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We’ve long been of the opinion that non-violent offenders — whether the crime was a misdemeanor or felony — should have their civil rights (all of them) restored once they’ve done their time. The potential need to defend yourself and your family against threat of death or grievous bodily harm doesn’t disappear when you get out of the big house.

Now, applying the precedent of an earlier ruling the Supreme Court let stand, freebeacon.com’s Stephen Gutowski reports that a federal judge agrees.

Chief Judge Christopher Conner of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania ruled that Raymond Holloway’s second misdemeanor DUI conviction in 2005 was not a serious enough crime to result in a lifetime abridgment of one of his constitutional rights. Connor applied the standard set in the landmark case Binderup v. the U.S. Attorney General where the Third Circuit Court of Appeals found those convicted of certain nonviolent offenses can’t be barred from owning firearms for the rest of their lives. He said the government had failed to show that Holloway’s misdemeanor DUI convictions meant he should be disarmed for life.

“Defendants’ evidence fails to account for key characteristics of Holloway and similarly situated persons. They have presented no evidence indicating that individuals like Holloway—after over a decade of virtuous, noncriminal behavior—’remain [so] potentially irresponsible’ that they should be prohibited from owning a firearm,” Conner wrote in his ruling. “The government has not demonstrated a substantial fit between Holloway’s continued disarmament and the important government interest of preventing armed mayhem.”

Holloway was prohibited because his second DUI conviction had a possible sentence of up to five years in jail. And it’s been a decade since the conviction.

The case does not have an immediate effect on anybody other than Holloway—who will see his gun rights restored. It is, however, an indication of how lower courts will handle the precedent set in Binderup. The precedent is only currently only reserved for the Third Circuit, which encompasses Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and the Virgin Islands.

Read the rest of Gutowski’s article here. 

 

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33 COMMENTS

  1. Which is why we need Trump to load the scotus and all the lower courts during his 8 years in office.

    Wonder if we can undo the restrictions on the number of terms a president can serve? 🙂

      • Lifetime appointment is the only thing that truly gives SCOTUS teeth. Can you imagine the circus that would ensue with changing justices every presidential election cycle? On the other hand, the Congress and Senate are in very serious need of term limits. Those power grubbing, self-satisfied, career enemies of America need a boot in the ass.

        • We need to change lifetime to career length appointments.
          There’s no reason for fossils like Ruth Ginsberg and Jack Weinstein to be deciding the fate of productive citizens.

          Maybe all judges over the age of 70 should be required to pass the Bar Exam every 2-3 years as evidence that their brains still function? I’m pretty sure Ginsberg passed her expiration date 5-10 years ago, and yet she’s officially one of the 9 greatest legal minds in the country.

    • “Which is why we need Trump to load the scotus and all the lower courts during his 8 years in office.”

      Even if we get Kavanaugh, and get SCOTUS to rule semi-auto firearms with detachable magazines and unlimited magazine capacities are *explicitly* constitutional, the next time the court balance tips progressive, expect those to be overturned.

      They will overturn them with glee and righteous-ness, and use the Dred Scott model for justification.

      (I do not in *any* way disagree with the Dred Scott decision being reversed. It was the right thing to do. But the Leftists will use that type of moral high ground when destroying the 2A. Their logic will be along the lines of “Because of the unique danger semi-autos inherently have to public safety… etc.)

      Also, expect the propaganda against guns to drastically increase, as a way to rile their base to win elections.

      “Wonder if we can undo the restrictions on the number of terms a president can serve? 🙂 ”

      Good God, you *really* don’t want to go anywhere near that one!

      Case in point, FDR, ‘Progressive’ hero. The same Progressive hero that put American citizens in *concentration camps*, for Christ’s sake! Because they ‘might’ be a danger to America.

      FDR is *why* presidential term limits exist today! Do you want a personally popular charismatic character like Obama as president 20+ years? With Progressive ‘advisors’ whispering in his ear about how to think?

      Imagine 20+ years of SCOTUS court-packing.

      That will be the path towards what China is doing today in western China. Putting citizens in ‘re-education camps’ because of their religion (Islam). Imagine US concentration camps filled with ‘dissidents’ because of their ‘dangerous beliefs’ about self-defense and thinking armed revolution is a citizen’s ‘right’…

      • Take a deep breath. Let it out. Slowly. In. Out. Imagine the sound of a tinkling waterfall with birds singing in the background.

        I was kinda hoping my ‘happy face’ icon would have clued folks in that I was just musing. Not serious.

      • If we ever get MGs back in the hands of citizens, expect people to load the fuck up on them. I would probably get several when the price got within reach, just to hoard and store up for posterity.

        People know better now, once the lamp is rubbed, The Jeanie is out, and he isn’t going back in regardless of what opinions get thrown around.

  2. Good for him. I’ve always been of the opinion that separating a person from their civil rights should never be automatic upon conviction, but should require a separate judgment.

    Slightly off topic, does anybody know for sure how a person should answer the “have you ever been convicted of a felony” question on the 4473 if their rights were restored like this?

    • Not sure on that. Although, if your rights were restored and the record expunged, it would be as if the felony never occurred, sort of like a marital annulment. In that case, I would imagine that you’d claim “No” on the form – but IANAL and actual legal advice would need to be sought.

    • Eric,

      If a purchaser was convicted of a felony and had his/her rights restored via court order, he/she should answer “yes” on the Form 4473 and probably have a copy (in-hand) of the court order restoring his/her rights for the benefit of the firearm dealer.

      In the event that NICS issues a “deny”, the purchaser may have to sue the federal government to remove that “deny” status.

      Disclaimer: I am not an attorney — the above is my opinion and NOT legal advice.

      • Don’t answer “yes” to the question because the FFL will not process the form because you have admitted to being a prohibited possessor. Instead, refer to the instructions in the form. Per instructions on the 4473,
        “Items 11b, EXCEPTION: A person who has been convicted of a felony, or any other crime, for which the judge could have imprisoned the person for more than one year, or who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, is not prohibited from purchasing, receiving, or possessing a firearm if: (1) under the law of the jurisdiction where the conviction occurred, the person has been pardoned, the conviction has been expunged or set aside, or the person has had their civil rights (the right to vote, sit on a jury. and hold public office) taken away and later restored, AND (2) the person is not prohibited by the law of the jurisdiction where the conviction occurred from receiving or possessing firearms. Persons subject to this exception, or who receive relief from disabilities under 18 U.S.C. 925(c) should answer “no” to the applicable question.”
        The FFL can’t do anything with your court paperwork. They have no authority. If you are denied, comply with the USDOJ instructions on appealing the denial. If it were me, I would send along a certified copy of the rights restoration along with a set of rolled fingerprints. No need to sue. Request a UPIN to avoid this problem in the future. The system is known to be exceedingly slow in documenting rights restoration.

        I’m also not a lawyer but I do have eight years experience slinging guns across the glass.

        • Thanks very much Gunny B, I guess I should have just read past the first page of the 4473 🙂

      • Actually, because I am in this exact situation, here is what happens. Once you are denied, you can appeal the denial with evidence and, if you get a successful appeal you then can get your gun. This took over 2 years. At that point you can opt to have them keep your data on file and you would then get a UPIN, that took about another year, that you give to your FFL when they call in the data they give the UPIN and you are then approved swiftly. It doesn’t happen very often, the 2 FFL’s that I have used had never seen a successful appeal or a UPIN.

      • Gunny B and DesertDave,

        Thanks for the correction and excellent information.

        Everyone: listen to what those two guys said!

  3. Entirely too many good citizens have their rights stripped for life due to how loosely felony convictions are handed out.
    The court system uses felonies as a way to lock someone in to the system and bleed them dry.

    I don’t believe enough thought is put into what it means to have life sentences or restrictions.
    A lifetime ban isn’t just a long punishment, this means that something you did in your youth when you didn’t know better can screw you over as a mature adult.
    Perhaps felonies should have expiration dates. carry for 5 years, 10 years, 20 years… then once served, be rendered null and void.

    • I don’t believe enough thought is put into what it means to drive drunk, which often leads to tragic fatalities of innocent people.

      Dude had already been convicted of DUI. Then he got behind the wheel drunk, again. He really should have put more thought into the possibility that he might lose his gun rights for life.

      • I am in COMPLETE agreement Curtis…and this miscreant likely drove imbibed many times. In some countries you get life in a hellhole prison or a FIRING SQUAD.

    • “Entirely too many good citizens have their rights stripped for life due to how loosely felony convictions are handed out.”

      While there are always such cases, the reality is quite the opposite. Most felonies result in absurd plea bargains, or even non-prosecution. Which is why gangsters have a rap sheet as long as your arm with no or little time served.

      94% of Federal felony charges are plea bargained.

  4. And yet a MISDEMEANOR domestic violence can result in that lifetime ban…even if a gun was NOT used during the incident…hmmmm…go figure

  5. As far as I know in this state anyway, once off probation or parole for any misdemeanor you get your guns back. It’s been that way for years, I have no idea what this articles about, more BS I’d say? As far as felony after ten years expunged by$$$ and judges dissension. 3 DUI’s=Felony. What gets me is DUI never goes off your record

  6. Wasn’t the ban on felons owning guns originally limited to certain crimes or did they go all the way from the get go?
    Any lawyers here know for sure?

  7. Nonviolent misdemeanants should have their rights restored after they have served their time (if any) and their probation (if any) and paid restitution to injured parties (if any).

    Convicted nonviolent felons should be treated the same, except that the probationary period should be longer. Much longer. Despite what some people think, most felonies are plea-bargained down to less serious crimes or even misdemeanors.

    Convicted violent felons should go fvck themselves.

  8. “The precedent is only currently only reserved for the Third Circuit, which encompasses Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and the Virgin Islands.”

    ♫ one of these things is not like the others… ♫

  9. NO Misdemeanor should deprive you of a right. A friend was charged 15 yeasrs ago with a spurious misdemeanor violence charge during a divorce, and paid his fine. No record before or since, but he CANNOT regain his rights, as in VA there is NO WAY to expunge a misdemeanor ! He’d be better off if he had been charged as a felon, because then he could maybe get a pardon !

    Far as I’m concerned, even felons should regain rights after time served(including probationary time).
    Would like to know when these laws were first implemented – back in the day, the rustler got out of prison, got a horse and gun, and went straight or ended up hung !

  10. A most interesting ruling, in fact, one with which I would agree. Of course, lin the event of another repeat, the case is concluded, the man having blown it beyond redemption.

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