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“A convicted felon [not shown] who went hunting with a shotgun received a three-year suspended sentence, a $1,500 fine and two years on supervised probation in Northampton County Circuit Court,” reports. “Jeffery Baker, 46, of Newport News, was convicted of construction fraud in 2002 and has had no further criminal record since, said defense attorney Robert Saunders. ‘He likes to hunt,’ said Saunders, adding, ‘There is no excuse for what he did. Now he will be a felon forever.'”

Mr. Baker will no longer have the right to keep and bear arms. A right that was stripped from the erstwhile builder when he was convicted of Failure to Provide Construction Work and Grand Larceny by Worthless Check. The only right not restored to Mr. Baker in 2014 by Virginia Governor Terence R. McAuliffe.

That was an exemption Mr. Baker missed or ignored in pursuit of game. “If you read your paperwork, it said your gun rights were not restored,” Judge W. Revell Lewis III pronounced at sentencing.

All of which raises some important questions: why should non-violent felons lose their gun rights in the first place? And if the government “suspends” a non-violent felon’s natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, shouldn’t that prohibition come with an expiration date?

While Mr. Baker’s family probably doesn’t depend on his hunting for their survival, there are Americans in that position. “Even” when you’re talking about hunting, gun rights can be a matter or life or death.

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  1. “non violent” can encompass a lot of things. Like burglary. I don’t know if I totally agree with the thought.

    Felons should get their rights back at some point, say 5 years after their release. I think this should really go for voting rights too. The political machine in Chicago actually panders to bangers at some level so eliminating a lot of them from the voting pool could do good things considering there’s something like 100,000 of them in Chicago alone.

    • For restitution of rights, it can be real easy, depending on the crime, there can be a term of “unsupervised parole” as well a the traditional parole. Rights will be restored automatically at the end of the parole. Same with suspended sentences and bail.

    • Once your time is done, ALL rights needs to be restored and your record should be SEALED OFF from anyone outside of police with a real reason to know and a court. Otherwise these people will have no chance at all at a straight life. I get it, employers should know who they are hiring, but there also needs to be a damn limit on the amount of intrusion they can make on your life. If you keep your history to yourself, they should have zero grounds to ask about it.

      Just low hanging fruit for the government to control and get precedents on.

      Of course, I’m against cages to begin with outside of flight risks awaiting trial. Beatings, fines, whatever, but people do not belong in cages. If you can’t be trusted to rejoin society then off to the chopping block or exile.

  2. Wait a minute…. they get to pick and choose which rights get restored and which don’t? We’re going to let you out of jail and you can have your right to vote back but we’re going to keep your right to bear arms on the shelf until about never-oclock.

    So what is stopping them from arresting everyone and then no one has the right to keep and bear arms?

    • Absolutely nothing.

      Especially for those charges that only require you to be arrested, not convicted, like domestic violence/battery.

      If the politicians wished it, they could target every gun owner. This is the reason why lots of people refuse to get a ccw license, and we all fight gun registries.

  3. “A convicted felon” (not shown YET). FIFY. Yeah I don’t think non-violent felons should lose their 2A rights. Unless you get Bury Soetoro to forgive your sins you’re screwed. Construction fraud? It’s not like he got 4 killed in Benghazi…

  4. When a felon’s parole or probation is up he is once again a free man and should have all the rights any other free man enjoys.

  5. Nothing to see here. Just the usual selective law/regulation enforcement and arbitrary rights suspensions. Move along.

  6. As I understand it, black powder muzzleloaders are not “firearms” and felons can legally acquire, possess, and use (for lawful purposes) black powder muzzleloaders. Someone needs to make a nice black powder muzzleloader shotgun* for hunting. And a double barrel version with two triggers would actually be quite useful.

    This would be a somewhat decent alternative for non-violent felons until our legislatures can repeal current laws that abridge a non-violent felon’s right to keep and bear arms for life.

    * Must be modern break-action, in-line design and use shotgun primers. Oh, and it should cost less than $300.

    • Disclaimer: I am not an attorney and my opinion above is not legal advice. If you have a criminal record, consult an attorney before acquiring a black powder muzzleloader.

    • There are black powder shotties, including double triggered double barrels. One is used by the dude on Life Below Zero, a reality TV show set in Alaska, since he has lost his rights due to a legal beef.

    • Federal Law may not recognize black powder guns as “firearms” but many states laws encompass language that would include black powder as “firearms”.

      Additionally, the local constabulary may not know the difference, like the recent arrest and overturn on appeal of a felon hunting with a black powder rifle.

      • “… many states laws encompass language that would include black powder as ‘firearms’.”

        Hence my disclaimer telling people with criminal records to consult an attorney before setting out to acquire a black-powder muzzleloader.

    • California most definitely prohibits felons from possessing black powder firearms, notwithstanding that they may be purchased without ID or a background check. The question is asked a lot by convicts who want to go hunting, and the answer is NO. Stick to fishing.

  7. Off topic: Atlantic Magazine accidentally reveals the Importance of the Second Amendment

    “Toro: …when the logic of violence takes over the protests, the government is going to win because they have more guys with more guns, who are better-organized and better-trained.

    Mahanta: One thing I’m curious about is, how does Maduro retain enough support going forward to hang on to power? Where is his genuine source of support at this point?
    Toro: People with guns. That includes the military of course…So, men with guns. The military, but not just the military.

    It’s the paramilitarization of the ruling party. So [the] PSUV, or Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela, has what are called colectivos. [These are] sort of grassroots supporter civilians who are armed and organized. What they are is paramilitaries. They are armed civilian groups that support the government.”

    Remember, the Venezuelan government outlawed the private ownership of guns in 2012.

  8. The question we should be asking is not when or if to restore rights. The real question is do we trust this person with a firearm? If the answer is no, then keep them locked up; they have no place in our society. If the answer is yes, then let them reintegrate back into society. No law will stop a prohibited person from obtaining a firearm if they want one.

  9. “if the government “suspends” a non-violent felon’s natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, shouldn’t that prohibition come with an expiration date?”

    And what about the victims? It seems that they have been forgotten, or maybe the AI just don’t give a damn about them as long as felons get their guns back.

    I agree that the prohibition that binds nonviolent felons should come with an expiration date. The statute of limitations should begin to run not after the felon’s sentence and probation has been served, but when he has made full and complete restitution to his victims.

    Sometimes the POTG leave me dumbfounded. We carry to protect ourselves from crime, yet when a crime is committed we give the finger to the victims. Shame on all of you.

    • I’m seeing a little apples-and-oranges here, Ralph.

      What does the victim have to do with whether the perpetrator gets their rights back? Especially in the case of a nonviolent crime, where there is little likelihood the criminal would come looking for them afterwards. (A convicted stalker, for instance, is another matter.)

      And wouldn’t the victims’ concerns, more generally, be associated with the penalty/punishment than afterwards?

      • So for a felony the victim should be allowed to shoot the felon between the eyes? OK.

        SOCIETY punishes the criminal, then if he is allow out he must make restitution to his victim. Why should the criminal get ANY societal benefits before that happens.

        • Just to clarify … Were you replying to me or to Ralph?

          FWIW, I agree that there should be restitution from the perpetrator to the victim whenever possible. For financial crimes like fraud, that’s straightforward. For burglary it’s harder, because how do you replace the victim’s sense of security? For assault, rape and murder it gets harder and there I lean more towards what one might call a Heinleinian approach.

        • Whoa, settle down, fellas. I thought I was clear that NONVIOLENT criminals should have their rights restored at some time after they make restitution to their victims.

          Some nonviolent crimes have no victims to be compensated for their losses.

          OTOH, VIOLENT felons should have their rights restored at some time after the reign of Queen D!ck.

        • -and for a different perspective from the criminal’s point of view:

          A-RAB (imitating female social worker):
          Officer Krupke, you’ve done it again
          This boy don’t need a job, he needs a year in the pen.
          It ain’t just a question of misunderstood
          Deep down inside him, he’s no good!

          I’m no good!

          We’re no good, we’re no good
          We’re no earthly good
          Like the best of us is no damn good!

          The trouble is he’s lazy!

          The trouble is he drinks!

          BABY JOHN:
          The trouble is he’s crazy!

          The trouble is he stinks!

          BIG DEAL:
          The trouble is he’s growing

          The trouble is he’s grown!

          Krupke, we got troubles of our own!
          Officer Krupke
          We’re down on our knees

          ‘Cause no one wants a fella with a social disease!

          Gee, Officer Krupke
          What are we to do?
          Gee, Officer Krupke
          Krup you!

  10. Non violent felons should be able to have all rights including 2A rights upon completing their sentence. So long as the crime did not involve violence or was the result of mental illness I say give them back their rights.

  11. No one loses their Freedom of Speech if they get convicted of perjury, or wire fraud, or mail fraud, etc. in which writing and speech are involved. Just like Justice Thomas stated, the 2nd Amendment is treated like a second class right UNLIKE all of the others. Thanks to the Democrats and most Republicrats, federal Rights Restoration has been de-funded since 1992 and the NRA is NOT interested any more with this. So since the precedent has been set, we now can lose our rights over misdemeanors, sentences of over one year, dishonorable discharge, etc.. IF THE GOVERNMENT CAN TAKE A RIGHT AWAY THEN ITS NOT RECOGNIZED AS A RIGHT. If you have “done your time” how can you do more?… as if you have no rights you are STILL doing time, just not in jail. If you have paid your “debt to society” then why are you still paying?.. because if you have no rights, then you are STILL being punished.

    For God’s sake, even in Canada, when you have completed a prison sentence for a non violent felony, you can get your license to own non-restricted firearms when you get out of jail which includes all hunting long arms AND those include; Tavors, AR-180Bs, vz-58 type rifles, XCRs, Cx4s, etc.. (and the 5.56 rifles those can have up to a 14rd magazine through a loophole). Although justified self-defense with a firearm is restricted, hardly anyone gets convicted for it in Canada – even felons.

    • That all sounds great in theory, but it can’t (and doesn’t) work that way, unless you make some absolute changes in our justice system. And you have to keep in mind the victims, as Ralph pointed out above.

      The recidivism rate (as of 2014) for violent offenders is over 70%.

      So a guy gets nailed for armed robbery… serves what, 5 years? 10 on a “good justice” day? Should that guy get his gun rights back when he walks out of prison? Or a guy serves 20 for 2nd degree murder (drug deal gone wrong, drive by, etc). Should he get his gun rights back?

      What if you’re the guy that was robbed with a gun in your face? Or what if it was your close family member that was killed? Would that change your opinion?

      • For one, the author and I are talking about non-violent felonies firearms rights restoration. However, since you are now talking about violent felonies as well, your comment: “That all sounds great in theory, but it can’t (and doesn’t) work that way…” Well, actually it does. Prior to 1992, Relief from Disability, aka Firearms Rights Restoration, was performed by the BATF and by their own statistics, felons who committed another felony after getting their rights restored was VERY VERY low and this program ALSO included violent felons. From 1985 – 1992, there were over 22,000 applications for firearms rights restoration and out of that figure, over 7,300 were approved. From 1985 – 1992, only 69 individuals who obtained relief from disability during that time committed felonies again – that’s LESS THAN 1%. Now of course, there are probably some who committed felonies from 1992 – present (no study) but statistically it would not be a high number looking at the data available. Also, many, if not most of the newly committed felonies, were non-violent and victimless the second time around. The anti-gunners love to only give examples of the very few rights restored felons who committed rape and murder as their example of why the program should never be funded again. Violent drug dealing felons are not going to file for rights restoration and if they did, only a very small percentage would be approved (as indicated above) BUT we are talking about non-violent rights restoration at the moment anyway.

        If you don’t feel firearms rights restoration is important to you as a gun owner; chew on this for a bit: You can get a felony for: picking a flower in a national park and then taking it home, kill certain species of snail or rats, possessing a bald eagle feather, drive 25 MPH over the speed limit in Virginia (then get a federal felony for possessing a gun RIGHT after you get your ticket), drag racing was a felony in Pennsylvania in the 1960s and old timers have been charged with a federal felony by ATF for possessing a rifle illegally for a charge they forgot about 50+ years ago (they didn’t serve time in jail just paid a fine and forgot about it), lie on an insurance form and then e-mail it in (wire fraud), put a folding stock on an SKS imported after November 9th, 1990, etc., etc., etc.. Read the book “Three Felonies a Day” and your a$$ will pucker.

        If Oliver North and Alan Gottlieb had the chance to get their rights back, shouldn’t all of us have that option if God forbid we need it? Oliver North could not be on the NRA board or in any NRA ad if it weren’t for the Relief from Disability program – does the NRA believe that his life and right to protect his family is more important than any other NRA member since they have dropped the ball on this issue? North lied to Congress on a national security issue – I think that is way more dangerous than any tax evader, farmer that runs over an endangered kangaroo rat with his tractor, or feather collector – don’t you?

      • What if you’re the guy that was robbed with a gun in your face?
        I’ve had a gun in my face, more than once, but other than a purely emotional appeal, your position lacks merit.
        If I’m robbed at gunpoint and the person is then convicted and sentenced to 10 years. After serving the sentence, if the person is intent on committing crime with a firearm, that person will obtain a firearm, whether or not it is legal.
        So, once again, the only people who would be restricted by a prohibition on owning firearms are those who would be willing to follow the law. It’s the people who are UNWILLING to follow the law that are the issue.
        All gun control does is control the purchase of guns by people who are willing to obey the law, they very group that doesn’t need to be controlled.

    • lou, you are not entirely correct. there are those non-violent felons who commit serious financial crime (and other crimes), ruining peoples lives, who as part of their release are not allowed to practice in such a profession ever again, including many professional licenses. Gun rights restored are not entirely being singled out on this matter.

      • I am aware of lawyers, stock brokers, contractors, etc. Losing their licenses permanently at sentencing and when did I say that only gun rights are singled out??? I mentioned the example of free speech rights NOT being affected after time served because this is almost always the case. There may be minor restrictions on freedom of speech after time served but I know of no case whereby an individual COMPLETELY lost their freedom of speech to the point where they could no longer; write a letter to the editor, voice their opinion, hold a protest sign, etc.. As far as what you brought up regarding someone financially destroying another person, well I am for the guilty party “doing their time” for the crime committed and being forced to make restitution BUT if you inhibit this person’s ability to earn a living by a lifetime ban on the guilty party from ever obtaining a license for the skill he has, how the hell is he ever going to repay and make restitution to the person or persons he damaged when he is done “doing his time?” Get a job at McDonald’s? Work in a government run soup kitchen?

  12. He should appeal on the basis of the Coolio case. He might get the court to grant him the ability to have a gun after his probation.

    I do feel that once time is served, all rights should be reinstated.

  13. Bans on felons owning guns is a recent innovation which everyone nods approvingly . Originally intended for obviously violent offenders it’s now applied to anyone who spends a year or more in jail and thanks to Chuck Schumer misdemeanor domestic charges as well.
    Next up will be various lists and categories of deplorables that We can’t trust. Just remember fascists always start with categorizing people we are supposed to ostracize and work from there.
    Just watch who makes the lists and points their finger.

  14. Let’s back up a bit. When did a felony conviction or pleas become a disqualification to own or possess a firearm? Thomas Jefferson said “no free man shall ever be barred the use of arms” Once you are discharged from prison, parole or probation are you not a free man?

  15. I find it hard to wrap my head around the thought that, gun control does not work but, released felons shouldn’t have guns.

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