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Felons do not give up their right to self defense simply because they have committed crimes in the past.  They often live a very dangerous lifestyle, and as the most common victims of homicide, they may need effective self defense more than other people. A recent case in South Carolina shows that the justice system is realizing this truth.  It investigated the shooting where Quintonio Porter, a convicted felon, shot and killed his friend, Jarrius Harding, in the middle of a gunfight . . .

From heraldonline.com:

Jarrius Harding, 18, was killed in the midday shootout near the intersection of Black Street and Keels Avenue east of downtown Rock Hill. The shoot-out culminated a wild, 24-hour spree of gunfire in four incidents in the city.

Quintonio Porter, 23, who was in the car with Harding, also was shot and later was charged with attempted murder in the shootout with men in another car. But after an investigation, police and prosecutors determined that Porter was firing in self-defense when he shot Harding, said Willy Thompson, 16th Circuit deputy solicitor. They dropped the attempted murder charge against Porter.

Porter and Harding were being fired upon without immediate provocation by them.  Porter was attempting to fire back, but his pistol became entangled in the seat belt.  His shot struck Jarrius Harding as Harding sought to avoid the gunfire coming his way from the assailants.

Criminals almost never use holsters (FBI study) because they are hard to get rid of, so the seat belt entanglement is more understandable.

The study published by the FBI is “Violent Encounters: A Study of Felonious Assaults on Our Nation’s Law Enforcement Officers.”  In a summation from stoppingpower.net:

The offenders said they most often hid guns on their person in the front waistband, with the groin area and the small of the back nearly tied for second place. Some occasionally gave their weapons to another person to carry, “most often a female companion.” None regularly used a holster, and about 40% at least sometimes carried a backup weapon.

In motor vehicles, they most often kept their firearm readily available on their person, or, less often, under the seat. In residences, most stashed their weapon under a pillow, on a nightstand, under the mattress–somewhere within immediate reach while in bed.

It is a good thing that self defense is legitimate for criminals.  The major reason for the proliferation of violent crime, particularly homicides, is a belief that the criminal justice system is unreliable.  Reinforcing the reliability of the police and the rest of the justice system is the key to reducing homicides.

David Kennedy from Harvard has repeatedly shown that this is so.  Only a small number of violent criminals commit most homicides in most cities.  When the community is willing to cooperate with police to remove, intimidate, and/or rehabilitate this tiny minority, the homicide rate falls precipitously.

Perhaps there is some way to tie the ability for effective defense to rehabilitation.  If such a system could be worked out, it would be a powerful incentive for criminals to avoid future problems.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
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119 Responses to SC: A Felon Has Rights to Self Defense

  1. Repeal the Flatrate Ban in NFA Act 68 and lets states make there owne rules about felons and guns.

  2. Screw the felons. They wanted to live the outlaw life. Let ’em live every bit of it. Get caught carrying, you’re busted.

    “Self-defense” my rear end. These are gangland turf battles and retributions. The totality of their activity is already illegal. No fair claiming King’s X and running into the loving arms of the law when the violent life they sought turns violent.

    • Translation: only people living a government approved life have Constitutional rights.

      Begone, statist.

      • Yup. Darned near everyone in the country committed some felony in the last week. It’s long since been rendered meaningless.

        • Obligatory;

          “But, after all, I did break one of your laws.”

          “Well, what do you think they’re for?”

          Dr. Ferris did not notice the sudden look on Rearden’s face, the look of a man hit by the first vision of that which he had sought to see. Dr. Ferris was past the stage of seeing; he was intent upon delivering the last blows to an animal caught in a trap.

          “Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against – then you’ll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We’re after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you’d better get wise to it. There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now, that’s the system, Mr. Rearden, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”

    • You are a felon too, odds are. There’s too many damn laws and rules. Too many ways to accidentally become a felon.

      This fetishization of being “law-abiding” is starting to get real old, and it doesn’t mean anything anymore because laws are a terrible compass for moral guidance.

      If felons only became felons through GTA, rape, murder, aggravated battery of the elderly, etc, then you might have room to sit back and hee-haa about those rascals. But most people in jail and prison did not do anything Socrates would take issue with.

      You cannot equate being law-abiding with being a good person anymore–stop doing it.

      • The whole felony thing is an anachronism. It goes back to English feudal law and denoted truly “villainous” crimes. The Republic of Ireland recently did away with the distinction of felonies and misdemeanors and I think the US should also. It is ridiculous that I can be a law-abiding citizen carrying with my CHL in one state, accidentally make a wrong turn into another state and be an instant felon. It is an outrage. But that is a different problem that needs to be fixed.

        However, I have no sympathy for anyone involved in the incident in the OP and it has nothing to do with them living any “government approved life.” These guys were living a lifestyle that I personally can’t approve of, no matter what their legal status. Anyone involved in this incident should not have gun rights or even see the light of day outside of a prison yard. They play bad games and they should win bad prizes.

      • Amen brother. I’m a 39yr old felon. I committed my felonies when I was 17yrs old. 22 years ago. Over half my life ago. I never denied it and did my time and changed my life and became a productive member of society. But because I was never told that I had to go 5 more years without an arrest, an open container charge keeps me from getting them exsponged. That’s not justice. That’s control.

    • The sentiment is understandable but further institutionalizing and stigmatizing felons will be worse than useless at reintegrating them into society and reducing recidivism. We should bear in mind that it can still be quite easy to become a felon, there are posts on this site everyday warning of the slippery slope being engineered by current legislation.

    • Completely agree. I had to read the article a few times to see if it was written ironically. Apparently not. I agree with most stuff on this site, but not this article

    • Sure…because nobody ever does stupid stuff at 18 or 19 they regret and would never do later in life but must live with the consequences forever…

      Furthermore, almost everyone can be convicted of some sort of felony if looked at hard enough. Likewise, not all felonies involve violence or harm/property damage, many do not.

    • If you are willing to concede that the government has the authority to create, maintain and enforce a list of persons who may not, in the opinion of the government, exercise their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected (“…shall not be infringed”.) right to keep and bear arms, how will you keep your name off of that list? Whether or not you are an ex-felon.

      I have no love lost for criminals, convicted or not, but the Second Amendment contains no provision for the government to set standards on who may exercise their right to keep and bear arms for a reason. If there was ANY caveat in the Second Amendment it is certain that the government would find a way to abuse it to their own advantage. They do it now even without the caveat.

      If criminals want to shoot and kill each other, I’m okay with that. The point of the Second Amendment is that every person has the right and ability to shoot back and even more so when the criminals are the government itself.

      • You make valid arguments. None sarc.

        And it would only be benficial for background checks and having some sort of database of the weapons purchased and used by said felons, if they so choose to purchase from a gun store.

        Because if anyone should realize felons would go through the legal process its all the readers here that know well and good that no felon would ever purchase outside of legal avenues. Sarc

        Its funny when I come to this site and see a majority mention they want the state outside of their lives, but in the lives of others.

        • “Its funny when I come to this site and see a majority mention they want the state outside of their lives, but in the lives of others.”

          Do you see people advocating anarchy here? I am not, and I disagree with the whole voluntaryist philosophy, show me how such a thing would be able to work and ok fine, I don’t see it. There is a need for the state to exist; but the state must be limited, as we well know, a difficult problem.

          What is being discussed is a need for the state to do what the state is actually supposed to do; enforce the laws, and we also know that this is not being done. Don’t believe me, ask HRC.

          Yes we want the state out of our lives in the meddling do-good tax stealing regulating ass raping freedom killing way they do things now and to get them to do their actual constitutionally directed effing jobs.

          There is no double standard here.

        • “Rambeast says:
          May 11, 2016 at 07:01

          @Mr. 308

          A statist with a strawman argument.”

          An argument with no premise and no support. That you assert a thing does not make your assertion true.

          You are wrong. And you are a dummy head. But still wrong.

        • Also have to observe, raptureRaptor…, Rambeast. Looking to me like a bunch of concertrolls attaching to this conversation, making up names on the fly out of a dictionary. How much did you guys (or guy) make from those posts?

        • I have been posting here under this name longer than you have been reading TTAG.

          On topic.

          “Do you see people advocating anarchy here? I am not, and I disagree with the whole voluntaryist philosophy, show me how such a thing would be able to work and ok fine, I don’t see it.”

          The voluntaryist philosophy is in use every day, in any activity that the “state” doesn’t intrude upon. Voluntary trade and association. Relationships within your community to help one another. Government is violence, plain and simple. Force used to violate the rights of people that do not wish to associate with the ideas of others. Laws are continually written and rewritten to create more criminals. You cannot rule free people, so you make them all a criminal, and they will be too busy being “law abiding” to question the motives of lawmakers (read: criminals).

          “There is a need for the state to exist; but the state must be limited, as we well know, a difficult problem.”

          No there is not. The private sector will come up with solutions to problems more efficiently than government. Try proving me wrong by giving me an example of anything the government does better than the private sector that the government hasn’t monopolized to gain control (roads, military, retirement, healthcare, etc.)

          The state can not be limited. Our nation is a shining example that no matter how good the framework is, it will be perverted into a totalitarian state eventually. Don’t believe me? Ask your great grand kids when they are adults.

          “Yes we want the state out of our lives in the meddling do-good tax stealing regulating ass raping freedom killing way they do things now and to get them to do their actual constitutionally directed effing jobs. ”

          I’ll leave a Spooner quote to explain things quite simply.

          But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist. -Lysander Spooner

    • Not everyone who is a felon is a gangsta. Also, most felons are probably have to live in bad areas when they get out. If they were, through self defense, able to kill bad guys, they would be doing the world a favor.

      • “Not everyone who is a felon is a gangsta. Also, most felons are probably have to live in bad areas when they get out.”

        Bingo.

        I believe that right there is what’s fueling the scalper prices on private gun sales at gun shows.

        Someone who has a felony for whatever reason and has a real need for armed self-defense and is highly unlikely to use it like a thug would…

    • Oh golly gee whizzers…another perfect illustration of a ‘new american’ gun-owner who (I must assess) believes itself to be a champion of gun-rights and the American way of life.

      Pfft.

      Sadly, this particular exemplar constitutes the general views of the vast majority of ‘gun-owners’ and it points directly to how and why federal leviathan (and various state mini-leviathans) get away with doing the things that they do.

      It would pay to ponder that this mindset is exactly why there will eventually be the necessity for a last resort of armed revolt for the III%. Note that I did not include this creature and its tens of millions of like-minded cattle, because no matter what, these creatures will ultimately ALWAYS bow down and submit due to their bizarre drive to rationalize and justify abrigation of Life, Liberty and Property…when all is said and done.

      Collectivist-gerbils, busily gnawing away at the very foundatons of the Republic…all the while believing themselves to be ‘patriots’.

      Please join together now, in the slack-jawed, slope-headed, drooling-lipped, glazed eyed chanting of the venerable USA…USA…USA…Merica, hell yeah!

        • An on-point illustration and assessment coupled with some well deserved sarcasm/disgust seemed to be sorely needed around here.

          Your milage obviously varies. Perhaps the assessment hit a bit too close to home for you, eh?

          Aside from that…snore….

        • Your jumping up and down like a demented screeching chimpanzee and was so over-the-top it was a typical example of ‘your type’ of lack of critical thought.

          “…this particular exemplar constitutes the general views of the vast majority of ‘gun-owners’”

          Really?

          Cite your source, son.

          You know *nothing* of the ‘vast majority’ of gun owners, and never will.

          But please, pretty please, keep up with your demented screeching and jumping up-and-down, it provides great entertainment…

          Dance, troll.

          I order you to respond to my post…

    • I see where you are coming from and going to here, that said, what happens when things get worse? What if someday, despite your unwillingness to hurt or harm others, the state has determined that your kind of activities should be illegal, regardless if there is a victim involved. What if at that time, you self identify more with criminals than with the “law abiding” that you then identify as criminals. After you yourself are a felon, then your views would be different I think.

    • Yep. Felons outlawed from owning firearns, making a whole class of human beings a sub human subclass denied for a life time, the ability to effectively defend themselves, their families or their children from human predators.

      No reprieve. no forgiveness, no chance of redemption, a life time sentence of being a second class sub-human, despised by the “law abiding” and the criminal alike. Outlawed from effectively defending ones life or loved ones for twenty, thirty, forty or fifty + years.

      The level of what I see as savagery, of a hateful and inhuman treatment of another human being, for even committing a victimless crime like voluntarily putting an “illegal” substance into one body is…… nauseating.

      And people wonder why recidivism is so common. If I was a felon because of some choice I had made in my youth, I know what I would choose, and it would not to be a contemptable, despicable cravenly peasant, peon or slave, forever denied the ability to defend my life once I had paid my debt to society and then thrown out into that savage jungle called “civilization”.

      So go ahead and continue a failed policy of denying ALL felons that basic right, and wonder why when society is so merciless in creating a whole sub-class of humans with no chance for redemption or forgiveness, you will get a whole subclass that will act without mercy.

    • yeah, don’t regard felons.

      Heh, my state, CA, is trying to make me a felon because I own a magazine that holds more than 10! Owned it for years, before it was a crime.

      Don’t worry, some statist radical will find a way to make you a felon too, they like to be all inclusive.

    • Felons have no business possessing firearms. A felony is a SERIOUS crime, particularly violent felonies. Without Law and Order, the US will descend into another Mexico or Venezuela.

      If the government rounded up all he felons possessing firearms, 98% of our crime would go away (and yes, that isn’t going to happen until technology is more advanced – it’s coming though).

      • “(and yes, that isn’t going to happen until technology is more advanced – it’s coming though)”

        And… just what might that technology be, Bob?

        • “And… just what might that technology be”

          Why, just the right law, that’s what.

      • …and yes, that isn’t going to happen until technology is more advanced – it’s coming though

        Don’t worry Bob. When it comes, I’ll remove that technology for the “good” felons.

    • Self-defense is a fundamental right, regardless of your background. Possessing a firearm as a felon is not. He’s still on the hook for the gun charge, and apparently, drug charges too.

    • The never ending cycle of I’m better than you perpetuates. I seriously hope you get convicted of some white collar felony. I hope you get probation and no fine and then watch your natural right of self defense be washed away. Then I sincerely hope you think about the utter stupidity of your statement.

    • Did you know you could be a felon for legally buying an African conure in a pet store? If that bird was caught in violation of any law in any country with whom the US has a treaty with, you can be a felon.

      Are you aware that you don’t have to break the law in the state you are in to be a felon. If it’s illegal in another state, you can get a felony.

      In some states it was against the law to have sex in any position other than missionary(still on the books for UCMJ, not sure about the state laws).

      It is virtually impossible for a person to know for a fact that they have never broken any law for which they may get a felony for.

      To make matters worse, the laws change regularly.

  3. So, one felon killed another (by accident) in self defense? Give him a medal and tell him to kill a couple more.

  4. So, not being a felon, if I accidentally shoot and kill someone while defending myself from an attacker, I won’t be charged?
    I want this guy’s lawyer.
    Sounds more like an IGOTD award story to me.

  5. If you can’t trust a felon with a gun you can’t trust them to be out of prison.

    Isn’t the foundation of our justice legal system that a prison term is that you’ve paid for your crime?

    • Sometimes. There is often parole which has requirements that extend after release. The same type of requirements that often go with probation. An acknowledgement of a second chance but with restrictions and limitations.

      • Yea, that’s easily solved. Stop parole. Isn’t probation something assigned to people who the court believes should not need prison, such that thier offense isn’t that serious, first offense, believed a good chance they will not re-offend? I don’t see any issue there, most nasty murderous nutjobs don’t apply in these cases, you aren’t talking about serious offenses here like armed robbery and murder. These are the people I am talking about. Probation, fine where applicable.

        This is not rocket science. Lock up the crazy psychopathic career criminal thugs and keep them there. Everyone else gets guns.

        See?

        • Those nasty types didn’t used to get paroled. The ugly truth is that prison politics allow release of violent criminals because we can’t afford to keep them in jail. Look at California. Look at our federal releases under Obama. They’re letting them out because the spreadsheet looks bad.

          Not saying it’s good, it just is. So we let them out and say they get a fresh start? You can’t keep a bad person from getting a weapon. It really doesn’t matter if they legally have the right. What ultimately happens is we prosecute if they misuse a gun or get nabbed for drugs,rape, etc and have a gun. Just bargaining material for the DA.

    • This. This is so basic and fundamental. Why the hell are they letting people out of prison who we can’t even trust with a gun? WTAF? Forget guns, these people could get hold of cars, swimming pools, kitchen knives, natural gas, chlorine, there’s thousands and thousands of deadly things out there and the prisons are letting out psychopathic untrustworthy career criminals, gang members and plain old nut jobs OUT?

      I don’t care about rehabilitation or any of that nonsense, they are supposed to be protecting us here in the civil society from these monsters committing crimes against US. Eff these scumbags.

      How many times do we hear about some ungodly murder-robbery-whatever comitted by a felon released from prison with a criminal past including multiple trips to the joint, released only to re-commit as little as hours after they are let out the door.

      This is what has to stop, and it starts with the judges letting these animals out.

      If they can’t have a gun, do not let these people out. Enforce the damn laws! Leave us law respecting people the hell alone!

      /end rant

      • Judges don’t let them out. Parole boards let them out. But even if they didn’t let them out, convicts would all eventually hit a maximum sentence and be let out, regardless of their “rehabilitation.” Unless you believe every violent felon should receive a life without parole sentence.

        • ” Unless you believe every violent felon should receive a life without parole sentence.”

          Pretty much, yea.

          Are you saying you want violent felons back in the civil society, cause that’s whacked dude.

        • Well, by definition, the guy who commits a retail theft stealing food to feed his kids, but pushes the loss prevention officer to get out the front door has committed robbery, a violent felony. In your view, they should be doing life in prison. My view may be whacked, but your view is simplistic.

        • I don’t disagree that adjustments may not need to be made to the system, the example you provide may not in my mind be ‘violence’. Lets expand your example a bit; ok he ‘pushes’ the security guard, (you make it sound so gentle), the guard falls, hits his head and is paralyzed. Is this not in fact violence?

          But I take your point, I don’t think these serious punishments can just be adopted as is to the existing system. My broad point however is clear, the system is not serious enough in punishing our crim class, they are terrorizing our society.

          Look here, if the elites, all protected by guns and high walls, those who make the laws, had to live in our society with these crims all around them, do you think they would stand for it? They would not and neither should we.

        • Your example involves an injury, which is obviously serious bodily injury. The fact that the robber pushed the loss prevention officer is the assaultive (i.e., violence) part. Two separate elements and in fact two separate offenses given the injury in your example. In a lot of jurisdictions, it is irrelevant if there was injury if violence is used while committing a theft (the basic common law definition of robbery). The fear of violence is enough. And aggravated assault, where a loss prevention officer is paralyzed from reckless conduct of pushing to get away from him, is a separate offense from robbery.

          We have adjustments in sentencing guidelines, which take into account a person’s past criminal record and the gravity of the current offense, then provide the judge with a range in sentencing. The judge can also sentence concurrently or consecutively for multiple convictions. So in your example, he could sentence consecutively for a robbery AND an aggravated assault, whereas in my example, there is only robbery. (The retail theft would merge in both cases with the robbery.). If a weapon is used, there are sometimes enhancements or mandatories which may apply.

          But ultimately, as a convict hits his “minimum” sentence date, the parole board has an opportunity to consider his rehabilitation. We can simply say “no parole” for anybody thus making them all serve their maximum sentence. But then we have to be prepared to pay to warehouse people who are unlikely to commit crimes and should in fact be paroled so they can be productive members of society.

        • M3M9 you are going into levels of detail I am not; yes you have valid points. My broad point however I stand behind, violent thugs are getting released every day that recommit, get nabbed, released and continue the cycle endlessly. This has to stop.

          No, it won’t be a simple rule of ‘lock every felon up’, obviously. But it can be done.

          Details can come another day.

      • “Why the hell are they letting people out of prison who we can’t even trust with a gun? WTAF?”

        Are you willing to pay vastly higher and more expensive taxes to pay for those prisons?

        (As Zappa once said: “The crux of the Biscuit, is in the apostrophe…”

        • “Are you willing to pay vastly higher and more expensive taxes to pay for those prisons?”

          Yes. However, the crims in my mind have way too much time on their hands. Prisoners – all of them – need to be forced into some kind of productive work, making license plates, cleaning our roads and our cities, breaking rocks up if need be, and the money that comes in from this is used first to pay restitution to their victims, and then it goes to prison financing.

          This stuff is not difficult you know. Putting prisoners to work would have multiple benefits aside from the income, it would greatly reduce the level of violence in these prisons, idle hands and all that. Plus it gives the prisoners a sense of accomplishment that they do not have today, which I believe would lead to greater chances of them actually becoming productive members of society if they ever make it back.

          Win win win. For everyone.

          Zappa also said ‘cop kill a creep, pow pow pow’.

  6. So felons have the right to defend themselves when they break into a home and the home owner takes action? Or defend themselves from the police? Being a criminal is SUPPOSED to be dangerous. We all know that many felons, particularly in gang related crime tend to go back to that lifestyle.

    • Every person has the natural right to defend his/her own life. Our job in the case of criminals is to make that defense so hazardous that the criminal will think seriously about choosing a less hazardous career or lifestyle. This is kind of the point of the justice system (legal system), to make committing crimes a dangerous and expensive undertaking IF YOU GET CAUGHT. This deterrent obviously does not always work and like any businessman criminals will do a cost-benefit analysis on the profit potential of their crimes. They will avoid places where they expect a high likelihood of getting shot and victim who look like they may be high risk.

    • Try again. They were set upon without provocation in a public place, not breaking into someone’s home. They have been jackwagons in the past (maybe only a few minutes before) but at the time of the shooting, they were just normal guys rolling down the street.

    • So felons have the right to defend themselves when they break into a home and the home owner takes action?

      I don’t think that is the same “self defense” we are talking about.

  7. The basic premise is wrong . Someone who commits a crime deemed to heinous enough to warrant prison time gives up his “freedom of movement”. Also his “freedom of association”. How about his “freedom to protest”. The idea that leaving the Big House is a reset to zero is BS. Part of the deal is that they bought into punishment for whatever society decreed. That includes anything. We used to BRAND criminals. We still execute folks. So it ain’t over until it’s over. If getting out of the Big House resets to zero then what about half way houses and probation ? Commit a crime, a violent crime, and you are in the maw of the beast. Stop bitchin and be thankful we didn’t cut your freaking hands off.

    • The Bill of Rights was created specifically to enumerate those natural rights the government had no authority to revoke or regulate because the Founding Fathers knew from history that these were the things governments ALWAYS attempted to regulate to control their subjects.

      Other people exercising their rights may be uncomfortable or annoying to you, but giving the government even a little lee-way in restricting those rights, even for the hated “felon”, will lead in the long run to even greater criminality – a government tyranny run amok.

      • The Constitution does not specify that a person cannot be deprived of life, liberty or property. It specifies instead that a person cannot be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.

        Felons have had their due process. Screw ’em.

        • And the “Felon” label has been diluted so much as to be meaningless as a measure of the seriousness of one’s crime.

          As has been noted elsewhere in this discussion, so many layers of laws have been put on the books that one is almost certain to unknowingly commit a felony almost on a daily basis. That you haven’t been arrested, charged and tried for such is merely due to the laws of averages working in your favor. So far.

          My opinion; if one has committed a crime that transgresses the mores of the society you live in, that they judge you should never ever be trusted to own a firearm again, then you should be incarcerated for the rest of your life, or put to death if the crime is serious enough. This necessarily means you have to repeal all the layer upon layer of idiotic and inane laws that give the government near carte blanche to arrest you on a whim and put you through the wringer. In short, it means the government, both city, county, state and federal would be giving up tremendous amounts of authority back into the hands of individual citizens.

    • lol. So.. in other words… break the law, in a system you were born into, forged out of votes not cast by you, and you are the state’s slave till the end of your days. Whatever the state decides, you will obey, and be thankful we didn’t cut your hands off you worthless pleb.

      • This is an important point, I may sound harsh above but I also believe that, depending on the crime of course the punishment may include a condition where punishment is deemed complete and the criminal is returned to society a free man. Murderers, no. Rapists, no. Violent armed robbery no. These people do not get a second chance.

        But for those that do serve their sentence we should allow the chance to come back to society and contribute to it if this is their choice.

        We all understand what is behind most early releases right? The prison system doesn’t want to keep paying for these animals upkeep, and they close their eyes and say ‘yea, this guy will be perfectly safe to let back out, just be real good there Mr. Crim, don’t do anything nasty again, right?’. And it’s you and your grandmother and our kids that end up being the victims.

      • No, it’s not the state who convicted the felons, it was a jury of their peers or the felons themselves, when they confessed and copped a plea. And it was all subject to due process, which is what the Constitution requires.

        Some guys who claim to love the Constitution only love the parts they like, and hate the parts they don’t.

        • No, it’s not the state who convicted the felons, it was a jury of their peers or the felons themselves, when they confessed and copped a plea.

          Yes…Based on laws that the state passed – just, moral, unjust, immoral, or otherwise.

        • “Yes…Based on laws that the state passed – just, moral, unjust, immoral, or otherwise.”

          Then work towards educating the public about the concept of ‘Jury Nullification”.

          I’d like to see the ACLU spearhead a movement to pay for and install billboards that say (along the lines of):

          Unjust laws. What can we do?
          Jury nullification.
          Google it. Learn about it.

          Make it go viral…

        • I’d recommend “Jury Nullification” by Conrad. It was a good read. That aside, if you can’t get the votes to elect decent people who aren’t going to rule your lives with their opinions, you certainly aren’t going to achieve the same with “Jury nullification.” If you even mention “Jury Nullification” in the Jury room the Judge will remove you. The only viral thing you can count on today is people going viral complaining about jurors not doing their job in focusing on “finding the facts” and instead wasting their time in “questioning the law.” If the they find out you are a member of the ACLU or even a libertarian they will filter you out of the selection process.

        • “Jury Nullification” yea, I’ve been wondering why I haven’t been called for duty since my last experience, like 10 years back. Wink wink, nudge nudge. Know what I mean? Wink wink, nudge nudge.

        • “f you even mention “Jury Nullification” in the Jury room the Judge will remove you.”

          When the vast majority of the population (read -the jury pool) is aware of jury nullification, will prosecutors stop seating juries?

        • Ralph, I agree with your premise, I just happened to reach a different conclusion from it….

          A felon HAS had due process, finished his prison term, been paroled, and met all the requirements of that parole. Under our judicial system that means that they’ve paid the price that society demands for their crimes.

          But then we take it a step further. We say that because you’re a felon you’re now deprived of certain rights for life. Ceding that power to the government is a sideways admission that those rights came from the government in the first place, which just isn’t true.

          If the crime is heinous enough that a person’s rights be revoked for life, then those crimes are heinous enough to revoke their life. THAT is within the Constitutional bounds of punishment by due process.

          (And I just suddenly realized that I picked a legal fight with a lawyer…..)

  8. A citizen CAN lose their Constitutional rights. Rights are indeed guaranteed but a citizen must safeguard them and be responsible.

    It isn’t a statist stance for a person to lose their rights through their own actions.

    • Certain enumerated rights are PROTECTED by the Constitution against government interference. They are most certainly not guaranteed by the Constitution. And their is no provision in the Bill of Rights anywhere for any branch of the government to revoke or repeal those rights since the entire point of the Bill of Rights was to enjoin the government from such actions.

      Even in the limited cases, such as arrest, conviction and incarceration, a person never “loses” any of their rights, they only have them more or less successfully suppressed for the period of their custody within the legal system.

      Even in prison people will speak as freely as they possibly can, join social groups for mutual protection (militias), and manufacture whatever sort of arms they can devise. Natural rights are NEVER lost, only suppressed.

      • The founders had no problemo with executing those who need executing . To end this sophmoric discussion lets just execute en masse all violent felons. Hope you agree…

        • The founders had no problemo with executing those who need executing . To end this sophmoric discussion lets just execute en masse all violent felons. Hope you agree…

          1) “Sophmoric discussion” is completely subjective.

          2) Define “violent felon.”

          3) Please explain how applying blanket verdicts across large numbers of individuals categorized into groups in lieu of individual judgment by a jury of peers is “just.”

        • “Define “violent felon.””

          Someone who physically assaults, batters, or threatens to do so on another person.

    • Correct. It is however, a Statist stance to return a person to civil society, without civil rights.

  9. I think we are missing an important point, here. According to the FBI, criminals keep their (illegally possessed) defense guns at arms’ reach at all times. A lot of gun owners would do well to copy this idea, instead of the ‘come home, take off my gun, let my guard down and relax’ mentality. Gang bangers and thugs know how gang bangers and thugs think, and therefore know how to defend against them. Why don’t more people do the same?

    • “Keeping loaded guns at arms reach” sounds like a great way to get little kids shot, and I bet an honest study of the issue would reveal most of those accidents (about 60 a year for kids under 13) started with one of these paranoid felons. I bet you could also find alot of overlap between gunshot survivors and the 100k estimated yearly DGUs, that is if the majority of them didn’t suffer from… ahem… “amnesia…”

      As usual, the answers to these questions are right there in the left’s own “evidence,” staring them right in the face.

  10. In AL, felons are prohibited from owning firearms (as they should be). BUT case law allows a felon who is illegally attacked to grab a gun and defend his life or family (as it should be). A felon and his non-felon brother got jobs driving a garbage truck on night pick ups at spbusinesses during a sanitation strike in Gadsden, AL.
    As they stopped at the dumpsters at Wal Mart, cars block them in and union thugs began to surround the felon’s brother armed with clubs and knives. The felon grabbed his brother’s gun from the cab and held them off while a store employee called the cops. The AL Court of Criminal Appeals overturned his conviction for “Felon in possession”, and set him free. They stated he did not own the gun, but used it only to protect his and his brother’s lives.

    • In AL, felons are prohibited from owning firearms (as they should be).

      I think all prisoners released into the wild should have all their rights restored. Those that continue to hurt, injure, and murder, can die by the hands of regular Joe’s defending themselves and those that wish to live a peaceful and happy life with their rights can. Win Win.

      • The problem with your hypothetical is you assume the armed repeat offender will always comfront an armed victim who will end up his life and career. Infortunately, this is rare. I was once appointed to a man who had finished his third term in prison for robbery. Three weeks from his real ease, he robbed an unarmed victim. He used a knife.
        Under AL’s habitual offender law, he was due for life or life without parole. Fortunately hpfor him, the DA had bigger fish to fry and let him plead to another 15 years.

      • The problem with your hypothetical is you assume the armed repeat offender will always comfront an armed victim who will end up his life and career. Infortunately, this is rare. I was once appointed to a man who had finished his third term in prison for robbery. Three weeks from his release, he robbed an unarmed victim. He used a knife.
        Under AL’s habitual offender law, he was due for life or life without parole. Fortunately hpfor him, the DA had bigger fish to fry and let him plead to another 15 years.

  11. TTAG seems to be on the “give felons a gun” wagon.

    I agree folks have a right to defend themselves.

    Yes, our laws have been convuluted to make too many things a felony. When I was younger, carry a weapon was a misdemeanor. Now it’s a felony almost everywhere. It used to take using a weapon inappropriately to get the felony.

    I also believe that some people have proven they don’t have the control to have weapons. So – if someone has a violent record (armed robbery, assault, murder, rape) they have to then prove to society that they can be trusted. That means that are more “at-risk” then an average citizen. So be it.

    The alternative for the felon is to get away from the lifestyle they live. You can say that is nigh impossible and it’s silly to think that most would. Kind of like it’s silly to say that being poor does not give you the right to steal, rob, or kill to support yourself.

    There is a process to regain rights after a felony, it is used and I know people who have successfully done it. You can be assured those that make a successful bid to regain rights have changed the way they do things.

    • My oh my, what did we ever do before 1968.

      All gun control today stems from the old goals of “trying to keep guns out of the wrong hands.”

      People say – I don’t support gun control. Then later say – felons shouldn’t be able to have guns. It’s really comical to me. The endless and unique laws surrounding the simple machine… the gun, while ignoring all other methods and even the character of the individual.

      • More about punishment than gun control. There are a lot more issues than just guns.

        If you’re a felon, try getting a job or volunteering around kids. Or working with people’s private information.

        Similar to being convicted of assaulting a child (in any way). Your life just became more complicated by a bad act.

        It’s not ignoring the character of the individual, it’s using it as a reference.

        The GCA of 1968 was a political instrument to make lefties feel better. It was also padded with protectionist lingo to keep American Manufacturers from having to deal with small, concealable guns (Walther, Beretta) that the public wanted to buy.

        We’d have given a lot for an LCP back then. Small, handy, and reliable.

  12. This is just the latest in a growing pile of precedent on this issue. In all of the cases I’ve seen so far there is no dispute that death or bodily harm was imminent. Now, if you had a recording of someone threatening to retrieve a firearm from his car would you say that qualifies? Suppose you also had a 911 recording that proves you called the police first, and witnesses who say the other guy refused to exchange insurance info and instead initiated a physical altercation? That of course is the Will Smith case. Like someone upthread said, the shooter in that case could really use this lawyer right now.

  13. Anytime I see these arguments that 2A doesn’t support felons losing the RTKABA, I say fine, it doesn’t say anything about losing gun rights in prison. Anyone up for inmates having inmates have guns in the big house? I didn’t think so. The point is the line has to be drawn somewhere and as a society and we have to decide where that line is drawn in the modern age, regardless of the wording of the Constitution.

    I also get a laugh out of people calling each other statists. Our state is created by the Constitution. Anyone who believes in the Constitution is a statist to some degree. Anyone who is completely not a statist is by definition an anarchist and gets no cred from me.

    Finally, I’m open to the discussion about felons having gun rights restored. But it is way low on my priority list. The NRA says there 30,000+ infringements to 2A. When honest citizens get all their gun rights, then I’ll start worrying about violent criminals.

    • When honest citizens get all their gun rights, then I’ll start worrying about violent criminals.

      Game, Set and Match. JohnF FTW.

    • Anyone who is completely not a statist is by definition an anarchist and gets no cred from me.

      Statists like to say that anarchy is simply the biggest gang taking over and total chaos immediately forthcoming. I believe all there is – is anarchy and all things stem out of it. The state as we know it – is the biggest gang and has already taken over and we live with their rules, as part of the gang we were born into. There still is chaos, domestic and abroad, as feuding gangs, domestic and abroad, fight it out.

    • “Anyone who believes in the Constitution is a statist to some degree”

      Nope. A statist is someone who believes the state should have more power than the individual – that most power is best in the hands of the state and the individual should have little to none. The constitution allows as little power in the hands of the state as they thought was necessary – and believes that the individual and at a higher level local and state governments should have the most power. Obviously there are degrees but the point of using the term statist is to delineate those on the upper side of the state power curve and to encompass all statist governments without using all the silly and inaccurate terms ‘socialist’, ‘communist’, ‘fascist’ etc., all are accurately described statist.

      A constitutionalist is not a mini-statist, sorry.

      • I have found there are a lot of variations for the definition of ‘statism’, depending on the source. In some political science definitions, the degrees of statism range from minarchism to totalitarianism. By that broad standard, if you support the existence of a state that controls economic or social policy to any degree, even if it is just a minimalist state to protect you from aggression, breach of contract, theft of property, and fraud, you are a statist. Others prefer a more narrow definition, presumably to excludes themselves from the label.

        • That makes little sense, what you are describing amounts to ‘supports any government’, which isn’t what statist means. Statist means of and for the state literally. The word speaks to state power over individual power.

          ‘some political science definitions’ you say? Oh, of course, they have all gotten notified we are using the word to describe them, and they can’t have that. Statist manipulation of the language is well known, that’s how they got to be called liberals, and then progressives. Wonder what they will pull out next.

        • It’s not my personal position on the definition, just what I found when trying to get the term nailed down by searching the web. It seems like the definitions of certain political terms are as contentious as arguments over larger ideas like philosophies. Though it is not a reliable or unbiased source on anything, I found that broad definition on wikipedia:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statism

          There are plenty of places on the web where anarchists refer to minarchists as ‘statists’. I have found arguing over definitions of political terms to be generally frustrating. I once got a political science professor really annoyed with me by arguing with him in class about the validity of the simple linear Left-Right political scale he was using, which I thought was flawed and was used by guys of his ilk as to paint any move away from socialism as an incremental move towards fascism (which he placed on the far right). He ended up shutting me down instead of addressing my points about where libertarianism would fall on the scale (my position at the time) and I dropped the course because I concluded he was a biased a-hole who might hold a grudge for me challenging him to the extent that I did.

        • “Frank in VA says:
          May 11, 2016 at 06:12

          It’s not my personal position on the definition, just what I found…”

          Understood, and this is a worthwhile discussion, as all of these terms carry with them some degree of baggage and imprecision.

          This is why I prefer the term statist, and in my use I mean it in its simplest form, as stated above, to cover all political systems where the power is concentrated in the state and individual rights are limited if not absent. I also think this is what most people mean when using the term.

          And the point about language appropriation and obfuscation by those on the statist (progressive, socialist, etc.) side is very very true. This is exactly how we went from communist/socialist to liberal to progressive (Liberty! Great! Progress! Awesome!), and I suppose it only makes sense that this same crowd is seeing greater use of the term statist over the past decade or so and is working to diffuse its meaning.

  14. THIS is not abstract to me. My 38 year old son is a convicted felon. Not violent-he wandered into a house in a psychotic haze. Nevertheless he can’t own a gun. Legally. Likewise my brother-in-law. Falsely imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. It happens in Chicago to black men ALL the time. I don’t have any EZ answers.

    • Non-violent felons should have a path back to full restoration of rights. If they serve their time properly, including their probation, and make restitution where possible, they should get it all back.

      You brother-in-law, if wrongfully convicted, will need a ton of help to have his conviction overturned. It’s hard anywhere. In Chiraq, it’s even more difficult. Yes, wrongful convictions happen to black people all the time, and they happen to white people too.

      As for violent felons, I have no compassion for them.

    • These things happen to white folk too you know. The system screws us all in one way or another. Not saying your point is wrong, just that like anything, there’s always more to the story. Jus sayin.

      • Ummm…my son is white. In a perfect world he would have been given a stay in the loony bin-not jail. Ever hear of John Burge? My brother-in-law has.

        • My bad, I took last part of your comment to mean you were speaking of this in general.

  15. My ultimately question is which if not both of these felons was on parole or probation at the time? I’d take a bet on one if not both of them not being there if they were made to serve their time and/or were prosecuted fully in the first place.

  16. I don’t have a problem with him defending himself, but he’s going to end up with another conviction for “felon in possession” and possibly serve some time in prison for it.

  17. While our Constitution, and the Bill of Rights in particular, enumerates some rights that are thought to be inalienable rights of the People, some of the Founders clearly did not regard all human beings living in the United States of America at that time as being part of the People. Slaves and American Indians for starters. Which raises the question as to whether the Founders considered criminals such as felons to be part of the People, or whether they essentially viewed them as ‘civilly dead’, with all their rights and property forfeit, as suggested by this New York post article:

    http://nypost.com/2008/07/22/gun-rights-for-felons/

    The writer is a retired professor of constitutional and criminal law, and a fellow at the Independent Institute, which Wikipedia describes as a ‘libertarian conservative think tank’.

    • Hrmph. Have to see the sourcing on that one. Mr. Kates states “the Founding Fathers did not think “the people” included criminals. Under the law as they knew it, felons were “civilly dead”: They had no legal rights whatever” but he supports this with nothing but his own statements. To wit: “In sum, the constitutional right to arms simply does not extend to people convicted of serious criminal offenses”

      The Constitution says no such thing. I can’t think of references to this topic in FP, but then again I don’t exactly have them memorized.

      So that needs sources to see it as anything but what some guy in CA thinks, which on its face is worthless.

      • I want to think a guy with his credentials has some valid source material to support his positions, and that the Supreme Court justices who seem to agree consulted sources that support their judgements also, but in his capacity as a writer he totally failed by not citing any of them. He might be an authority, but I don’t like his ‘take my word for it’ approach as a writer. So you have a point. When I have some time to burn, I’m going to look into it.

        I like that he at least draws a distinction between the classical definition of felony as a handful of serious crimes and the variety of new ‘felonies’ created by our current litany of laws. Taking the issue of guns for felons to either extreme of allowing/disallowing is equally troubling to me.

        • Understood, but I also have this to suggest. Look at this in practical terms, a method I think the FF would approve of.

          We have to have laws, or we don’t have a civil society.
          We have to have prisons because people will always break laws.
          Putting aside ‘a handful of serious crimes’ for the moment, imagine a man embezzles $10,000 from his employer. He is caught and is sentenced to (making this up out of the air) 3 years in the joint, pays back the money – is remorseful and otherwise a good citizen, no prior history, with family, etc.

          I think we all agree that a man like this deserves to be put back in society at the end of his term, and I would argue (again, very oversimplified here), deserves all of his rights back should he complete his time and no other problems arise to complicate this.

          We aren’t talking about removing all individual rights from all criminals all the time. The broad point is this, for these ‘a handful of serious crimes’ punishment should be very severe, you murder someone you are gone from society, period. There is no issue of whether or not you get your rights back in such a case, nest-ce-pas?

          Now on the other hand we have a man who committed a lesser felony, paid his penalty and is deemed a potential benefit to the civil society and is released. This is my point, if these men are considered having paid their debt and deserve their liberties and freedoms, then they deserve all the benefits of any member of society, and that means can own firearms.

          If these men are too dangerous to allow to have guns, how can you let them back into society! If you do, these dangerous men will be able to get guns, and they will do so! History shows us this. That in my mind is insane!

          I can’t see how the FF would have disagreed with this.

        • “If these men are too dangerous to allow to have guns, how can you let them back into society”

          Of all the points made for allowing felons to have guns, I find this seemingly simple question to be one of the more compelling and challenging. One thing that came to mind when I pondered it awhile, because it is brought up a lot, is the situation of children or minors. They are deprived of certain liberties like buying alcohol and guns, driving and voting, and face certain other restrictions on their freedom which are not based in any way on prior transgressions or perceived debts to the public. We restrict these things by law, both for their well being and for the public good. We do this based on the idea that while they are not an immediate danger to others when out in public, they might become so if granted certain liberties that adults enjoy. Imagine 12 year old drivers out on the highway, for example. They are deemed generally less capable of acting responsibly as fully free members of society. Yet they are also, to a great degree, free to wonder and interact with the public at a certain age once parental absence is no longer considered ‘child endangerment’.

          So, we might think of violent felons who have served their time in prison as people who can be trusted to be loose in public without creating an unreasonable public danger, so long as they are granted a lesser degree of liberty than others. Rather than being civilly dead as that article suggests, they have been reverted to child status in a sense. I know this argument has some holes in it. We let felons drive cars which can be dangerous weapons, for example. But I think it is a parallel worth considering.

        • As an afterthought to the felons-driving-cars thing, that freedom can be said to be in the public’s interest also, assuming the felon’s past offenses were not motor vehicle related. The freedom to drive on public roads can be used, and may be needed in some cases, as transportation to and from gainful employment. Since employment likely reduces the risk of recidivism significantly, the felon’s freedom to drive may present more public benefits than risks.

  18. So he was wearing his seat belt? You mean, taking precautionary measures and using a tool to help protect himself in case of an incident?

  19. Dang. I live in Oahu. Hawaii. I was called a terrorist for owning a gun when some “trusted friends of the police” on the local neighborhood watch on an extra judicial top secret anti terrorist operation forced my door open after a while of openly boasting they were going to murder me. I was (and still am) public enemy numbah one for pulling on them and making them run away on the multiple times they came up on private property and forced the door open or tried to.

    I became homeless from the cops, “Federal Police” and these heroic neighborhood watch members following me around and having to protect my interests from their deeds. They tried to murder me and my elderly mom and her chihuahuas, hiding behind the image of being law enforcement. They claimed it was all justified because I owned a gun (They would try to claim their actions were somehow justified when they tried to pretend to not be murderous fascist psychopaths), when they were not laughing and boasting how they could do whatever they wanted to us. They called us cockroaches.

    We were repeatedly, violently arrested for allegedly taking pictures and video of what they were doing. We were lucky to live through it, and did so through happenstance.

    I have to cut my ranting short right now with this disclaimer – Not all Honolulu Police are bad people, despite the fascist, illegal unconstitutional statutes they enforce, and the massive, evil corruption that permeates the local government. But watch out coming here, make sure you have connections on the outside to check on you, especially if you are politically active, involved in somewhat classified tech r&d or have pretty kids.

    (Funny story. Why would French guys come up to G.E. engineer at bus stop out of the bleu and introduce themselves as “Engineers also! How fascinating we meet at completely random occurence! Baguette! Tell us about new specific model of turbine we should not know about, we will keep badgering you about it after you tell us it is classified, sacre bleu, crossaint cordon bleu!”)

  20. We make people felons for victimless crimes and that is a tragic mistake. Everyday normal people like you and I become felons very easily. All it takes is getting caught. I guarantee many of us if we thought about it have commited a felonious act at some point. Most of us just never get caught. So don’t be so quick to judge others. Not every felon is a murderer, rapist, drug dealer, or thief. Taking people’s constitutional rights away from them for the rest of their lives is quite a big deal. We are making people second class citizens permanently. We are labeling them as trouble for the rest of their lives and often times we set them up for more failure. Our justice is creating its own fuel. Maybe this is by design of the powers that be. It is a bit rediculous to expect people to rehabilitate and improve themselves when we condemn them no matter what steps they take. We take away all I hope and promote a devil may care attitude that felons must live by. We create people who have nothing left to lose. After all what is going to happen to them? Their life will be ruined? Too late for that.

    I propose that if a felon is a non violent offender there needs to be a way for them to obtain their rights once time is served and all sentencing is completed. Hope is powerful motivator. Hope and Faith begat one another. Let’s give these misguided fools a little bit hope and maybe they will have some faith in themselves. In turn that would give us all a little hope that we can truelly reach people and help them make better choices. We already pay for them to do prison sentences and receive free education while they do their time. Let us not prohibit them from joining society as improved men.

  21. I don’t see where it says Porter was a violent felon; only that he was a felon. Where are you folks getting the violent part from?

  22. If you believe that the rights are endowed by our creator, then it stands to reason that the government can not take them away. So therefor martial law is not legal and neither is baring someone from a gun.

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