Federal Lifetime Gun Bans of Non-Violent Felons are Illegal, Argues FPC

Many have argued that there’s no reason to deny convicted felons their guns rights once they’ve paid their debt to society. If they’re deemed safe enough to release from prison, the thinking goes, why can’t they exercise their Second Amendment rights as they would any other?

This seems particularly reasonable in the case of felons who were convicted of non-violent crimes. Now the Firearms Policy Coalition, along with the Firearms Policy Foundation, the Second Amendment Foundation and others have filed a brief in a case against a man who was charged with possession of a firearm following a felony fraud conviction years earlier.

The brief argues that there is no tradition of banning peaceable citizens from owning firearms, and that non-violent felons are peaceable in the American and legal tradition.

Here’s the FPC’s press release . . .

PHILADELPHIA, PA (JULY 12, 2019) — Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) and Firearms Policy Foundation (FPF) announced the filing of an important amicus brief in the federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals in the criminal appeal of U.S.A. v. Raphael Hunt-Irving, which challenges the federal lifetime ban on firearm possession by even non-violent felons. The brief was authored by FPC attorney and Legal Fellow Joseph Greenlee, a Second Amendment expert and historian. A copy of the court filing can be accessed at www.firearmspolicy.org/legal.

Mr. Hunt-Irving had been entirely deprived of his Second Amendment rights based on a non-violent felony, which the government used in order to prosecute him for violating 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1). As in other cases, FPC filed a brief in support of Mr. Hunt-Irving’s Second Amendment claims, using groundbreaking new research by Greenlee to show that the historical basis for bans on felons is the tradition of disarming actually dangerous people convicted of violent felony crimes, not just those the government broadly classifies as ‘felons’ in its statutes.

“The Supreme Court has made clear that in evaluating a Second Amendment challenge, a court must interpret the Amendment’s text in light of the history and tradition of the founding era,” explained Greenlee. “When the right was codified, only dangerous people had ever been deprived of their right to arms. The federal statute at issue in this case is therefore a violation of the Second Amendment’s protections by disarming non-violent people who have every right to keep and bear arms under every appropriate test and analysis.”

Since Mr. Hunt-Irving’s conviction was for a non-violent crime, he is distinct from those who have historically been barred from keeping arms. FPC’s brief traces the historical tradition of disarming dangerous persons from the year 602 through the enactment of 18 U.S.C. 922. The brief shows that there is no tradition of banning peaceable citizens from owning firearms, and that non-violent felons are ‘peaceable’ in the American and legal tradition. Thus, it argues, there is no historical justification for a ban on Mr. Hunt-Irving and he should retain his Second Amendment rights.

FPC and FPF were joined in the brief by Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), Firearms Owners Against Crime (FOAC), and Madison Society Foundation (MSF).

Firearms Policy Coalition (www.firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, especially the fundamental, individual Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

Firearms Policy Foundation (www.firearmsfoundation.org) is a 501(c)3 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPF’s mission is to defend the Constitution of the United States and the People’s rights, privileges and immunities deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition, especially the inalienable, fundamental, and individual right to keep and bear arms.

comments

  1. avatar Biatec says:

    I know they probably would not vote for someone I like but that too. If you are not ready to own a gun you are not ready to rejoin society.

    I will never understand that. Guns should be like buying power tools. You walk into a hardware store pick one up use the self check out and go home with it. It’s not like a felon can’t get a gun anyway. They always say it’s to make it harder.

    it’s not harder. If I for some reason was in Europe I know exactly how I would get a gun. I’d go to my local hardware store.

  2. avatar Anonymous says:

    The law says that felons released from prison, by law, can’t protect their children with firearms, can’t protect their wives with firearms, can’t protect their homes with firearms, can’t protect their livestock with firearms, and can’t protect their country with firearms – despite that firearms make the best machine for defense.

    1. avatar Guesty McGuesterson says:

      Don’t forget all the additional laws that are slapped tangentially onto spouses or family members living at the same residence. Here in CA, so many things now qualify for felony charges (that ironically are fully legal in other states, or viewed as only misdemeanors), that when a felon is released from incarceration and goes back home, all firearms within the residence must be rendered unusable and locked up, or removed from the home entirely.

      And if the person is now on a state registry (there are many here in CA, such as sexual offender, gang, arson, etc.), then every person within that same residence is ALSO required to register his/her name with the local LE as well. I know…a relative of mine went to 2nd base with a girl he was dating, the relationship didn’t end well, she cried rape a couple of months later, and he spent half a year behind bars (judge took her word over his) and is now an SO. When he was released from jail and had no immediate place to go, I allowed him to stay with me for a while, and was astonished to find deputies at my house explaining the law to me and requiring all my information as well. I had to lock all my guns up and remove the rest to another address!!

      1. avatar Fergus says:

        Interesting argument but is it valid only in regards to California or all states. If it is only California your argument carries substantially less weight. I do not believe others related to a felon can be penalized for the actions of the felon and find it difficult to believe such a regulation can be enforced.

        1. avatar Guesty McGuesterson says:

          Unfortunately, it’s true here. I actually declined to give my personal information to the deputies until they showed me the actual Penal Code reference. They gave me a form that stated the P.C. on it, and demanded my I.D., home, personal, employment, and vehicle information. The CA law states that all residents living at the same address as a registered offender (felon) are required to submit the same info for monitoring purposes. I can only imagine that this stupid law had its origins in cases where multiple gang members resided in a single house.

  3. avatar Nanashi says:

    The first draft of the Second Amendment specified “peaceable citizens”. Both the peaceable and citizens were dropped in the final for a reason. The founders realized Great Britain didn’t consider them “peaceable”, and “citizen” wasn’t the default till the 14th amendment (recall why Paul was beheaded and the rest crucified).

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      The first draft of the 2nd amendment said no such thing.

      “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person”

      1. avatar Nanashi says:

        The proposal of including
        “And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms.”

        predates that.

        1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

          … which is in no way “the first draft of the 2nd amendment”.

    2. avatar former water walker says:

      The APOSTLE Paul?!? He was a “privileged” Roman citizen. What point could you possibly make?!? Dead is dead. And Paul wanted to appear before Caesar. And die a martyr anyway. Literally nothing to do with non-violent felons getting 2A rights(which I support)…

      1. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

        Being willing to die and wanting to die are two entirely different things.

        1. avatar former water walker says:

          Paul expressed a desire to be with Christ-in heaven. Clearly going before Nero was a deathwish…

      2. avatar Nanashi says:

        The point was that the modern idea of citizenship is just that: Modern. Before the 14th one could have been born in the US, lived in it their entire life, and not be a citizen. Paul being a citizen when the rest of the apostles were not was an example of that.

        1. avatar neiowa says:

          That nonsense conveying citizenship was invented LONG after the 14th. AND is utter BS

      3. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

        Wasn’t he the guy who was nailed to a cross up-side-down? (Not a biblical scholar,here)

        1. avatar JW says:

          Traditionally, it was Peter who was crucified upside down.

      4. avatar tdiinva says:

        Nero found Paul not guilty and released him. He then went on to Iberia. Paul appealed to Ceasar before the verdict was rendered because he believed, that like Jesus, he would be railroaded. Turned out he was wrong.

  4. avatar Mr no says:

    This should be on a case to case basis I understand that 2nd rights are basically inalienable but not for someone who deprived someone else’s rights.

    1. avatar John in Ohio says:

      That’s the opposite of inalienable.

      1. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

        We don’t deprive felons of their 1A rights, or any others except 2A.

        1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          Good point. Except that during any probationary period (early release), the 4A is also suspended and LE may enter your house and search without warrant.

        2. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

          Point taken, but technically if they are released early subject to oversight, they aren’t yet free.

        3. avatar John in Ohio says:

          The problem with any supervised release/probation/etc is that the guardian (in this case government) ought to be responsible for their reasonable safety. As it stands, the person has their unalienable individual right to protect themselves and their families infringed without the guardian being held accountable for their reasonable safety. This isn’t limited to convicted individuals either. Many bonds can be used to strip the exercise of rights without any accountability of the State for the person’s reasonable safety before any conviction has occurred. IMHO, that’s immoral and antithesis to a society of free individuals.

        4. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

          My bet is if you ask a prisoner, do you want to stay in prison for your full term or do you want to be released early with the proviso that you can’t buy and carry a gun during the remainder of your term, they’ll choose the latter.

        5. avatar jwm says:

          isn’t early release subject to the inmate agreeing to the terms of release? He still hasn’t served his full sentence so strings are attached.

          Once a person has satisfied his legal obligations then all rights should be restored.

        6. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Once a person has satisfied his legal obligations then all rights should be restored….”

          Ach. Make every violation of any law a felony; be done with it all. The misdemeanor/felony categories create law inequality, and unfairness. We’ve got to level the playing field. Two-tiered laws are a result of white privilege. People charged with misdemeanors should not be treated differently in a just society.

        7. avatar John in Ohio says:

          JWM, the inmate is not afforded the privilege of forgoing probation in Ohio. If the system decides to release you under supervision, the only way to revoke that as the subject is to violate the terms and take any extra sentence tacked on. The State can then re-release you, adding on restrictions, and then you can violate the terms again and potentially get more time added on. Rinse and repeat.

        8. avatar jwm says:

          John. I worked in a prison here in CA about 30 years ago. Hated every minute of it for a number of reasons. I’ve never done the research but in my opinion our prison population would be reduced at least two thirds if we ended this idiotic war on drugs. The insanity of the war on drugs makes Viet Nam look almost acceptable.

          You and I do not always agree. But if a person has served their time they need all rights restored without having to jump through any further hoops.

        9. avatar John in Ohio says:

          “You and I do not always agree. But if a person has served their time they need all rights restored without having to jump through any further hoops.”

          We never disagreed on a few scooter sites and I am glad that we can, from time to time, agree on some things here. Disagree or not, I often like reading your posts.

          Cheers.

        10. avatar FlyingFish says:

          Until the legislature acts on our last election, a convicted felon in Florida also permanently lost the right to vote in spite of completion of the sentence, in the same way as 2nd Amendment rights were lost.

        11. avatar A O says:

          Felons are not allowed to vote. 15th Amendment violation.

      2. avatar Hannibal says:

        Is it? We throw people in jail. What more alienation of their ‘rights’ can you have? If someone knows they may not be allowed to possess a gun before they commit a crime how is it any different?

        Why is everyone so fixated on jail being the only punishment for a crime? I don’t think someone convicted of a non-violent crime should necessarily be barred from owning a gun but the argument that it’s prohibited, given due process, is not strong. .

        1. avatar John in Ohio says:

          IMHO, that’s infringement. We can impede the exercise of an unalienable individual right but it does not destroy or alter ownership of the right.

    2. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

      A felony is hardly synonymous with depriving another of their rights. It could be for just about anything.

    3. avatar Deborah Griffin says:

      I agree case by case because with the way many prosecutors make plea deals these days rather than go to trial they may drop the use of a weapon to get a guilty plea

  5. avatar Poppycock45 says:

    Free means free. Exclusions are a way for the government to infringe on the right – just crank out more laws to make everyone convictable.

  6. avatar Chip in Florida says:

    The problem is a great number of crimes have been added to the list that qualifies as a Felony. There are still more than a couple of Politicians who would like to expand the list even further, one politician recently suggested we charge people who make fun of her with a crime.

    If the criminal is safe enough to let out of jail, then they should be safe enough to have their rights fully restored.

    1. avatar John in Ohio says:

      Their inalienable rights haven’t gone anywhere. What has happened is that it is accepted that government is allowed privilege to temporarily infringe. The right remains unalienable to the individual regardless. Government can’t restore unalienable rights because government can’t grant unalienable rights. Government can only infringe upon the exercise of those rights. Government is not alive so it possesses no inalienable rights. Further, it cannot grant what it does not possess. It can only grant privilege that was previously afforded it.

      1. avatar John Clemons says:

        My son was charged with felonies when he was 18 because he broke into a school. They started he could have endangered someone working the night shift. He committed these acts when he was 17 years old. They didn’t bring him to trial till he was 18 years old. The 13year old turned states witness and was not charged. My son committed suicide on his 38th birthday in front of me. He wanted to be a police officer.

        1. avatar John in Ohio says:

          I am very sorry for your loss.

        2. avatar possum says:

          My goodness that would be just awful, more then awful. Peace out to you Man

        3. avatar GluteusMaximus says:

          God bless you

        4. avatar Blkojo says:

          Damn.

        5. avatar Ardent says:

          I’m sorry to learn of your loss. In part, I believe I’ve shared some of his pain. 15 years ago I was convicted of a felony for “unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon is a Class D liquor establishment”. That’s Ohio Revised Code for: I was carrying a concealed gun in a bar. Nevermind that I had a CCW permit, nevermind I wasn’t drinking, and nevermind that the search which revealed the firearm was unlawful and nevermind that exactly what I was doing that night is no longer illegal in Ohio (we now allow carry in bars with a permit)…my options were plead to a felony and avoid the 5 years in prison the prosecutor was asking for, or roll the dice at trial. I couldn’t risk my job and family, so I took the plea, adding to the terms that the prosecution wouldn’t object to an expungement of my record if I met the statutory requirements. 4 years on probation, seeing a probation officer every other week. Being drug tested. Having them show up at my house at all hours of the morning to ensure I was within curfew…I was called a model probationer, and released a year early. 3 years later I met the statutory requirements for an expungement. Prior to this I’d never been arrested, never convicted of a crime, always kept a job, owned my home, a model citizen. But for 7 long years I couldn’t own a gun. I was an IPSC shooter, firearms instructor, and guns were my life. 7 years I couldn’t defend my home and my family. Couldn’t participate in my large rural family’s shooting get togethers. Couldn’t pursue my sport, my passion or what was once my carreer, lost many friends because I could no longer do the thing that bought us togather…all because one night I went into a bar to pick up an intoxicated friend and failed to remove my gun first, something not even illegal in this state now.

          On top of all that the prosecutor attempted to contest my request for expungement, despite being on record agreeing not to as part of the plea agreement. $1000s later I got my expungement, a product of serious foresight, access to considerable funds, having a great attorney, and jumping through so many hoops you wouldn’t believe. I’m fortunate, lucky even, to now legally own firearms and have a permit to carry concealed. I felt like less than a man and less than a citizen for 7 long years, 3 of which after I had repaid my “debt to society”. All of that, and had I not thought to get it on record, the whim of one man would have precluded me from having my rights for the rest of my life.

          I can’t explain what it feels like to be a felon. It’s daunting, embarrassing and difficult. You apply for jobs knowing you won’t be hired. You cant own, shoot or even touch a gun or ammunition. You cannot take hold of a gun an unknowing acquaintance offers you to look at without committing a felony. You have to keep explaining your felon status to others. You are less in the eyes of others and the law.

          I had decided that if my expungement didn’t go through I would move to live with friends in Guatemala. I was ready to leave the country I love, the land of my birth, to escape the collateral sanctions of my horrific crime. I was ready to leave my large extended family, my mother and father behind to move to a third world country because at least there I could be free. Fortunately I had the friends and resources to do so. Thankfully, because of my foresight in my plea agreement, and the work of a dedicated attorney I didn’t have to exercise those options.

          Without the hope of my eventual return to freedom, or the safety valve of fleeing to another country, I’m not sure what I would have done. I’d like to think it wasn’t suicide, but time to time, when the unjustness of it, the ugly bureaucracy of it, the sheer stupidity, as the law was changed making what I did no longer illegal, as I read the complaint against me, indicating that I had “violated the peace and dignity of the Great State of Ohio” and the enormity of it all weighed on me, I just don’t know.

          I’m really sorry this happened to your son. I’m really sorry when this happens to anyone. I hear people talk about being oppressed because they aren’t getting their way and I think “no, I know what official oppression is, and that’s not it”. I wish your son could have had some of my options, or any options other than the one he took. I wish for this not to happen to others. Collateral sanctions are unjust, counter productive and amount to cruel and unusual punishment. Every felon ends up doing life, no matter their actual sentence, no matter what it is they did, unless they rate an expungement or pardon, which is very rare.

          Are their people who ought to forfeit some rights? Of course, and we call them prisoners. To tell someone who never did a day in prison that they have a life sentence to being denied any of their rights, that’s just plain wrong. It doesn’t serve any legitimate goal, and it’s cruel and undeserved.

          Restoring rights to felons upon release ought to be the automatic norm, not the exception. The very idea that this is somehow controversial is both unfair and un-American.

        6. avatar Toni says:

          Agree completely. from what you wrote what happened to you (and happens to many others also is completely unlawful (Lawful being laws that are Just and Fair). Any law is legal, most laws are not lawful especially these days

      2. avatar Joe in NC says:

        This. Government does not have rights. They have powers.

        1. avatar Kep says:

          The government is supposed to be WE the PEOPLE , not a self-proclaimed ruling class, but that is EXACTLY what our politicians believe they are. Our country was never designed to have a ruling class. We need to rid ourselves of ALL career politicians and the Communist party, aka the Democratic Party.

  7. avatar John in Ohio says:

    I am an absolutist in regards to the unalienable individual right to keep and bear arms. If they aren’t in lawful, legitimate custody of another then nobody has privilege to infringe. Any legitimate guardian then has responsibility for the reasonable safety of their charge. My stance seems to be at odds with Heller.

    (I could be wrong about the following as I am short of time and could only do some quick searching.)

    AFAIK, Heller held that “The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons…”

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/07-290.ZS.html

    “2. Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons. Pp. 54–56.”

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      You and me both.

      “It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose” is offensive to the literal text and intent of the 2nd and of amendments themselves. Bearing arms in any manner whatever IS a right, and none of the amendments specify a right – they only prohibit infringements thereupon.

      1. avatar John in Ohio says:

        I wholeheartedly agree.

        1. avatar Ansel Hazen says:

          The problem I have is all of this is subject to decisions made by a criminal justice system that lets illegal aliens out the back doors of courtrooms. I’m not too comfy with them making determinations as to whether a few felons ought to be able to own guns again.

    2. avatar Eric O says:

      Keeping Kennedy on board with Heller meant a narrow opinion, and trying to address anything beyond the individual right was going to lose his support. I think with the addition of Gorsuch and Kavanuagh, expanding on Heller to address GCA and NFA is more likely.

      That Scalia said arms in common use, ignores that automatic weapons may indeed be in common use if not for the prior restraint (to steal a 1st Amendment phrase). These things, hopefully with the right cases, will finally be addressed.

      1. avatar John in Ohio says:

        “And if they were in the habit of conferring honours among themselves on those who were quickest to observe the passing shadows and to remark which of them went before, and which followed after, and which were together; and who were therefore best able to draw conclusions as to the future, do you think that he would care for such honours and glories, or envy the possessors of them?”

  8. avatar Baldwin says:

    It seems that more and more federal circuit courts and SCOTUS is just standing in line waiting their turn to bend us over and do us dry. The circuit courts don’t even try to sugarcoat their abuses. At best, SCOTUS is squeezing out tiny drops of freedom, the very least amount they can get away with. When will our government stop stepping on the rattlesnake? Someone is going to get bit! Rights are Rights are Rights!

    1. avatar John in Ohio says:

      The courts are part of government. It’s only a natural tendency that an organ of government would eventually try to protect the organism of government. In other words, it is the fox in charge of the hen house. We all know where that ends.

  9. avatar route66paul says:

    Who, more than a felon, needs a firearm for protection? The people you left behind in prison have jobs for you to do, and if you don’t do them, you just might be a victim of violence. You must have someone watching your back in the penitentiary, and they will expect goodies after you are on the street.
    Maybe we should only put violent inmates and crooked politicians in the violent jails, and leave the peaceable ones in low security prisons.

    1. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

      Anyone can be a felon any day. (Isn’t there a book called 5 felonies a day, or something like that?) There’s lots of white color crimes that are felonies. Prisons and felonies should be for the violent criminals. The rest should pay restitution, community service, be banned from certain jobs. Restore voting rights and gun rights.

  10. avatar Sam I Am says:

    There are a couple of comments where the following discussion could be inserted, so maybe a general note is better placed.

    To discuss individual human, natural and civil rights it can be useful to observe the distinction between “inalienable” and “unalienable”; the terms are not actually interchangeable.

    The DoI states, “…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,…”. Notice “unalienable”, not “inalienable”. The framers of the constitution were quite expert at using the language, and would know the two adjectives are not synonymous. (except that because American English is a sloppy language, common usage rather than rigid definition, prevails such that today, the terms are deemed equal)

    A rather good review of “unalienable”, and “inalienable” is at this link (http://www.gemworld.com/USA-Unalienable.htm). The text at the link is not a long, boring scholarly legal treatise, but quite useful in understanding why the two words are not “a distinction without a difference”.

    1. avatar John in Ohio says:

      There are arguments for both sides. I have read some but unalienable and inalienable have been considered interchangeable by many for a long time.

      https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/unalienable
      ‘To find the origins of the word unalienable, we can look at the root, alien, which comes from the Latin alienus, meaning “of or belonging to another.” This provides the basis for our word, with the prefix un- providing the turnaround “not,” and the suffix -able providing the idea of capability. Therefore, we get “not able to be denied.” Oh, and if you are wondering about the common argument as to whether it is “unalienable” or “inalienable,” either is correct.’

      http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/unalienable.html
      “Unalienable / Inalienable
      The question is often asked, “Is the word in the Declaration of Independence unalienable or is it inalienable?”
      The final version of the Declaration uses the word “unalienable.” Some earlier drafts used the word “inalienable,” which is the term our modern dictionaries prefer. The two words mean precisely the same thing.
      According to The American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style from Houghton Mifflin Company:
      The unalienable rights that are mentioned in the Declaration of Independence could just as well have been inalienable, which means the same thing. Inalienable or unalienable refers to that which cannot be given away or taken away.”

      You can find enough support for both arguments everywhere. However, the founders apparently used them interchangeably. I use inalienable before words like individual because the spoken sentence flows better in my opinion. For example: “The unalienable individual right to keep and bear arms.” vs “The inalienable individual right to keep and bear arms.” When speaking to others, I find that I more often stumble over the latter.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        When we want to use the words of the founders to support a position, it is important to read and understand the original, in the original. As noted at the link, an unalienable right cannot be altered in any fashion, where an inalienable right can be voluntarily negotiated.

        If a right cannot be altered, it is, shall we say, absolute – unalienable. A right that existed before government was created. Bearing arms was a natural right of a person when there were no governments whatsoever.

        If a right can be negotiated, altered, it is inalienable, such as property rights. The constitution considers property rights inalienable. That is, government has no legitimate, inherent, pre-existing right to take legally owned property from a person without compensating the individual, a sort of negotiated transfer/surrender of property, and the ownership rights that go with it; government cannot simply oust the property willy nilly.

        When we look at 2A, and the “takings clause” of 5A, we see unalienable and inalienable laid out. However….

        The framers did face the conundrum of unalienable (absolute) right to bear arms as actually not being absolutely absolute, making provision for removing firearms as a result of criminal activity. Which opens the door to “reasonable restrictions”, “reasonable” being in the eye of the beholder, and expressed as law. (2A absolutists, such as myself, should understand that “absolute” is more a moral principle, than a sustainable political/philosophical stance in actual life. That means start with absolutely absolute, then yield only in minute increments away from the absolute (being ever skeptical about each yielded increment).

        In the end, the link provided should provoke serious self-examination of our understanding of the brilliance of the constitution, and our own justifications for why we believe what we do regarding the constitution. Sometimes we are faced with the reality that we hold two opposed ideas simultaneously, without understanding the implications. But if we would argue “original intent”, or “strict constitutionalist”, we, among all people, should be clear about the original words, even to the nuances represented by the word choices made by the originators of the constitution.

        1. avatar John in Ohio says:

          “When we want to use the words of the founders to support a position,”

          Just an FYI, I wasn’t using the “words of the founders” to support a position. I was using my own words with modern meaning. Additionally, I have provided ample evidence that the other argument is equally strong.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Just an FYI, I wasn’t using the “words of the founders” to support a position. I was using my own words with modern meaning. Additionally, I have provided ample evidence that the other argument is equally strong.”

          Understood. My phrasing was more general as in “we – POTG, conservatives, constitutionalists, etc.”

          BTW, bouncing ideas off you (and others) always exercises the brain, and presumptions.

        3. avatar John in Ohio says:

          “But if we would argue “original intent”, or “strict constitutionalist””

          I am not making those arguments. I am an anarcho-capitalist. In my view all government is wrong. However, I could live under a minarchist form of government as the founders apparently desired.

        4. avatar John in Ohio says:

          I believe that you began from a mistaken premise that I was arguing from any of those positions. If I were discussing North Korea, I would be supporting the same notion of unalienable individual rights. My statements do not require America, founders, a constitution, etc. My statements start with the underlying premise that all of those alive enjoy inalienable rights by virtue of simply being.

        5. avatar Sam I Am says:

          The discussion is about whether “unalienable” and “inalienable” were suitable interchanges in the language, as if there is not difference. My stance is there is a significant difference, and if we want to use the words, we should understand that difference. That sloppy language is the result of, or catalyst for sloppy thinking. The two terms are not a matter of “You say tomato, and I say tomahto.”

        6. avatar John in Ohio says:

          “Understood. My phrasing was more general as in “we – POTG, conservatives, constitutionalists, etc.”

          BTW, bouncing ideas off you (and others) always exercises the brain, and presumptions.”

          Ah, now I understand.

          Carry on.

        7. avatar John in Ohio says:

          ‘My stance is there is a significant difference, and if we want to use the words, we should understand that difference. That sloppy language is the result of, or catalyst for sloppy thinking. The two terms are not a matter of “You say tomato, and I say tomahto.”’

          I get it and agree that language can be specific. At one point a few decades ago, I kept to the distinction in my own writing and speech. If I could land on your side of the inalienable/unalienable discussion today, I would be pointing it out pretty much as you are.

          🙂

    2. avatar John in Ohio says:

      “The framers of the constitution were quite expert at using the language, and would know the two adjectives are not synonymous.”

      http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/unalienable.html

      “In a footnote in “The Declaration of Independence: A Study in the History of Political Ideas” by Carl Lotus Becker, published 1922, we learn:

      The Rough Draft reads “[inherent &] inalienable.” There is no indication that Congress changed “inalienable” to “unalienable”; but the latter form appears in the text in the rough Journal, in the corrected Journal, and in the parchment copy. John Adams, in making his copy of the Rough Draft, wrote ” unalienable.” Adams was one of the committee which supervised the printing of the text adopted by Congress, and it may have been at his suggestion that the change was made in printing. “Unalienable” may have been the more customary form in the eighteenth century.”

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        ” “Unalienable” may have been the more customary form in the eighteenth century.” ”

        The use of “may” is not insignificant; indicates uncertainty. The reason for the link was/is to point out that there actually is a difference between the two words, and the difference is not trivial.

        Just to have another go at it, the Second Amendment says nothing about compensation being a legitimate power available to the government allowing the suppression/violation of the amendment, whereas the Fifth Amendment grants power to government to take legitimately owned property from the legal owner if, as, and when just compensation is given. One “right” is unalienable, the other inalienable.

        1. avatar John in Ohio says:

          I have provided enough material for you to consider the other argument.

          I don’t know what else to tell you, friend.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          I did/do consider the other position, and still think it important to read the words as having meaningful differences. Reading other writings of the period, it is difficult to fully conclude that the framers were casual in word choice.

        3. avatar Toni says:

          Sam I Am most of the founders would also have had a solid foundational knowledge of Latin and Greek which are the 2 main building blocks upon which the English language is built. Most today do not have that hence in many cases know not what they are actually saying when they use certain words. Latin and Greek even then were not taught as languages in and of themselves to be used day to day but as the very foundation of a full understanding of the English language which also helps in the understanding of Legal language in particular Legalese.
          In the founders day if you had an education that went beyond what is considered grade 6 (last grade of primary school here in Australia) you also would have had an in-depth knowledge of Latin and Greek. I am talking what I learned at primary school over 30 years ago not what they now learn which was covered by the time i got to grade 4 and, that is even if they even understand half of what they are taught with how it is being taught now which i have seen many cases where they do not and not through lack of intelligence. Several kids i have helped with math as they were ripping their hair out trying to understand the way they were being taught. I showed them how I was taught and they picked it up almost right away.
          Education these days in not helping students achieve.

        4. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Classical education in the US was always a privilege, not the norm for the vast majority of the populace. My experience up to grade 6 had virtually zero mention of Greek and Latin, other than notice in history lessons. By time I hit college, it was possible to escape with a degree, having had no introduction to classic languages (or any language at all). However…

          My original comment issued from my schooling on American history, up to and including college level. It seemed more expedient to provide a more contemporary source (the link provided in the original), illustrating court cases where the two words were dealt with. John is always a good source of challenge, and doesn’t descend to trash talk. If anyone at all benefited from the back-and-forth, the goal was met.

        5. avatar Toni says:

          agree Sam I Am. A good education is a privilege. Most seem to think it is a right these days. Most of the founders (like Madison et al) would have had a good education that would have covered a lot more by age 15 than is currently covered by the time you reach the end of senior high (or about 18 or 19). In fact there would have been some of what we class as college level stuff by age 15. The comparison i am making is True private education v’s govt run education. Today even private schools are somewhat dictated as far as curriculum and much of history is not taught or is changed to suit those in power to help them keep power.
          Who are those in power today? Most all of them are power hungry and would trade their own mother for 30 sheckels of silver from the international bankers who control things from behind the scenes. Gadaffi was trying to move away from international banks controlling their major bank and going back to a national gold standard based bank for the people. We were sent to remove him and install someone else. Several other recent wars that has been the truth of why we have been sent rather than what has been told. Syria was another such case.
          A good book to read on that is the “The Enperors Clothes Cost Twenty Dollars” by Lloyd Darland and it is a good case against the FED being run as it is at present.

    3. avatar John in Ohio says:

      https://famguardian.org/subjects/politics/thomasjefferson/jeff0100.htm

      ‘”We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.” –Declaration of Independence as originally written by Thomas Jefferson, 1776. ME 1:29, Papers 1:315’

      ( see also https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/jefferson/jeffdec.html )

      https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript

      “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” –Declaration of Independence, In Congress, July 4, 1776.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        Did you note the use of “inherent and inalienable” rights can be read to mean there are two distinct classes of rights, “inherent” and “inalienable”? “Inherent” rights being absolute, and “inalienable” rights being alterable through agreement?

        It is interesting to read that “inalienable” and “unalienable” were considered, yet the end result was/is “unalienable”, a word that was accepted and ratified, rather than “inalienable”.

        1. avatar Jason says:

          Even if true, given that I am utterly unwilling to negotiate away any of my “inalienable” rights, they are therefore “unalienable” for all practicable purposes.

          There, problem resolved! 🤪

        2. avatar John in Ohio says:

          ‘Did you note the use of “inherent and inalienable” ‘

          Indeed, I did before posting it. That is the part I figured you would be discussing. 😉

        3. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Indeed, I did before posting it. That is the part I figured you would be discussing. ”

          Good stuff all around.

    4. avatar FlyingFish says:

      Sneaky [email protected]@rds. Still, by that inalienable definition consent to part with the right is explicit.

  11. avatar Richard D Cutie says:

    They want to give them the right to vote for them. So they (democrats) must trust the ones that are coming out of prison into society that never actually hurt anyone. Right?? Ask a few and let’s see what they say lol

  12. avatar enuf says:

    A prison sentence is a period of punishment. It is not a period after which the criminal is magically reformed into a decent, law abiding citizen. Restrictions on some civil rights are the ongoing price the ex-convict pays for having harmed society.

    I do not favor restricting gun ownership to a non-violent ex-convict who did not so much as carry a firearm during a crime.

    If any form of violence was used, if a gun was so much as in a pocket and no victim ever saw it, I would still deny that former prisoner the right to keep and bear arms. Whatever the term behind bars, the term of loss of certain rights would be life.

    Unless on a case by case basis it can be proven to a court that the former prisoner is reformed.

    So yes there should be a process by which a released prisoner is restored his or her civil rights, and indeed there are. These vary all over the country. Some restorations are automatic, some are very difficult and some quite easy. Depends on the jurisdiction, the nature of the original offense and a hell of a lot more.

  13. avatar Dog of War says:

    Lifetime bans on any enumerated right should be illegal. Even if you murdered someone but served your time. The only possible limit that might make some sense constitutionally or ethically could be someone that’s an immediate threat. And I don’t mean ‘a threat’ in the way that’s the justification for blatantly unconstitutional ‘Red Flag’ laws. I mean that someone that’s actively dangerous enough to warrant being taken into custody for their own sake or the sake of others.

  14. avatar JMR says:

    Federal gun bans are illegal period.

  15. avatar Rocketman says:

    Funny that the leftists want people in prison to be able to vote, more than likely because the left thinks they’ll vote Democrat, but once convicted of a crime the same left denies the former ex- prisoner his right to own a gun FOREVER.

    1. avatar User1 says:

      So do Republicans. They even want to stop people from buying guns if they are on a watch list. Republicans do not want former criminals to vote or own guns.

      At least the Democrats are trying to recover voting rights for people who have served their punishment. Although, they are doing it believing they will benefit because the current Republican platforms can’t win over such people.

      Oddly Republicans say they are Christian but they won’t forgive a sinner. A lot of those crimes were victim-less.

  16. avatar enuf says:

    The only thing we need to change is that when a criminal is convicted the court should state the period of both incarceration and rights revocation.

    Criminals should get “X” years behind bars as punishment for the crime.

    Criminals should get LIFE as loss of specific rights the court must list.

    All this bull about ex-cons deserve all their rights back is just that, a pile of steaming cow pies. No amount of time served proves a criminal is trustworthy with the full rights of a decent human being. After a term of prison is done and they are freed, they should have to prove to a court that they are reformed enough to be trusted. As in the right to vote again, possess firearms again, hold certain types of licenses such as medical doctor, etc.

    Criminals deserve no ones trust. Not without proof of reform anyhow.

    1. avatar Cory C. says:

      I feel like that’s a pretty good middle-of-the-road position. When my brother turned 18, he and his dumbass friends broke into their old high school. He now has a felony record. Well, he has been a law-abiding citizen since then. Spending a couple days in jail scared him pretty good. He should be able to petition the court and show that he’s not a moron anymore so that he can regain his Second Amendment rights.

      1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        He spent only a couple of days behind bars and yet was convicted of a felony? In most states, a felony qualifies with one year or more of prison (even though actual time served may be much less).

      2. avatar Danny Griffin says:

        Your brother who was 18 broke into a government building and you think it’s just some prank? LOL.

  17. avatar Hannibal says:

    When you are convicted of a crime after being afforded due process you face the punishments of that crime. Sometimes those punishments are not just prison. Fines, registry on a sexual offender registry, etc have all been found perfectly Constitutional. Prison is not the only punishment allowed under common, statutory or Constitutional law.

    So just as you can be thrown in prison for years upon felony conviction you can lose your gun rights. The second is not predicated only on being in prison. That doesn’t mean you SHOULD lose your legal ability to own a gun (anymore than you should necessarily be barred from voting) but it means there’s nothing magical that says prison is the only way that your rights can be infringed, so long as the punishment was written before the crime was committed.

    1. avatar Cory C. says:

      That’s a fair point. However, another poster mentioned that the sentencing guidelines baked into a criminal statute should clearly state the period of time for which you’ll lose specific rights. That seems more fair.

    2. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      No, lifetime surveillance by government after release is NOT constitutional, and not right. Registries are unethical. If someone needs longer supervision, then either the jail time should be lengthened, or the probation (if early release). Surveillance for years afterward is not warranted.

  18. avatar Alan says:

    Has The Court already addressed this matter?

  19. avatar S.Crock says:

    Non violent felons should absolutely have all of their rights restored. There is a solid argument for allowing all felons to have their rights restored if they were deemed worthy of being released back into society. Lastly, victimless crimes should never carry a felony charge with them.

  20. avatar Indy Jones says:

    the way i see it, if they’re willing to reinstate the right to vote for felons (both violent and non-violent), then restoring the other amendments is ok too

  21. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    Remember this, “felon” is a frame of mind, not just a specific act. Who is worse, the Ponzi schemer who has 3 or 4 people commit suicide ( Even Madoff’s son did) or the armed robber who just scared the bejeezus out of people??

  22. avatar barnbwt says:

    Folks who think felons are “undeserving,” remember; there are a TON of non-violent felonies surrounding firearms. Pretty much every non-violent possession or business violation results in a disabling felony, and even more commonly as part of a plea deal.

  23. avatar possum " stop feeding the cops your dead guys" says:

    This is what Yanks my tail. Years ago I had a felony charge, actually 3, it was a fun night. Ten years later I wanted my right to own a firegunm. A bunch of money and an understanding judge( you must present your reason, I’m a hunter) and got that right back. Okay, the DV Bill Cliton gunm grab scheme. There is no way in hell to ever get the right to own a gunm, no never, ever, ur fckd for life because of a MISDEMEANOR charge. WTF. And a this happened to me story: X old lady” oh we can try it again” hopeful. Nope. She’s hydro’d up again, lacking sleep, busting stuff having a good ole time hubbie bashing ,Enuff enough, “adios coyote bitch” gathering my shit when the cops show up for a DV against me because her daughter told her how to get even. Thankfully she didn’t show up for court. A Domestic Violence misdemeanor does not warrant No Gunms For Life. This is the law that should be challenged, but no poor mistreated weman, + gunm grab= ur fcked. And let’s get real, a torn shirt and a shove is not domestic violence. Won’t be long before ” He farts in my general direction” is domestic violence. Domestic Violence equals No Gunms For Life is bullsht

    1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

      I don’t understand half of what you said, but I understand enough to know to disregard anything you ever post again in the future.

      Also, pick up a dictionary once in a while.

    2. avatar John in Ohio says:

      ‘ ” He farts in my general direction” is domestic violence.’

      If one had enough time and motivation to search, there is probably a case to be discovered close enough to this scenario out there.

      I agree with you, possum.

      (Many years ago, my poor memory seems to recall a DV charge over a “Dutch Oven”. I don’t remember how that case ended.)

  24. avatar I've got 1 for ya! says:

    If someone was arrested for DUI 13yrs ago and was taken into a psych ward for detox, nonviolent mind you just drunk as shit. Fulfilled all requirements of treatment and legal penalties, and given his discharge papers. Had a waiver signed by a therapist stating he wasn’t a threat to self or others in order to renew his permit to acquire firearms, and was given the states thumbs up approval. Has been purchasing firearms off the shelf and registering all as required by law, and obtaining legal permits to do so ever since. Only to be told 10yrs later that the therapist signature he got wasn’t a licensed psy, phd, md, or aprn so it isn’t valid, there for given 30 days to sign over all firearms out of his possession until he can find someone with the right credentials to sign the waiver again. Which of course no one where he lives offers this service (he’s called every doc in the area believe me) has never had any other run ins with the law, and has given up drinking since then…this would be considered Infringment yes? And he has absolute right to be furious? Maybe even legal grounds for a lawsuit?

    1. avatar " possum says:

      I’m guessing a court appointed lawyer. He should have been given the option of court ordered or court recommend. Court recommend and he’d have been off the hook. Court ordered, ur fckd. I don’t know about your state but after ten years in this State you can( lotsa money) get it expunged I’m not for booze but the system is pretty harsh( make that almost impossible to get your life back) on the repercussions of screwing up drunk.

      1. avatar Widdler says:

        I’m thinking lawyer myself, offence was 13yrs ago in his 20’s dudes 40 now. He’s had the free and clear for a decade, now it pops up again. He’s piss’d and i don’t blame him, state was nice enough to let him sign over his firearms to friends instead of confiscation. (Nice enough) fckin joke, he’s not a felon. Which is why i brought it up on this article, i feel bad for the guy been a work colleague for 8yrs. Been shooting together that long

  25. avatar GS650G says:

    At some point they will expand the list of banned people to include half the country.

    1. avatar Geoff "Guns. Lots of guns." PR says:

      That is *exactly* what they want to do.

      Expand the list of crimes as much as possible. Such as – Get into a heated argument at work in front of witnesses?

      Prohibited person, since someone who blows their cool easily is too dangerous to own a gun. Reckless driving conviction? If you can’t be trusted to operate a motor vehicle safely, no gun for you.

      Use your imagination as to how far they could take that…

  26. avatar Chuck says:

    Inalienable vs. Unalienable. Inalienable comes to us from the latinate tradition with “In” being the negation of the word alienable (meaning “to be taken away”). Adding the In prefix to the adjective becomes the reverse, thus it means Unable to be taken away. The word went from Latin to French and finally English.
    Unalienable has the same adjective definition, the difference is in the substitution of the prefix “Un” (which is also a negation, but a wholly English negation. There is no cognate etymological progression of Un from the Latin to French to English. That borrowing from the root language belongs solely to Inalienable. But for arguments sake, there is no difference in the negated adjectives definition between the two words, simply a difference in the negating prefixes origins. Un became popular for a while during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, but has since lost that popularity and “In” is the preferred modifier in the 20th to 21st centuries.
    I too believe in the concept of original intent, and hold to that theory for Constitutional interpretation. That being said, the denial of rights based upon one’s status as either a felon or non felon wasn’t something the Founders concerned themselves about in the grand scheme. Although not to the degree or level of immigration as a penal punishment being transported to Australia, America was a dumping ground for the undesirables throughout Britain, Scotland and Ireland. Transportation, if they survived the trip, included the dispossessed, indentured and early penal release (we’ll ship your arse o’er the water and you’re out of my wig), as well as the immigrees seeking religious freedom and/or the chance at a new life. So, among the minutemen, militias, committees of safety a d other patriots, it seems obvious that there was an undetermined number of fellows the crown considered felons. It was just an early example of NIMBYism. As long as they were out of England and not stirring the shitepot there, they didn’t give a figgy pudding about them.
    Starting around 1875, in the U.S. vs. Cruikshanks and Presser vs. Illinois (1886), the SCOTUS decisions have held to the belief that the 2nd Amendment only applies to the Federal Government (a very flawed and unsupportable position). This error of the court directly defies the 14th Amendment which enumerates the rights under the Constitution as being sacrosanct, and the State cannot deny those rights. So the Cruikshanks and Presser opinions violates the intent of the 14th Amendment (yes it was ratified to keep the Southern States from refusing the emancipated slaves their Constitutional rights, but the principle applies to all 50 States, not just the 13 that rebelled. We fast forward to 1934, where because of the asinine and ridiculous attempt to enforce sobriety upon a drunken nation that didn’t want to quit drinking, the 18th Amendment helped ensure that organized crime would go out of their way to soothe the parched throats of the nation. The FBI, State and Municipal Law Enforcement were seriously outgunned by the criminals (simply because they had the shekels to buy what they wanted). So, Lo and Behold, the NFA of 1934 gets passed. In spite of the fact that the act itself was a huge violation of the 2nd Amendment. It also took a former felons right to keep and bear arms away. So for 145 years (1789 being when the Constitution was ratified), Former Felons could own guns, but after the NFA they couldn’t. Why a felony conviction was added in, there’s really not a significant amount of literature or evidence supporting why it was needed. The same goes for suppressors, SBR’s and SBS’s (We don’t like them is not a reason). Further legislation dince 1934, has added more and more restrictions against former felons.
    On one hand I can see the reasoning, but it’s human nature (especially with us descendants of the Ungrateful Colonists) to willingly defy a law that denies us the right to protect hearthand home. By denying that right to self protection, the government has just ensured and validated the existance of the Black Market.
    Do it on a case by case basis, but if you’ve done your tie and are working at never crossig the law again then I think they deserve that rigt’srestoration.

    1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

      the latinate tradition with “In” being the negation of the word

      So flammable and inflammable aren’t the same thing? You say they are the opposite?

      1. avatar Chuck says:

        In the case of Inflammable, the prefix In does not negate, as it usually does, because the root Latin VERB is “Inflammare” which means “to cause to catch fire.”
        The use of Flammable was a mistranslation that began in 1813 by a scholar translating “flammare” which means “to catch fire.” Causing the confusion when the two words are placed together ever since because they look like antonyms, but they’re still synonyms.
        The correct opposite of “Inflammable or Flammable is the reletively recent Nonflammable. Inflammable is falling out of favor in recent years in scholarly work.
        There’s a list of words that start with “In” that are the exceptions to the role rule of the prefix In. Like any rules concerning the English language, there will always be exceptions.
        In the case of Inalienable vs. Unalienable the words are considered synonyms and have the same meaning in the dictionary, as “unable to take away or remove.”

  27. avatar Will Drider says:

    Part of the deterent and penalty for felonies include the loss of Voting Rights and the loss of rights to own/posess “modern firearms”, its a package deal. Break the Law, get convicted then do the pennance: some of it is completed in prision and the rest in the Civilian world. The way I see it they got nothing coming. Felons make choices at the expence of others and there’s always victims: doesn’t mean shit they are “non-violent. Break Societies Trust on a felony level they don’t get a redo. That Trust is vacated as reflected in the loss of some RightsThey can use Black Powder antiques or replicas if they desire to. Who was doing all the Family Protection while the felons were in prison?

    1. avatar John in AK says:

      “There’s always victims.”

      Let’s go with that.

      Who is the victim when a guitar manufacturer imports wood from another country into THIS country after obtaining the proper permits from the selling country, only to be charged with felony crimes by THIS country because THIS country arbitrarily decided that the selling country COULDN’T permit the selling of that wood because THIS country determined the tree in question to be endangered?

      Who is the victim when a seller of seafood sells frozen lobster packaged in one safe and wholesome manner (the lobster completely legally caught and processed, of course) is a felon because the manner he packaged his product in is contrary to an arbitrary law demanding that frozen lobster be packaged THIS way and not THAT way, although both protect the quality and wholesomeness of the product equally well?

      Who is the victim when a landowner clears out a debris-clogged non-flowing waterway on his own land, and when the water begins to flow catches it in a stock pond also on his own property, only to become an instant felon because an unelected government bureaucrat deems it so?

      Each of these are instances where citizens of this country have been deemed ‘felons,’ and prosecuted successfully, when there was no ‘victim’ whatsoever, as no one was harmed in any way except the bureaucrat who created the crime for which they were convicted out of his zeal and imagination.

      Surely you don’t actually believe, in this era of politically-motivated prosecutions and ‘environmental crimes,’ that everyone that your benevolent government declares a ‘felon’ really IS a ‘felon.’

      Do you? If you DO, then are you prepared to take the consequences for the Federal felonies you have almost certainly committed by this time in your life, given that most people commit two or three each day?

      When you need to give up your firearms, Felon, at least be nice about it. After all, you made the choice, so you should cooperate gladly. ” It doesn’t mean shit if you were non-violent; Break Society’s Trust, and you get no redo.”

      N’est-ce pas?

      1. avatar Widdler says:

        It’s all fukt up, i know i broke a lot of (probably felonies) laws in my younger years. I’m old now so the ones i’m probably breakin today are misdemeanors, i’m just hoping i live long enough to see said bureaucrats get bit in the ass from what they created or even eat each other maybe, i’ve got my popcorn. Oh, and bullets. Always lots of bullets.

      2. avatar Toni says:

        exactly. I stand on the principle of ‘If there is no victim, there is no crime’. Who gives a damn if you smoke a bit of weed (or even sell it), so long as you are not breaking into other peoples houses to get the money to buy it or mugging someone then i care not. As for health care related expenses to your habit, they are yours to bear. Liberty is easily lost by good intentions when it comes to law. Every time you hear someone say “there should be a law against that!”, think carefully about how it would affect anyone else’s liberty including your own.
        Personally i dont consider drunk and disorderly a crime unless you go shooting up signs or other public or personal property, exposing yourself to people who dont care to see your bits or otherwise harming others. Yep, it may be annoying listening to the drunk down the road singing/screaming at the top of his/her lungs when you are sober and trying to sleep but is it actually causing you harm?

    2. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “Part of the deterent and penalty for felonies include the loss of Voting Rights and the loss of rights to own/posess “modern firearms”, its a package deal.”

      Deterrence is a slippery thing here. All we can ever know is the number of people not deterred. Kinda thinking voting and legal gun purchases are at the bottom of consequences considered (if any).

      “Break Societies Trust on a felony level they don’t get a redo.”
      In a perfect world, perhaps. In this world, the only thing standing between misdemeanor and felony is the integrity of the politicians who make laws.

  28. avatar Kgun says:

    I agree with the position that once released from prison a felon should get all rights back.
    My brother is a felon and I’ve seen how the scarlet letter of “felon” makes someone’s
    a second class citizen for life. Given our enemies fondness for criminalizing everything
    I think the term “felon” and especially “violent felon” has been used as a
    Lever to make the public accept disarmament of classes of people which is easily expanded
    Incrementally. I look at it like this…. I can’t support separate classes of gun rights
    because to do so legitimizes the antis argument.
    I’ll take my chances with a former felon over my government. Especially when anyone in the government is basically immune from
    Prosecution due to the law or the blatant protectionism and cover the courts seem
    To provide anyone who gets a paycheck from taxes. These separate classes of people
    and privileges is how we got to this point. At 50 years old it becomes clearer
    As well how many bureaucrats absolutely “get off” with telling you “what to do
    And when to do it or else” while simultaneously looking the other way when they choose.
    I don’t just mean police either. This attitude is a given in any govt department.
    The more they can penalize you the bigger the attitude.

    If someone is too violent to own a gun they should still be in prison. If I shoot said felon I shouldn’t face A lifetime ban on guns if a political prosecution ensues especially if I shoulder my pistol braced
    Weapon or use a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds. I really don’t want to become a felon
    For having a barrel length issue or getting pulled over in NJ on my way to Virginia.
    The first step in rolling back gun laws is to stop supporting our enemies. Our political enemies all
    treat guns as the most dangerous thing . I don’t agree with that and won’t legitimize their arguments.

    1. avatar John in Ohio says:

      “I look at it like this…. I can’t support separate classes of gun rights
      because to do so legitimizes the antis argument.”

      Spot on.

      They can’t get a pound if you don’t concede a penny.

  29. avatar tdiinva says:

    The problem with the nonviolent felon argument is that a lot of violent felons are serving plea bargained sentences. They committed violent crimes but the DA settled for something less to clear his docket. Most people serving time in prison for drug offenders fall into this category as well as major drug traffickers who never personally committed a violent crime; they just ordered someone else to do it.

    It’s funny how the same people rail against Chicago’s revolving jail door want to hand weapons back to gangbangers just because they went up for a non violent crime instead of the crimes they really committed.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      Pointing out that the whole “felon” issue is an unmitigated mess is useful. Ultimately, “the people” ultimately approve or disapprove of distortions in the law and enforcement of the law. If restoring all individual rights is problematic, processes, procedures, rules, laws can be changed to mitigate the fallacies you describe. Agreeing to the principle does not require a perfect solution be in place first. Decide the strategy, then develop the tactics; not the other way round.

      1. avatar Jericho says:

        Well said.

      2. avatar tdiinva says:

        That is extrodinarily naive. All but the dumbest criminals are not one and done. Someone convicted of felony burglary probably has committed crimes of violence that went either unreported or unsolved so even if we eliminate plea bargains we don’t guarantee that only “non violent” offenders get their rights back.

        But as I note below the Constitution sanctions the loss of certain liberties as long as person has received due process. Prohibiting felons from possessing firearms is permissible.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “All but the dumbest criminals are not one and done. Someone convicted of felony burglary probably has committed crimes of violence that went either unreported or unsolved …”

          Then why not just sentence all convicted felons to life without possibility of parole? That would be due process, as well. Jurisprudence based on “probability” of future events would not violate due process if the criminal laws made provision for it as a mandatory sentence.

          In short, you make the argument that anyone too dangerous to have all rights fully restored is too dangerous to be outside of jail. Which is something most people here would support.

        2. avatar tdiinva says:

          I make no such argument. I simply stated the obvious in both my original and follow up posts. Someone sent to prison for a non violent offense does not mean he is not violent. And since he received due process certain rights can be abridged. You are free to disagree from a matter of policy but the abridgement of his right to bear arms or vote is Constitutional.

        3. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Abridgement of any constitutionally-protected right is permissible provided there is due process of law permitting such abridgement.Thus, no constitutionally-protected right is safe from abridgement under color of law. The constitution can be nullified by properly structured and established law (a concept, BTW, that led to the Second American Revolution). Otherwise, one is claiming that favored abridgement of rights is constitutional when accompanied by “due process”. Then it becomes a matter of whose opinion can be backed by majority vote. One justification is as good as the next.

  30. avatar Daniel Mount says:

    A convicted Felon should never have a Gun or any type of weapon. Only the Law Abiding Citizen should be allowed to have a Weapon. Only common sense will tell you this.

    1. avatar Jericho says:

      Until you are caught jaywalking in a School Zone and given hard time then you may alter your perspective. All felonies are not equal. Unless maybe you think Jeffrey Dahmer is the same as a guy who commits a DUI or stole some bread to feed his family.
      If it’s a matter of respecting those who obey the rules, read more. Not very many people working for the government or running it follow the rules.

    2. avatar John in Ohio says:

      “Only the Law Abiding Citizen should be allowed to have a Weapon.”

      Only proper capitalization abiding typists should be allowed to have keyboards. j/k

      Eventually, there will be so few people considered “law abiding” that there will be no further deterrent to tyrants. The long game favors tyranny. Each time we support violating “shall not be infringed”, tyranny gets a gigantic boost up.

  31. avatar Ralph says:

    Nonviolent felons and misdemeanants should have their 2A rights restored after serving their sentences (including any probation) and making restitution to their victims (if any).

    Without restitution, lawbreakers may have paid their “debt to society,” but they haven’t paid their debt to their victims.

    1. avatar John in Ohio says:

      “Debt to society” is a myth.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        Yes it is. Which is why I placed the phrase in quotation marks.

        1. avatar John in Ohio says:

          Cool. Thanks for clarification.

  32. avatar Jonathan-Houston says:

    Wah wah wah, felons….

    These are not the people to make your pister boys. We stand to gain nothing, only a net loss. How?

    Push for felons’ 2A rights restoration and you’re simultaneously making the case for their voting rights restoration, too. Eat that irony: you dupes make possible their 2A rights, then they vote overwhelmingly Democrat and end up denying you (and themselves) your 2A rights.

    Ahhhh….2A absolutist idiots. Just gotta love ’em, because you just can’t shoot ’em.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “Push for felons’ 2A rights restoration and you’re simultaneously making the case for their voting rights restoration, too. ”

      And why not. Are convicted felons people residing inside the nation? All the rights of individuals exist for all free individuals (and even those in jail). Where under the constitution, or natural order, is there provision for rendering eternally someone a second class human?

      If you want people locked-up forever, make it so there is no legal provision for their release from jail, ever. Then enjoy living with the government that decides what “felony” means. A jurisprudence that permanently disables the natural, human and civilian rights of free persons is not justice, but revenge. (not that I am opposed to vendetta) Is that the sort of society you really want?

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        A key sentence contained in the 5th Amendment reads:

        “… nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;…”

        It would seem that a person who has been convicted of a crime has received “due process of law” and be deprived of his liberty. The concept of liberty goes beyond incarceration. You do the crime than you are liable to lose certain rights.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “… nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;…”

          Does not “due process” include punishment with a location, a start and a finish? Where does due process strip a person of natural rights beyond the judicial sentencing? What would be the justification? Because a person committed a crime, society is prescient enough to determine that person just might not be properly chastised, requiring reduction in citizen rights as a constant reminder they failed at one time? Can we not expand that line to include the reasoning that one failure ensures a subsequent, maybe multiple, future failure, and such persons should be contained/constrained as pre-punishment for what they might do?

          Once a criminal, always a criminal, sentenced forever regardless of circumstance prior, during and after conviction? How ’bout we just adopt the jurisprudence of many other nations – prison is not a tool of rehabilitation, but simply and abjectly retribution for crimes?

        2. avatar tdiinva says:

          The sentence is not due process. Due Process is your encounter with the justice system prior to punishment.

          You would think that a fair minded advocate of restoring one’s voting and gun rights would be contingent on a certain period of good behavior after all forms of supervision have ended. I have a suspicion that deep down the reason you and other advocates want to give them back their gun rights is so you have a better chance of exercising your right of self defense.

          In any case the next time you get the urge to criticize Chicago’s tendency to let gangbangers walk you resist the impulse to comment.

        3. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “You would think that a fair minded advocate of restoring one’s voting and gun rights would be contingent on a certain period of good behavior after all forms of supervision have ended. I have a suspicion that deep down the reason you and other advocates want to give them back their gun rights is so you have a better chance of exercising your right of self defense.”

          Permanent exclusion of constitutionally protected rights is a matter of universal principle. The fact that particular rights receive benefit is secondary. Ultimately, all the arguments for permanent removal of rights is based on the flawed laws regarding release from imprisonment. The first issue is whether or not permanent removal of rights is justified under the concept of natural law. As noted in another string, first determine the strategy, then the tactics. Flawed tactics (laws and law enforcement) should not be the driving factor. Establish the principle, then establish the laws to make it work.

    2. avatar John in Ohio says:

      It’s most unfortunate that you support gun control, Jonathan-Houston. Your rifle is aimed in the wrong direction. The tyrants aren’t over here.

      Here’s your goat.

    3. avatar John in Ohio says:

      “Ahhhh….2A absolutist idiots. Just gotta love ’em, because you just can’t shoot ’em.”

      Jeebus, this line REALLY sounds like an anti-gun leftist!

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        I don’t believe he’s anti-gun. I do believe he’s anti-felon.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Read enough of his past comments. If he’s not anti gun he’s confused. j-h has made a whole lot of comments that could have started ‘I’m a 2a guy, but…..’

  33. avatar Chuck says:

    What do we consider “cruel and unusual punishment?” The lengthy incarcrration is one thing, but after the time that society demands a felon serve as punishment for the crime committed, the continued denial of Inalienable rights as further punishment for the remainder of your life is a harsh condition, that in reality contributes to further criminal activities.
    If we’re aiming for the stars, let’s do it right instead of the hodgpodge and growing pile of legal code we’re currently burdened with. Start with a division of violent from non violent crimes. Then a breakdown of violent crime with a gun vs. violent crime that had no weapon.
    If a gun was used in the commission of a crime, then boom a mandatory 40 year sentence. If a victim was injured during the crime, then “Boom,” a mandatory life sentence. If a victim was killed during or later as a result of the crime, then “Bada Bing,” your life is forfeit. Get rid of the plea bargaining and the other measures that were intended to reduce the judicial load, but in reality, all they’ve done is muck up the process even more. As far as the mandatory death penalty goes, any officer of the court that’s uncomfortable with it can retire or vacate the bench.
    Non violent or victimless crimes will undergo a gradual restoration of their rights over a determined probationary period. Toe the line and follow the law and within a given period of time, your rights will be restored. It’s a carrot to encourage compliance with societies laws and mores, instead of a continual “you f***ed up, therefore you may live in the society, but can never be a true member of society
    Just some ideas to toss out. If the Republicans were smart, they’d beat the Liberals to the punch on reformation and have them “felons voting Republican for the next 200 years” ( quoting a famous racist Liberal s quote😂).

    1. avatar User1 says:

      Mandatory sentences are dumb. They destroy the legal system and doesn’t allow for different circumstances to factor into sentencing.

      If you were caught with a bump stock or illegally carrying a weapon you get 40 years to go along with the other mandatory sentences that lawyers will pile on. You will essentially get life in prison from one event. That’s cruel and unusual punishment.

      People fighting off Antifa will be put in prison for life if they were carrying a weapon. They charged a few men in New York with felonies for getting in a fight with Antifa after Antifa threw a bottle at them. They would go to prison for a long time for attacking commies in a communist state.

      With mandatory sentences I would find a lot more people “not guilty” because I wouldn’t want them to go to prison for decades for a crime that doesn’t warrant such a punishment. A lot of people will also refuse to press charges if they know people are going to get life in prison.

      Criminals will also become more violent knowing that they will end up in prison for the rest of their life. They will rather fight to the death instead of go to prison. Similar to what happens with the 3 strikes rule. This puts cops in more danger and could make criminals more ruthless to their victims.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “differing circumstances: Felony, Misdemeanor

        Felony – mandatory 40yrs in jail, lifetime parole
        Misdemeanor – mandatory 20yrs in jail, lifetime parole

        BTW, prosecutors today can generally pile on criminal counts that exceed a lifetime, if they want, so mandatory sentences are not the problem.

        Oh yeah, while people are in jail, they are put on a nation-wide registry for body part and organ transplant.

        1. avatar User1 says:

          This guy got charged (and I think he was convicted) for pulling a gun on a crowd of Antifa and Black Lives Matter when they started to surround him and threaten him. We seen what they did to a little Asian guy who didn’t have a gun. This guy would have gotten decades in prison for his conviction if we went by some nationalist socialist justice system.

  34. When they do the crime, they do the time. No guns and no vote.

  35. avatar Aaron says:

    first of all, there are too many felonies. no victimless crime should ever be a felony; prostitution, for example, can be charged as a felony in sime locals.

    however, when there is a victim, even if it’s non-violent, the criminal almost NEVER “repays their debt to society.” for example, if someone steals a homeowner’s title and the homeowner has to spend tens of thousands of dollars to get the title back, the fact that the perp spends time in jail does NOT mean he has repaid his debt to the victim.

    So as far as i’m concerned, non-violent felons who created victims can FOADIAF and should never get their 2A rights restored, unless they 100% restore what they took.

  36. avatar Aaron says:

    first of all, there are too many felonies. no victimless crime should ever be a felony; prostitution, for example, can be charged as a felony in sime locals.

    however, when there is a victim, even if it’s non-violent, the criminal NEVER “repays their debt to society.” that’s total bull. if someone steals a homeowner’s title and the homeowner has to spend tens of thousands of dollars to get the title back, the fact that the perp spends time in jail does NOT mean he has repaid his debt to the victim.

    So as far as i’m concerned, non-violent felons who created victims can “expire in a horrible conflagration” and should never get their 2A rights restored, unless they 100% restore what they took.

    1. avatar User1 says:

      In other societies they require the criminal to make the victim whole again. They have to come to terms with what that will entail. Sometimes prison time isn’t part of the process. Things are settled through arbitration.

      In U.S. culture, society considers prison time making the victim whole, that is what they call justice. The notion is the criminal must “pay their debt to society” and the victim has to win a civil lawsuit separately. It’s as if the individual/victim is considered property of the state and those who damage that property must be punished to make society/government “whole” again. It’s the State versus the criminal.

      1. avatar Toni says:

        so for theft the criminal becomes the indentured slave of the victim until he has paid off the debt to the victim. Murder…. life for life….. Rape?

        1. avatar User1 says:

          America still allows a form of slavery in the 13th Amendment for people that go to prison:

          Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

          In a justice system of arbitration the victim or their family can make a deal with the criminal.

          For instance, if a criminal robbed someone they can return what they stole and settle on a fine the victim feels is enough to move on. If the criminal doesn’t have money and his/her family doesn’t want to take responsibility/pay, the victim will have to find another method to agree upon with the criminal. When a deal can’t be made, the criminal will be sent to a criminal court to go through the typical legal process of imprisonment.

          The bad side of arbitration systems is if it’s solely for restitution through monetary means. Some places don’t want to use imprisonment at all and require payments for justice. Some crimes can’t be settled with money. I think Haiti allows gangsters who rape to pay a fine to stay out of prison, even when the family doesn’t want the money they want him in a cage because gangsters have a lot of money and he could rape again.

        2. avatar Toni says:

          yes in the constitution the key word is “Involuntary” however IHMO that should not apply to felons who have committed an ACTUAL crime which means there must be a victim. Part of their sentence should be forced labor as part of their payment of their debt…. they dont like it… tough we can find other ways such as permanent removal from the gene pool via rope, lead injection etc. As for crimes such as rape i like what one old granny did after the cops sat on their hands and did nothing to find the rapists of her granddaughter. she tracked them down, made sure she had the right ones got her deceased hubbies pistol from the bottom of the closet, knocked on the door of the hotel room they were staying in and shot off their bits, then turned herself into the cops. This was after she had presented all the facts to the cops including where they were staying and they still had done nothing.
          Rape is a crime of violence not just about getting their rocks off. It is about power and control. get rid of them out of society. However by the same token i also dont believe that every guy who some woman says raped her should automatically be charged. i have seen a few too many guys accused of rape when at the time and place the woman was supposed to have been raped they were quite aways from that locale

        3. avatar John in Ohio says:

          The first court case in the American colonies that supported slavery for life was a decision intended to repay the victim.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Punch_(slave)

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