Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Felons and Guns?

One of the big gun blogs, TTAG, raises the question of felons owning firearms in a blog on Friday.

Live by the gun, die by the gun? Create a federal system for the restoration of felons’ gun rights? Or full rights restoration for felons upon release? Where do you stand on gun rights restoration?

So, the root question is: should felons be able to own guns? I've actually had this discussion with my brother and some other firearm enthusiasts over the last few years. The answer isn't simple, but I'll submit that at least in some cases, felons should have a system to regain their rights.

The goal of prison, as far as I understand it, is to both punish those who commit crimes, as well as rehabilitate the inmates so that they don't re-offend. Or, to think about it another way, people are in prison because they aren't safe to interact in regular society.

If they have served their time, and it's deemed safe for them to be released into regular society, they should have a way to regain their rights. If they are so dangerous that they shouldn't be able to regain their rights... then they should still be in custody. They shouldn't be out in public where there are ample unprotected targets.

If prisoners are so dangerous that they can't ever be trusted with firearms again, they belong in prison, sequestered from the rest of the population, where they can't hurt anyone. If they don't need that, then there should be a path for restoration of rights. Call it an extended probation, call it what you will. What if, 10 years after being released from prison, and being released from parole, they have a way to petition (easily) to get their rights restored?

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