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Felons and guns

So, we’ve gone a round or two here on that issue. My basic position is that if you can’t be trusted with a gun, you also can’t be trusted with pointy things and cars; and should likely still be in prison. That said, a felon in NY is addressing that issue:

With the U.S. Supreme Court set to decide whether the Second Amendment gives law-abiding citizens the right to keep a handgun at home, a convicted felon in New York decided to test his luck.

The inmate, Damon Lucky, isn’t law-abiding. Nor did the gun he was convicted of possessing stay in his home. Still, Lucky decided to “see how far we can ride this pony,” his lawyer, Harry Batchelder Jr., said, referring to the federal judiciary’s apparent willingness to examine gun control laws critically.

Codrea says:

Those who avoided a Second Amendment challenge all these years because they were waiting for the “just right” Goldilocks case, or wanted to avoid it altogether because of the risk of losing, practically ensured that the wrong case, with a repulsive central character, would come to the fore.

Maybe I’m misreading that but I know David has heard of Heller.

Jeff disagrees with me: My own feelings are that if you are convicted of a violent crime, you should lose the right to own a firearm.

The issue with that is that felony convictions no longer represent truly heinous crimes. It’s a felony, for instance, to import lobsters in plastic bags instead of cardboard boxes. But turning small crimes into felonies is what politicos do to appear tough on crime.

Sebastian notes: we’re going to see a lot of cases of criminals challenging their conviction on gun charges by asserting their second amendment rights, and Jeff is absolutely correct to point out the Brady’s will be happy to point to all of this as an example of what will happen if second amendment rights are taken seriously.

11 Responses to “Felons and guns”

  1. rightwingprof Says:

    I’d be willing to go along with giving violent felons their 2A rights back, but only if a second infraction results in an automatic life with no parole sentence.

  2. mike w. Says:

    I have no problem giving felons their 2A rights back once they’re out of prison, with an exception for those who’ve committed violent felonies. We’ve expanded the term “felony” to encompass so many non-violent (and sometimes victimless) crimes that I don’t think it’s fair for all felons to relinquish their rights. For example, why should someone convicted of felony tax evasion be unable to buy a gun?

    In a perfect world violent criminals would be locked up forever or dead, but the justice system isn’t perfect. They do get released, and I don’t think rapists, child molestors, murderers, robbers, etc. should be able to buy a gun legally.

  3. Jacob Says:

    This is going to fail for one simple reason. NY courts have repeatedly ruled for nearly a century there is no RKBA and nothing short of either a major rewrite of state law or solid decision from SCOTUS is going to change that.

  4. geekWithA.45 Says:

    Almost ~all~ gun cases involve some sort of bona-fide criminal seeking to beat add-on charges in connection with some other bona-fide crime.

    This is one of the many contributors to the degraded state of affairs for the law abiding gun owner, as courts are pretty loathe to find that the criminal did in fact have the right to have a gun with him right up until he started slaughtering nuns with it.

  5. SPROCKET Says:

    Anyone who wants felons to retain their RKBA needs to clean out their head gear and get a grip on reality. For a number of years I lived in West Oakland, in one bad year I had three murders and god knows how many shootings on my block. 80% of the dead in Oakland were ex-felons, 50% were parole violators, it’s an easy assumption the shooters were much the same.

    If you want to support legally arming the savages: move them to your neighborhood please. It’s easy to support RKBA for felons when the worst thing your neighbor ever did was cheat on his taxes. It’s something entirely different when it’s Mr Crack Dealer.

    The real issue seems to be what is considered a felony, and it should be addressed as such. There are many crimes that are felonies simply because the legislators want to scare potential offenders and remind the “little people” to toe the line. So let’s address the real problem, not the symptom.

    Finally, this issue is a loser politically. Supporting gun rights for felons does grave injury to 2nd amendment causes. This is the sort of “issue” the Brady Bunch dreams about. If you want to tilt at windmills,fine. Just do the rest of us gun owners a favor and don’t screw us while you flail away.

  6. SayUncle Says:

    SPROCKET, seems keeping them in jail (which is what I suggested) would probably be the best bet.

  7. Michael Says:

    Personally, I disagree with former incinerated persons getting the right to bear arms again; after all they also get the right to vote taken away too.

    This is part of the consequence of being a criminal; you loose rights both in and out of prison.

  8. straightarrow Says:

    As to the majority opinion here, then let’s call every sentence what it really is. A life sentence. Every conviction carries with it punishment for the life of the convicted.

    Liberty carries risk. If you would be free you must accept those risks. If you don’t really believe in freedom then say so. If you want liberty just for yourself, then say so. But let’s quit pretending this about anything other than the fear of being free and conmomitantly freedom for others.

    I have long been a supporter of returning all rights to those who have paid their debts to society. Or we could quit calling it that and grant immunity to any person who harms or kills a former convict. If they have no rights, then there should be no punishment for those that harm them.

    Get on one side or the other, straddling the fence just mean you either had no balls or you will shortly lose them.

  9. Jay G Says:

    My view’s in line with Unc’s.

    If they can’t be trusted with firearms, keep ’em in jail.

    Those of you who support taking away the 2A rights of felons who have done their time, ask yourself why stop at guns? Why not sharp knives, bats, chainsaws, or automobiles? Gasoline? Propane?

    Any number of large, heavy, flammable, or otherwise everyday items can and are used for violence every day, yet only firearms are singled out for prohibition. Don’t fall into the anti-‘s trap of imbuing the firearm with magic powers – just because someone inclined to commit violence is technically barred from owning guns doesn’t mean that:
    a. They won’t get their hands on them anyways; or
    b. They won’t use something else.

    Now, I’ll wholeheartedly support making the SECOND offense punishable by life without parole…

  10. Regolith Says:

    As to whether or not its legal to take 2nd Amendment rights away from felons: I’m going to have to say it is. If you can take away voting rights, you can take away other rights as well.

    As to whether that’s how things should be: frankly, like others, I think that if you can’t be trusted with a gun, you shouldn’t be let out of prison, because there are still plenty of other weapons you can legally own as a felon that can be used to cause just as much or more damage than a firearm (hint: 9/11 happened with box cutters).

  11. straightarrow Says:

    I know of no constitutional provision for denying the right to vote for convicted felons, especially if they have served their time.

    I am not disputing Michael and Rigoleth so much as asking them where in the constitution was government granted the power to suspend rights for life based on a conviction and sentence that has been served?

    However, their comments do point out the inanity of allowing rights to be suspended for any reason. If you can do it with one for some reason, why can’t you do it with all for any reason?