Thursday, May 5, 2016

Should Convicted Felons Get Their Gun Rights Back?

Currently, convicted felons are prohibited from buy, selling, or possessing firearms and ammunition.  But should they be?  Over at the War on Guns, David Codrea has a saying that anyone who can't be trusted with a gun should not be trusted without a chaperon. The obvious implication is if these individuals are released into society to walk around among the rest of us, they must be able to be trusted. Now comes Barton Hinkle over at saying the same thing. He asks Should Felons Get Their Gun Rights Back?

Hinkle points out that Virginia governor Terry McAuliff has put out an executive order that some 207,000 felons will now have their voting rights restored. If voting rights are to be restored, what about other rights, like gun rights? It is a fair question, and while I am sure that Progressives will have a lengthy answer, I am equally sure that it will make no logical sense.

Hinkle writes:
The order restored felons' rights to vote, to hold public office, to serve on juries, and to act as notary publics. But it explicitly excluded one basic American right: "Nothing in this Order restores the right to ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms."
That might seem like simple common sense—a precaution so obvious it needs no explanation. But it does require explanation. In fact, it needs not only an explanation, but a great deal of justification.
Republicans have slammed McAuliffe's order as nothing more than political chicanery. But while they might have a point about the politics, they are wrong on principle. Having paid their debt, felons should be able to rejoin civil society as full members in good standing. As Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) put it the other day, responding to GOP critics: "The right to vote is a right. It is not a privilege."
The same holds true for the right to keep and bear arms—and the right to self-defense. So why shouldn't the same principle that applies to voting rights apply to gun rights?
We have seen the courts extend the right to free expression to unimaginable limits, while shrinking the right to religious expression to almost a private matter. They have in many cases done similar things to the right to bear arms, and under either Trump of Clinton, we can expect yet more infringement.

Frankly, the answer should be yes.  If you can trust them to roam about among us, you can trust them with guns.  If you can't trust them with guns, they should still be locked up.

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