you

    Just like Universities no longer teach “how” to think, but “what” to think, prisons do not rehabilitate nor teach any useful skill that could keep people from going back to prison. Simply waving a magic wand and saying “your rights are back” does not help felons in any way. I see this as another ploy by the democrats to create yet another dependent class

  9. avatar The Brotherhood of Steel says:

    No way…

  10. avatar Braenen says:

    … IT’S A TRAP!!!

  11. avatar Rick says:

    This was in the Times??

    Either one of their (covert) gun-owning editors got hammered for a felony or it’s The Sign of the Apocalypse.

    I’d take either end of that bet…

  12. avatar Readmore says:

    It’s not like there much of a right to gun ownership left to restore in New York. The space between felons and the common citizen has narrowed considerably in recent years.

  13. avatar Steven says:

    I have a few of me childhood mates from LA who would be taking the piss out of who wrote this bulletin. To good to be true, therfore someting stinks….

  14. avatar Steven says:

    I have a few of me childhood mates from LA who would be taking the piss out of whoever wrote this bulletin. To good to be true, therfore someting stinks….

  15. avatar PhoenixNFA says:

    If you can’t trust them with a firearm, why are they out of prison??

  16. avatar GP1935 says:

    The list of things that are a felony is so long, and full of what were once minor offenses, that most people would be shocked if they were aware of the reality. I’m willing to back off of the lifetime penalties for non-violent crimes- or at least the restoration process should be easier for those.

    1. avatar JasonK says:

      Or maybe we could reclassify these non-serious but still significant infractions as something other than a felony.

      1. avatar GP1935 says:

        Good luck getting politicians to down-grade a crime. they all believe that being seen as “soft on crime” costs votes. Same principle that leads to stupid zero-tolerance rules in school.

  17. avatar Ralph says:

    In Timesworld (which is bordered to the north by Bizarro World and by Fantasyland everywhere else), the good news is that felons may be able to get their gun rights restored, and the bad news is that all guns are banned.

    The Times giveth and the Times taketh away.

  18. avatar Noishkel says:

    I fully agree with this concept. Depending on the crime someone that has been arrested and convicted should be allowed to have a ‘second chance’ when they have completed. I’d go so far as to say that you should get your rights back day one after you finish a prison sentence. Again… with the civet of any extenuating circumstances.

  19. avatar Mick says:

    The principle that if one cannot be trusted with a firearm, one should not be trusted without a keeper just keeps rattling in my head.

  20. avatar Chris says:

    When I was young, I used to think that felons have rightfully lost their rights, and don’t deserve them. Then as I aged, I started to see that the government’s favorite thing to do is to make criminals out of its citizens any way it can. I now believe that NON-VIOLENT felons should have their rights restored. If they were convicted for using a gun in a crime, or for an unjustified violent encounter, they shouldn’t.

  21. avatar Frank Masotti says:

    It may be “understood” that felons loose their gun rights. However it is not constitutional. What part of “shall not be infringed” do people and the states not understand?

  22. avatar eugene wright says:

    I believe a person who has served his time and has kept clean should be able to buy a gun in his name that gun can be traced if a person wants to use a gun to commit crimes you don’t have to buy it legal I am a felon I can not have a gun I love to go target shooting I can buy a gun all day long if I chose to I choose not to because I want to stay with in the law I do hope one day that law will change

  23. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    We are all potential felons. The list is long. My son is a non violent felon for walking in someones house in a psychotic haze. Instead of getting mental health treatment he spent a year in jail & pleaded guilty to a lesser charge-the alternative being 8-10 years. He is 36 years old and hasn’t lived with me since he was 7 months old. So YES I think many felons should have their rights restored.

  24. avatar DoctorBob says:

    Actually, I don’t have a problem with this, particularly if the felony was for a non-violent crime, and if the ex-felon has had a clean record after finishing his sentence for, say, 5 years. We are the ONLY country on the planet that punishes felons in perpetuity. No other country does that. Once a person pays their “debt t society,” then their rights should be fully restored, ALL their rights. I am encouraged to note that Illinois now makes it a crime to ask a person’s criminal record on a job application (but that doesn’t stop employers from doing background checks). I believe if we restore felon’s rights, INCLUDING the right to self-defense and the right to defend their families and loved ones, or put food on the table, then many or most felons would no longer find the need to commit crimes. Of course, if they DO commit a repeat crime, then lock them up. Simple as that.

    1. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

      I have never met anyone who holds your “paid his debt to society” opinion who would accept a convicted child rapist working at his kid’s school, nor explain how excepting those people from such employment would still be consistent with their paid their debt stance.

      My opinion is that people are perfectly willing to propose these policies and make the oh so impassioned arguments for them, only because it’s all purely academic and inconsequential to them personally. However, when the convicted embezzler is handling their 401K funds, the convicted molester is coaching their kid’s baseball team, or the convicted cocaine addict is their surgeon or pilot, then all of this “paid their debt” b.s. goes out the window and they’ll demand that people be barred from certain things even after having completed their prison sentences.

  25. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    This is just the Times arguing in general for further decoupling of responsibility from one’s actions. That’s the liberal platform going back for generations. In particular, they want felons’ voting rights restored, so they can line up to vote Democrat. They’ll never support firearms rights for felons or anyone else, as their fundamental worldview is authoritarian governance over the stupid, unwashed masses.

  26. avatar Cyril Smythe says:

    Does anyone besides me wonder whether this new, enlightened position on the part of the NYT might have something to do with the restoration of voting rights of a group of people who tend to vote Democrat in some swing states?

  27. avatar thomas e bell says:

    I live in South Georgia, out side of Savannah ga. I do not know the numbers , but you bet your sweet ass most of the thugs in savannah ga. do buy there gun’s at the gun store it’s far to easy to purchase one on the street;, They do not care what law is past or it they have the Right to own a gun they just get a gun . simple law’s do not fix thing’s if they did there would not be people dieing from drunk driver’s

  28. avatar John Massaro says:

    If the Second Amendment is indeed a Constitutional guarantee of individual possession and carriage of weapons, then the felon shouldn’t lose the right at all. There is no other Constitutional right that felons lose because of their crimes. In the Heller opinion, Scalia did a poor job of trying to reconcile this.

    1. avatar Bob says:

      Actually the right to vote is also guaranteed in the Constitution, just not in the Bill Of Rights. Convicted felons (felony, not a misdemeanor) also lose their right to vote.

      1. avatar John Massaro says:

        Where is the right to vote guaranteed in the Constitution? Article, Section, and Paragraph, please.

        1. avatar Bob says:

          Not in one paragraph, but in several places where it talks about how parts of the government will be elected by the people, and how the states will regulate voting, and the qualifications for voting. A couple of the Amendments also expanded the right to vote to include new classes of people (or to prevent denial of the right based on protected classes, e.g. women, race, religion, etc.)

        2. avatar Yellow Devil says:

          @ Bob: Nothing in the Constitution explicitly guarantees our right to vote in a Federal Election. What you list that the “right to vote shall not be infringed due to, take your pick, race or gender” because they specifically point out conditions where states THAT DO HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE IN THEIR STATE CONSTITUTION cannot make laws to deny the right to vote. It was a catch all line so that they can’t wiggle out of the spirit and meaning of the law. So basically if you have the right to vote in a state, it cannot be violated due those Federal Constitutional amendment. Now technically, it could be argued that a state that doesn’t have voting as a right in the state constitution can just do away with it altogether, but that’s something hypothetical that there is no point in going down.

          So no, there is no fundamental right to vote during a Federal election. I believe the Supreme Court decision Bush vs Gore confirmed that.

  29. avatar Bob says:

    This part set me off:
    “where 14 million people are arrested a year and 2.2 million are put behind bars”
    “At least 65 million people in the United States, or more than one in four adults, have a criminal record”

    14 million a year is over 4% of the population. Obviously, we have way too many laws, because we are arresting way too many people! We arrest more than the total population in less than 25 years!

    It’s time to look at our criminal laws, and eliminate the ones that don’t actually keep society safer. Start with our illegal drugs laws, for example.

  30. avatar John Massaro says:

    Those provide, for example, for election by the people but not the right of any individual to vote. Those are completely different things than an individual guarantee of the right to vote. If it were a Constitutional right, it couldn’t be taken away unless it were qualified, which is arguably the case with Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment. However, a supposed Second Amendment right to possess and carry weapons is unqualified.

    As far as those “protected class” amendments that you refer to, those guarantee the vote to no one. What they do is that they protect those classes against certain circumstances in which the right to vote might be denied to them. That is quite different than a guarantee of a right to vote.

    If what you say is true, the Nineteenth Amendment would read

    “The right of female citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State”

    instead of how it actually reads, which is

    “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State ON ACCOUNT OF SEX.” [emphasis added]

    Those are two very different things.

    1. avatar MarkPA says:

      John has this right. The drafters of the Constitution had some difficulty coming up with criteria for the right to vote. Ultimately, they left the qualification of voters in the hands of the legislatures of each state with just one initial limitation: the right to vote for House Representatives accrued to those eligible to vote for the more numerous chamber of the State’s legislature. So, essentially, we started out with hardly any guarantee of a right-to-vote for anyone. Under the Jackson administration the right-to-vote became substantially popularized; that is, it became NON-PC to maintain qualifications of voters on the basis of land-ownership, for example. Then, freedmen got a non-discrimination protection. Then women, then no-poll-tax (which protected the poor), and finally 18-year-olds. Today, as a practical matter, it’s pretty hard to raise a barrier to anyone voting who is a citizen and over 18. If someone is adjudicated insane or a felon, that’s still a Constitutional constraint. However, even the felon constraint is under some political pressure. Each State is absolutely free to grant relief for felons irrespective of the wisdom of doing so.

      1. avatar John Massaro says:

        @MarkPA: I don’t think we agree on the Second Amendment, but I appreciate your affirmatory words regarding the right to vote.

        1. avatar MarkPA says:

          You are welcome. The 2A is more complicated an issue than most of us would like to believe. There are bound to be points of disagreement. I’m interested in other peoples’ viewpoints when they have some new insight to contribute to the debate. Simply repeating the text doesn’t help me much. I memorized the text long ago.

  31. avatar OrderoftheCoif says:

    Many states bar future firearm possession only to those convicted of specific felony crimes of violence.
    Many states provide for felon’s rights to be restored after a period of rehabilitation. And
    Many sates provide for rights lost due to mental illness to be restored after the illness is controlled.

    I am proud that Minnesota is one of these forward looking states.

  32. avatar Dan says:

    I have said for years, “If someone cannot be trusted on the street with a gun, they cannot be trusted on the street. Period!” Perhaps there could be some sort of automatic expungement after something like 5 years. That way, if someone is going to get in trouble again, they will likely do so in that amount of time & previous convictions can be taken into account. If they stay out of trouble, the record disappears.

  33. avatar Alan Rose says:

    Much has been said about restoring felons’ voting rights, which comes up for five minutes every couple of years in the voting booth, but most media and politicians are loathe to breech gun rights for felons. I see it as an all or none proposition. Unfortunately here in VA, the Governor can (and has) restored voting rights to felons, but leaves gun rights restoration to existing law which entails a complicated and not inexpensive system of petitioning the courts after a relatively long period of good behavior. Should felons have their rights restored? I’m on the fence. These laws were put into place to prevent people from committing felonies in the first place. Obviously they have not been completely effective. Should felons have “all sins forgiven?” Ask a parole officer, you might find that many felons have a hard time resisting their prior activities.

  34. avatar Chief says:

    Do folks *really* believe folks who use guns to commit crimes should have their rights to own a gun restored?

    1. avatar Yellow Devil says:

      I would say blanket ban is not helpful. Not all felons who broke the law did it using a gun or were violent. Some actually learn their lesson, did the time and go on with their lives. If someone is determined to be still a danger, keep them locked up, and keep the non-violent offenders out of prison in the first place.

    2. avatar MarkPA says:

      It’s not in our interests to make restoration of 2A rights for FELONS our primary issue. We should be advocating a general vehicle for the restoration of ANYONE’s 2A rights based upon the particular circumstances. For example, a husband & wife break-up. She gets an order-of-protection against him; perhaps with justification. He retaliates and gets an OoP against her, not necessarily justified. Now, SHE is disabled-for-life; unable to protect herself and her children against her Ex or anyone else. Doesn’t such a case cry-out for a reasonable process for restoration of 2A rights?

      Once we get a general vehicle then convicted felons who have done-their-time will have such a general vehicle available to them as well. We – the 2A community – should be very circumspect about promoting relief for felons. Any advocacy specifically for felons – especially violent felons – will actually work to the disadvantage of the worthy among them. I’m sure that there are some worth among them; perhaps just a few – but even these few are deserving of relief. Let’s not shoot them in-the-foot by a poorly thought-out-choice of poster-child.

  35. avatar M.B. says:

    In this modern era, there are so many laws that you can’t help but break a few without even knowing it. Many states don’t automatically seal juvenile records when a person turns 18 either. I know one individual who did something stupid (and nonviolent) when they were 16 and didn’t realize it was still popping up in background checks and in police officer’s computers when they were well into their 30’s. Apparently it was popping up with no notification it was a juvenile offense either. He wondered why cops were always pulling him over and giving him a hard time for trifling offenses like having a dirty license plate. Finally a potential employer told him what was popping up on the background check and he realized what was going on. One single stupid incident from his teenage years had been making his life difficult for over 20 years without him realizing it.

    It cost $1700 to have the records sealed and his gun rights restored. $400 of this was court costs alone because they had to have the juvenile records sealed in juvenile court, and the gun rights restored in normal court, with a $200 filing fee each time.

    You would be amazed just how long one stupid mistake as a kid will haunt a person through the rest of their lives. It’s only getting worse as computers record everything now, and they keep making it harder and more expensive to have records sealed. Our “justice” system is set up to favor the wealthy. My friend was lucky enough to be able to afford to have his childhood not counted against him. Many people cannot.

    I sometimes think this is part of the gun control agenda — make everything illegal to make sure everyone is a felon so they can’t have a firearm, even if the only offense is downloading an MP3 from a torrent site on the Internet.

  36. avatar MarkPA says:

    This article brings to mind a New-Speak term: “COMPREHENSIVE background-check reform”.

    By analogy, we can’t approach illegal immigration piece meal; it’s simply NOT-PC to merely secure the boarder. It is PC to deal with immigration reform only as a complete package. Until we reach a bipartisan agreement on all aspects of immigration reform we must stick with the status quo no matter how-bad it is. And so it follows, we shouldn’t try to deal with background-checks on one very narrow issue: 2A rights.

    Clearly, everyone who is PC should agree that background-checks have to be dealt with in a thoroughly thought-out package of reforms. We must consider whether background checks will ruin the employment prospects of anyone who has been arrested/charged/convicted for any: felony; 2-year misdemeanor; domestic violence order or has ever suffered from mental illness. We must also consider precisely which incidents should be regarded as disabling for employment. Employers must simultaneously be: bared from discriminating against anyone disabled by any legal/mental-illness impediment; AND, held absolutely liable for any damage any employee causes after the employer is forced to hire someone who comes up positive on a background check. The employer knew-or-should-have-known that there was a reasonable likelihood that such an employee might “go-cutlery” or “go-BMW”. (To say nothing of shooting someone.) Likewise for landlords. (Any criminal or crazy must – of course – remain eligible to be employed by any government agency whether directly or indirectly as a contractor. No government agency should be held liable for the acts of any such employee/contractor.)

    Once the most Progressive salons on both the Left and East coasts have worked-out all these details for background-checks by employers and landlords then – of course – we 2A advocates will be glad to follow suit. Perhaps half the citizens of the US will become un-employable (outside government), un-houseable in any neighborhood (outside government housing) , and disabled from keeping and bearing arms (other than in the military or police). Yet, if all these efforts spare the life of just one child, well then . . .

  37. avatar J Thomas says:

    Please explain if this is fair…… An 18 year “Kid” was driving around with friends and the police pulled over the car. The police, at gun point, got everyone out of the car and made them lay on the ground face down in 23 degree (F) weather. The police kept saying that a car fitting the description of the same one we were driving had a B.O.L.O ( Be on the look out). The police were extremely mean and ruff. They were using excessive force with out provocation of any kind. Long story short. I had no idea why we were pulled over. It was the first time ever being in such a volatile situation with law enforcement in my entire life. The police kept saying numerous reasons for why they pulled us over. One reason for being accosted was that we were involved in an armed robbery (even though we had no fire arms of any kind). Another was that we were involved in a hit and run accident an hour earlier. The car had no damage what so ever. We did nothing wrong at all. We were simply driving to a family members house to visit and spend time. The cops messed with my head so much and had me so scared that when they asked me name, I gave them a false name. I was so scared that I was not thinking correctly. I was also young and had no understanding that it was a serious (Felony) offense. Ultimately I was charged with a fourth degree felony and sentenced to probation. This happened in New Jersey, were they do not have misdemeanors of any kind. I successfully completed probation with no problems what so ever. I have never been in trouble since or before. The sad thing is I can not go and buy a gun to go hunting with. All I want to do is go hunting and teach my kid how to hunt safely and correctly. We all only live one time. To have our rights taken for the rest of our lives for a stupid mistake is cruel and unusual punishment. I was young, scared, dumb and ultimately made a mistake that will strip me of my 2nd amendment for my entire life. I paid my debt to society. I’m not asking for a concealed carry permit for a hand gun. I just want to have my long gun rights restored. I have a lot of property that I would love to hunt and a kid that wants to learn how too hunt themselves. People make mistakes and to be punished for your entire life far exceeds any and all punishments. I am now 33 years old. I made my mistake at the age of 18., fifteen years ago. I have a college degree. I have no mental disorders and most of all I am a productive member of society that pays taxes. Do you really think it is fair that I can never again buy a fire-arm to hunt with, or to never purchase a fire-arm for my child to teach them how to hunt safely and correctly as a father? This is non American and we need more people to realize that not every person convicted of a felony is going to buy a gun to go ahead and use the fire-arm illegally. Not every person that made a mistake in life should be penalized with a life sentence of the government taking away fundamental constitutional rights that were endowed upon us by our founding fathers. As I said before we only live this life one time. We all make mistakes. This is America the land of FREEDOM AND OPPORTUNITY. The land of the brave and the land of the American Dream. All I want is the opportunity to have a second chance at a unhindered life. Without the fear of being thrown in jail for possessing a firearm with no criminal intent. The only intent would be to feed my family, from hunting, and to pass on to my kid what my grandfather and father passed onto me about hunting and shooting the legal, safe and correct ways.

    1. avatar MarkPA says:

      Your case is a poster-child to restore funding to the DoJ to investigate and adjudicate cases where a restoration of rights is appropriate.
      Unfortunately, because we PotG were not minding the store when the restoration-of-rights program was defunded you and many others are in this unjust position.
      Some of us will settle for nothing less than the whole pie to be restored at once. The principle of “If you can’t be trusted with a gun you shouldn’t be in society without a custodian” makes a lot of sense. These proponents seem to mean that you should be in for life-without-hope or get your rights restored when you get out. Yet, such a division is politically and practically unviable.
      We have to slow-walk this one step by step. If we make our case carefully, I think Americans will not tolerate the status quo where you have a theoretical right to have your case heard but no funding for that to happen. Americans will find that un-just. So, a fight to restore funding is – I think – the fast-track to justice for you and others.
      You didn’t say where you live. A recent case was adjudicated in PA where the plaintiff won a restoration of his rights by court order. Look up that case and see if you can follow that track.

  38. avatar Ferdinand Bertran says:

    Spoiler alert ! Gun control doesn’t work and never has. They failed by prohibiting alcohol, they fail by
    prohibiting drugs, they fail by trying to prohibit felons from gun ownership. Sorry, but just who are they
    to deem that just because somebody made a bad decisions in life, their life is worthless, which they are
    in fact saying when they want to keep you from being able to defend yourself and your family. Plus, if you
    are hell bent on obtaining a gun, you will, laws be damned. One day, all will be felons anyway. We are just
    the modern slave class, and all will know what it’s like to be one of us in the future.

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