Felons and Firearms: When and how should it be allowed?
In 1968 the Federal Government ruled that felons cannot own a firearm in accordance with
18 UAC Code “(d)It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person.
(1) under indictment for, or has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
(g)It shall be unlawful for any person—
(1) who has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year
Let us start with the definition according to Merriam-Webster:
Definition of felony
1: an act on the part of a feudal vassal … involving the forfeiture of his fee
2a: a grave crime formerly differing from a misdemeanor … under English common law by involving forfeiture in addition to any other punishment
b: a grave crime (such as murder or rape) declared to be a felony by the common law or by statute regardless of the punishment actually imposed
c: a crime declared a felony by statute because of the punishment imposed
d: a crime for which the punishment in federal law may be death or imprisonment for more than one year.
Essentially any conviction resulting in a one-year sentence or longer constitutes a felony.
At this time, I am not wanting to debate with those who think the 2nd Amendment is it, period, end of discussion. I firmly believe in the 2nd; however, I also believe in a civilized society. You would be hard-pressed to convince me that any person convicted of a violent crime using a firearm should be allowed to have legal possession of said tool again. There are exceptions to this based on details, but I am speaking in general terms for this newsletter.
Types of crime; Blue Collar (typically violent) and White-Collar (typically non-violent). However blue-collar crimes such as burglary and drugs do not involve firearms. We use these terms to justify our positions. What if the conviction and sentence are based on a non-violent crime (i.e. white-collar)? How does this change one’s perception of an individual’s rights? The definition of white-collar crime is this: Fraud, based on deceit, concealment, or violation of trust.
How would a felon go about getting their rights restored? Right now, it is pretty much on them. They need to hire lawyers, petition courts for reduction to a misdemeanor, expunged, or other legal means of removing the scarlet “F” off of their chest. Believe it or not, the ATF has/had a program to help with this. You could try and seek the ATF’s “Relief from Federal Firearms Disability.” However, in 1992 a move to stop this by Congress went into effect and the ATF was prohibited from expending appropriated funds to investigate or act upon applications. A nice and convenient way to shut something down without much uproar.
Misdemeanor convictions. With a nod to all the new “Red Flag Laws” out there it has been and still is illegal for an individual to possess, use, sell firearms if they are under indictment or convicted of domestic violence. We all know the RFL’s are so dangerous due to the open-ended definitions of who, what, and where along with the stripping of so many other constitutional rights.
Back to the main question. Should Felons be allowed to own firearms? The Left is adamant that to do so would lead to more crime. Almost any left-leaning news outlet supports this. There is also the view of a strict constitutionalist that believes the 2nd Amendment is the only law. One thing about the Left is they NEVER clarify what a felon is, it always presumed that a bank teller who took some cash here or there to pay bills or live a life above their means is equal to the bank robber who intimidated, shot or killed bank customers or employees during their crime. Here is another example, guilty of a crime and convicted, but serves less than 12 months.
“Bill gets involved with the wrong people and finds himself using drugs. Desperate for money to feed his drug habit, he steals money from his employer’s cash register. Bill’s employer informs law enforcement of what he has done, and he is convicted of a felony-level burglary offense and sentenced to 16 months in prison. Andy is mandated to turn his guns over to law enforcement. Because of Bill’s otherwise clean record and good behavior, while incarcerated, he only serves 4 months in prison. Even though he is released early, he is still prohibited from owning a firearm.”
Bill had no police record before nor since this event. Should Bill have his rights restored?
It is my opinion that this office of the ATF needs to be reopened at the federal level. At a minimum that State level also but I am not sure how that would mesh with the Federal systems used for the sales of firearms. A whole other issue I know. This office already exists, it just needs to be staffed and utilized. There are a lot of people out there who just made a stupid mistake and are stuck with it for life. Their lives before-hand, and since they have been law-abiding and contributive to society. I think they should have a second chance.
Please feel free to respond to this article in the comments section of our website with your opinions.