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    Greg and Beth

    the political and personal musings of two
    mountaineers living in west-central Florida
     
    Greg on Politics(2): Convicted Criminals and Their Rights Comment
    Gregory Morris, 5/15/07 12:45:47 pm
    Those who are not capable of abiding by the law are subject to having their constitutional rights revoked. I'm OK with this. Congress and the courts are OK with this. However a "felony" record should not automatically bar someone from owning a firearm, or from voting for that matter. Felonies differ from state to state, and change considerably over the decades. Some felonies are very serious, causing serious damage to the victim(s). But there are also some minor offenses which can be prosecuted as felonies.
    Example: Simply pointing a firearm at a menacing individual in your driveway (perhaps to deter a violent crime), can be, and often is prosecuted as a felony assault in many states!

    To disqualify someone from possessing a firearm, the crime must be of a clearly violent nature, regardless of whether it is prosecuted as a felony or a misdemeanor. To disqualify someone from voting, the crime must cause clear damage to the victim(s). In addition, there must be repeat offenses to legitimize infringing upon the rights of a citizen. People dislike the death penalty because there is always the question, "did we get the right guy?" I argue that denying someone's rights is nearly as severe (give me liberty or give me death...*ahem*), and should only be done to repeat offenders. Alternatively, a denial of rights should be imposed as a sentence, rather than an automatic "felony conviction == rights denied".

    Currently, some states have means of restoration of rights in some circumstances. Until a better system can be put into place, this is the best policy we can hope for, and it should be explored further at a national level.

    Note: this is not meant to be scholarly work. This is simply my opinion. If I use someone else's ideas, I try to credit them where appropriate. I also reserve the right to change my opinion when provided with better information, as any half-intelligent person should do.

    [Comments are closed after a month.]

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