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Old 12-14-2017, 07:38 AM   #1
Ron_O
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Default Should Felons and Others Lose Their Gun and Voting Rights? Is it Legal?

A couple of years ago I wouldn't have given this any thought. I had a 'don't do the crime if you can't do the time' attitude toward the loss of gun rights for felons, figuring that law makers knew better than I.

But even decades ago I couldn't understand how or why people lost their voting rights after being convicted of certain crimes. I had a coworker friend when I was a teen who couldn't hunt because he'd robbed a gas station when he was a teen. He was petitioning to see if he could archery hunt instead, something else that was forbidden.

It's unlawful to instill 'cruel and unusual punishment' for the commission of a crime. We've all committed crimes, knowingly or unknowingly. Only a few crimes are punished with life imprisonment. I don't know what truly constitutes 'paying the price', or 'your debt to society', but it seems to me that penalties are there for punishment and deterrent factors, not to 'pay back a debt', other than if someone truly pays restitution.

I suppose if someone were 'paying back society' they'd be forced into terms of public service, such as California does with some of its prisoners when they help fight wildland fires (I've worked alongside a lot of them when I was firefighting).

But removing someone's Constitutional rights is not 'paying back a debt', it's punishment, denial, or a form of 'prevention' by attempts to disarm. How is it that even minor felons can be given such life sentences for an offense that only landed them a year in jail? Are someone's OTHER Constitutional rights taken away as well, such as their 1st, 4th, 5th, and other inalienable rights? Is there a provision in the Constitution that I'm not aware of that states that a citizens rights can be removed for ANY length of time, other then when they're actually incarcerated?

I have a lot more to add but have read posts by several members who've posted some great thoughts on this topic. One of the most common ideas is that if you've served the time or paid the restitution then your sentence should be complete, not linger on for life.

And isn't the same true when people are asked on a job app or similar paperwork as to whether they're a convicted felon? Why does a felon, who's paid that penalty or price, have to carry a life sentence for his conviction? How is someone supposed to heal and move on when they're forever stigmatized as a felon?

This reminds me of 'the war on drugs' and its total failure. Felons who want a gun are going to find and carry one, many for a lot of good reasons, just like many of us do. But if they do so for their own protection now they're felons once again, automatically, so they're constantly 'dirty' in their otherwise 'law abiding' lives. Doesn't being dirty tend to open the door to disregard the law in other areas, subconsciously if nothing else? Isn't it like an illegal alien who knows that their very existence within the USA makes them a lawbreaker so they tend to disregard other laws as well?

Wouldn't the better option be to impose much greater penalties for an ex felon who uses a gun in a crime, or would that in itself be a violation of their rights? Can penalties be piled on for repeat offenses? California tried that with their 3 strikes law and it was stricken down by the courts.

Is it legal to remove our God-given rights for life? Face it, when someone's in prison they have most of their rights stripped from them anyway. Would it make sense to restrict their voting and gun rights, as though they're still in prison, until an offender has completed their probation period if released early? For example if someone received a ten year sentence but were released after four, to then restrict their rights for the remaining six years of their sentence?

Does the possible loss of your gun rights keep you from doing things you may otherwise want to do, such as attend the protests that happened in Bunkerville with the Bundys in 2014? What about things like indulging in cannabis in a state where it's legal to do so?
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Old 12-14-2017, 11:26 AM   #2
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I personally feel that a gun ban on felons violates the U.S. constitution and the Nevada constitution, and also furthermore makes no sense.

The felons that willingly obey a law that says they cannot own a gun are ones that suddenly decided to follow laws. So disarming such people is of no benefit to society.
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Old 12-14-2017, 12:19 PM   #3
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As a former correctional officer I've got no sympathy.
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Old 12-14-2017, 01:19 PM   #4
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As a former correctional officer I've got no sympathy.
I personally believe in treating people as individuals rather than making assumptions about people on the basis of what you see in bulk.

The law is often just, and those in prison are often bad people.

But not always.

To follow the law is often immoral, and those who blindly follow the law in every circumstance are cowards.

Who is the more moral?

The guy who defies the law and shoots a would-be murderer with an illegally carried firearm and saves an innocent bystander?

Or the guy who kept his gun at home because he feared to go to prison, and therefore allowed others to be slain before him?

A marksman who leaves his gun at home does so because he chooses to place himself before others.
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Old 12-14-2017, 04:49 PM   #5
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Our laws and the penal system are here for a reason and that is to keep a lid on society.

Without law and a majority adherence we risk becoming a predatory feral human society and a anarchistic natural selection experiment.

Getting a payday loan should not disqualify one from getting a government clearance but it does. It means you are a bad risk.

Why should I be a part of risk acceptance because someone else could not function within the accepted norms of our society?
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Old 12-14-2017, 05:23 PM   #6
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Many (most?) felons were convicted for non-violent offenses. If they weren't violent before their conviction, why think they would become violent after their conviction?

Stripping the rights of ex-felons to promote safety implies the state is releasing dangerous people into society. Maybe the question should be, "why are we releasing dangerous people into society?"

Which brings up the question, "Who is dangerous?"
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Old 12-14-2017, 05:23 PM   #7
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Default Should Felons and Others Lose Their Gun and Voting Rights? Is it Legal?

I've always been of the opinion that if we can't trust a felon with certain rights, like voting or gun ownership, then we can't trust that person in the public at large. I've looked into recidivism rates and such, I know career criminals be criminals and sometimes there's no hope. But taking away their right to own guns hardly slows them if they're determined to reoffend.

That said, the Heller v DC decision went out of it's way to clarify they were not opening the door to challenge the previously supported gun restrictions on certain groups of people, specifically naming felons. Unless their state has a process to restore right via pardon or other means, I don't see felons getting rights back in the long run.
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Old 12-14-2017, 06:05 PM   #8
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Unless their state has a process to restore right via pardon or other means, I don't see felons getting rights back in the long run.
I agree. Most people are judgmental, have an us and "them" attitude, and don't realize that they too are one pen stroke away from being on the wrong side of the law. In this climate of a nanny state that we live, it is not at all far fetched to think you could find yourself a felon for the most innocuous behavior.
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Old 12-14-2017, 06:38 PM   #9
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After spending a career in law enforcement, I have seen the worst that man can do to man up close and personal. And Felonies are at that top of that list. A felony level offense that results in the harm of another person, IMHO should lead to the loss of gun ownership and voting rights after incarseration. They violated the rights of their victims, and have shown a willful disregard for the rights of others.

If you commit a felony level offense that does not directly impact another person (personal income tax evasion etc.), that might be another matter. Once the person has served their sentence,I feel they should have some mechanism to apply for the restoration of their rights.

However, if you are convicted of a felony that directly impacts victims, even though not physically (scam an elderly person out of their life savings etc.), they should never have their rights restored. That's part of the deterrent to them committing crimes in the first place. A person needs to take personal responsibility for their own actions.
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Old 12-14-2017, 07:24 PM   #10
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Depends on severity of the felony. In my opinion most should have a path to restore rights.
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