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Discussion Topic: Should Felons Go Hunting?

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November 30, 2007

Discussion Topic: Should Felons Go Hunting?

By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

From WNYT News Channel 13 in Albany, NY:

Convicted felons are banned from possessing firearms [in New York]. They can still get hunting licenses but no one is in charge of making sure they don't get guns. . . .

Of the more than 102,000 hunting licenses issued in our area last year, 221 went to convicted felons.

Eight felons reported deer kills, with five admitting to illegally using a rifle or shotgun, but the real number may never be known.

Check out this video, and tell us what you think. Should felons be allowed to use a rifle or shotgun for hunting? What about a muzzleloader? A Bow?

Comments (51)

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from Corey wrote 6 years 15 weeks ago

The only people who do not want convicted felons to have firearms are the weak who act hard but are really pussies. Are you scared that you can't treat people like crap and run your mouth and get away with it. Let everyone have a weapon and there will be less crime. You can call it a intricate system of checks and balances.

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from Phillip wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

SA...I don't think we disagree at all.You said, "Don't get me wrong, once a convicted felon has completed their sentence they should have most rights restored, firearms ownership rights for them needs to be looked at very carefully though."I am 100% with you there.

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from SilverArrow wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

PhillipI think we can agree to disagree. Being the victim of a crime is not a fair process as such it seems ludicrous to me to demand 'fairness' for convicted felons. Don't get me wrong, once a convicted felon has completed their sentence they should have most rights restored, firearms ownership rights for them needs to be looked at very carefully though.SA

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from Chad Martin wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

I guess the biggest problem was that the felon had guns taken from him in the past and the local agencies hadn't checked him for some time. Also our state will issue a hunting license to a felon with out a check of any type. This should be changed.

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from Phillip wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

SA,You said, "Still loss of 2A Rights in the immediate time period after a conviction makes reasonable sense."I definitely agree with you. I'm not even opposed to banning the hunting priviledge during the terms of a felony sentence (in general, only a third of the time is spent in prison, the remainder of the term consists of parole and probation).It's what happens AFTER the immediate time period that concerns me. As long as there is a FAIR process for restoration of those rights, then I support this type of prohibition. It's the idea of an irreconcilable, across-the-board, "lifetime" ban that doesn't fly with me.And Chad, I definitely feel for you and your situation, but from what you've described a ban on possession didn't make any difference to the tresspassing piece of dung that shot your father.What really sucks in your case (not that you need anyone to tell you this) is that, despite the aggravating factors of being a felon in possession of a firearm, tresspass and criminal negligence (shooting without being sure of the target), the DA failed to push for the maximum charges including manslaughter. This comes back to the old, but valid, argument that we don't need more laws... we need better and more consistent enforcement of the laws already in place.

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from Chad Martin wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

From experience I can say No, felons should not be allowed to hunt or own guns. On December 22, 2001 a convicted felon tresspassed onto family property and shot my dad while he was hunting. My dad was sitting on a fence row in the open to the other man. The shooter was carrying a .444 with a scope and told the local authorities he thought he saw a deer and shot. More than likely my dad probably motioned at him or even yelled at him. In Mississippi we have a 4 point law, so he obviously didn't care what he was shooting at. He had no problem with the fact he was tresspassing. He should have been convicted of manslaughter, but the local DA didn't push it. At his hearing for possessing a firearm he stated that he thought since he could buy a license it was ok to have a gun. Even sheriffs deputies had taken weapons from his home in the past. Our state allows felons to retain their right to own a firearm and hunt with an appeals process. I can see in some case where this could be ok, but in most instances a lot of these guys don't deserve the right to own a firearm ever again. The guy that shot my dad served 3 months and got out of jail. I get to spend the rest of my life without my best friend and the man that taught me everything about being a hunter.

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from SilverArrow wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

PhillipNo doubt our prisons are overflowing. No doubt that there is a percentage of people whe consider neither the law nor the consequences of breaking it before they act.Certainly we can rethink this issue; or the overarching causes of so much violence and crime in our society. Certainly we owe that to ourselves, each other and the generation just coming up.Incarcerating millions of citizens has proven financially disasterous. We may need to consider more carrots and fewer sticks. We also may need to consider different consequences, non-governmental approaches, and the list can go on.Still loss of 2A Rights in the immediate time period after a conviction makes reasonable sense. Should we also include stripping one of hunting priviledges? Some decent points on both sides of that arguement here!SA

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from Phillip wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

Yeah, SilverArrow... deterrent value is so real that our prisons are overcrowded, criminals are being released early, and others are being patted on the behind and turned loose because there's nowhere to house them... some deterrent.Most law-abiding people abide by the law because we've had instilled a proper sense of ethics... right from wrong. We don't rob banks or shoot one another because we know it's the wrong thing to do. Sure, the risk of penalties may play into the consideration, but when it does it's the immediate penalty... not those esoteric conceptual things like lifetime prohibitions or loss of rights.Even so, and fully aware of the possible recriminations, most of us still choose which laws to obey and which we reject at some level.

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from SilverArrow wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

PhillipBeg to differ, sir. The deterent value of such laws IS Real, I know it is to me, others I have spoken to along the same lines have said similar things and some of the other posts confirm as well. Get in a situation where something stupid could happen and cost you your Rights and your Freedom and you think twice (at least I do) whether it be a dumb-ass going road rage on me for a forgotten turn signal or the 'opportunity' to make a lot of money quasi-legally -- both of which have happened to me in the last 2 weeks -- I have resisted the temptation to take that next stupid step, even when dumb-ass pushed me. Too much at stake. Deterent value.SA

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from SilverArrow wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

What's to say but "Congratulations Bill!"?SA

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from Bill wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

John , thank you! I am so pleased to see you guys talking about this, not that I ever want to own a gun. But I know now people care and maybe you all will care when they try to stop guys like me from bow hunting. Sitting in a stand early in the morning gives a guy time to reflrct and dream, time to get down to who he realy is and what matters in life. Bow hunting has given me so much, I could never explain it but its done more for me than than anything I know. It gave me a safe place to be me and change. I was a real bad ass in prision. Truth is I was more scaired than any one I new. That fear made me dangerous. Even people I would die for were afraid of me. I was so afraid getting out of prision. I was so much worse that it scaired me bad, real bad. Looking back I dont know how I made it. But i know bow hunting had alot to do with putting me in touch with the real me. There is somting very powerfull in all of us, powerfull enough to make dreams come true. Powerfull enough to change are lives forever. Today Iv an awsome respect for the law, It alows us all to live as one. Im glad you guys can own guns and hunt, protect that right with everything you have. this country depends apon it. This year I meet the women of my draems, Killed the buck of my dreams, and last night i found out im going to be a father. You will know who we are going down the street with a camo baby buggy:) We will feal safe knowing guys like you own guns, ya the real crimenals do too, but atleast we dont condon it. NO GUNS for x-cons, Its a no brainer. HAPPY HUNTING!!!!!!!

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from Phillip wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

A couple of points to further confuse the discussion, after a disclaimer: I am not, nor have I ever been an attorney. I do not play one on TV, or on the Internet. What you do with this information is on your own shoulders.First, the federal law prohibits possession of firearms by convicted (not accused) felons, and certain classes of misdemeanor offenders.There exists through the BATF a process for restoration of firearm rights.. a process that is lengthy, but not really that bad. It SHOULD be a lengthy and complex process... I agree with the need to be careful in who gets their guns back and who does not.That said... it doesn't really matter.All 50 states have their own gun laws, which overule the federal law (except in the case of certain federal felonies as listed in the lawbooks). I don't know how much longer this will be the case, since States' Rights seems to be a disintegrating concept, but for now this is the case.Several states currently restore all rights to convicted felons after a period of time... some as soon as unconditional release (end of probation/parole) and some after a period of years. In some cases, like North Carolina, the right to possess long guns comes back on unconditional release, but the right to own handguns must be petitioned (it was automatic after seven or ten years, but they've since updated the law).Some states offer a path to restoration of rights, although in cases like California with an anti-gun Attorney General, no funding is provided to perform the process... in effect, nullifying the process. Even if someone were to appeal for a federal restoration of rights, the State does not automatically have to go along with it.Only a couple of states, Florida comes to mind, permanently ban firearm ownership by convicted felons with no course of restoration.Here's where it gets tricky.If a person is convicted in a state with fairly lenient restrictions (where rights are restored automatically on completion of the sentence), and moves to a more draconian state after completing his sentence, then the person is subject to the restrictions of the state where the conviction took place... not the possession laws of his/her new home state.However, that person can still be denied the right to purchase a firearm. Honestly, I'm not completely clear on this one... possession and purchase are not treated identically.It's a confusing mix of constitutional law, but it has been upheld.Switching gears now...Those who argue that the loss of rights should serve as a deterrent to crime should take a reality check. A little basic understanding of the human mind should indicate that deterrents, especially intangible ideas such as lifetime prohibitions, are pretty ineffective.Heck, most of us are perfectly aware of the cost of driving over the speed limit, few of us can afford to pay several hundred dollars for a ticket and insurance increases, yet it's an easy majority of people who do it anyway.How about an honest show of hands of people who've never driven a motor vehicle after a couple of drinks...? Yeah, we know, not only is there a big penalty for getting caught, we could actually kill someone.Point is, people do it because they don't think they're going to get caught. No one wants to pay the price, but the price isn't a consideration when you don't believe you're going to have to pay it in the first place.It's no different for someone who robs a convenience store or rapes a child... they don't believe they'll be caught. No punishment is a deterrent, because they don't believe they'll ever face punishment.It's not the fear of punishment, but the fear of capture that keeps most of us within the basic rules of the law. Combined with a few innate moral standards, we're a fairly law-abiding society.Law enforcement, and crime prevention in this country are pretty much misnomers... they're neither enforcement nor prevention. After you've broken the law, then the system kicks in. What we have is a punitive, reactionary system... which is why it doesn't work all that well. Criminals check in, do their "time", and check back out... often thinking they'll be smarter next time and not be caught.Recidivism is high because there's little-to-no consistency or equality in the way punishment is dispersed, and much of the punishment revolves around esoteric concepts of permanence (this is going on your permanent record). For younger folks particularly, telling someone that "this is going to affect you for the rest of your life" really has no appreciable meaning. It's only later, when you're living that life, that it starts to become real. By then it's too late.The ideal is to PREVENT crime, not just to punish it.

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from Dan wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

Federal law also prohibits gun possession for misdemeanor convictions such as domestic assault or, even without a conviction, being the respondent in an order for protection or restraining order. The problem for a lot of people is even if the State might allow gun possession, the Feds won't. That's not to say I disagree with either set of laws, only that a person better be aware of both if they have been convicted of a crime.

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from John R wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

QUOTE: "Wouldn't that be a slap in the freaking face.Get wrongly accused of a felony - beat the wrap. Answer no to get a gun - since you were wrongly accused in the frst place - then obtain a felony after all because of red tape."I wouldn't be surprised if that had already happened. I would also like to pay my respects to Bill, a convicted felon for his candor and personal experience/views.There is some truth in his statements especially wit hthe 3 fingers pointing back part. I've found that those that take a hard line stand on isues such as this usually have a personal agenda or an axe to grind.BTW concerning background checks; a career law enforcement buddy of mine regularly gets a decline on a NICS check. He is not the only LE person that has had this problem. This guy is straight as an arrow and no, there are no skeletons in his closet. It would appear that if the (NICS) system has glitches, then our opinions are moot.Last point; the reason the BATF form asks if one has been charged w/a felony is because one may be initially charged with a felony crime which oneu may have actually committed, but the DA and judge allowed one to plead to a misdemeanor version of that crime. Therefore one can commit a felony, but be convicted of only a misdemeanor. As usual BATF is going to the nth paranoid degree to regulate firearm ownership.

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from Bubba wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

SACan't think of how many times my feeble brain has been jarred back into some degree of sanity because of these very laws.Make no mistake, my history is very checkered at best, BUT, nothing I have ever done has put me in a position to even be charged with a felony!Bubba

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from SilverArrow wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

WowI thought going into this 'Cut and Dried!' No way should a convicted felon be allowed to hunt again. But I see a lot of very inciteful answers.Mind not completely changed however; I look at the tremendous deterent value for someone like me who values the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and the priviledge to hunt with them. No doubt myself and others like me have heard that voice in the ear when otherwise tempted to do something really stupid. I never did anything with drugs, don't drink to excess and never drove drunk because I know all the potential consequences. The idea of having to exist in a cage like an animal is scary enough but on top of it to be stripped of my 2A rights and my hunting priviledges and (as Bill mentioned above) to have a lot of problems finding good jobs; huge deterent.I will admit however that these posts have me thinking!SA

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from Tommy wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

Hey Bubba,Wouldn't that be a slap in the freaking face.Get wrongly accused of a felony - beat the wrap. Answer no to get a gun - since you were wrongly accused in the frst place - then obtain a felony after all because of red tape.Great.

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from Bubba wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

Yeah, Tommy, you could answer NO. BUT, if you have ever been "charged" with a felony, and the question is, "Have you ever been charged with a crime punishable by more than one year in jail (re: felony)?", and you answer NO, you have just falsified a government document, which is, guess what? A felony!At this point in time, no BATF forms must be filled out to purchase black powder firearms or archery equipment. I understand some states even restrict ownership of these materials by felons. Were I wrongly charged with a felony, I would fight first to have the record expunged, but even then, the answer to the question is YES. Ergo, no firearm!Then I would take up black powder and archery!Bubba

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from Tommy wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

Then that would open up the whole issue of those that "got off" for whatever reasons, getting guns when they should not.But that, I guess, is another can of beans altogether.

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from Tommy wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

I see what you are saying Bubba, and would like to see that changed.But would it really matter? I mean if you were not convicted; just charged with a felony, couldn't you just say no to the question from the start?I mean; is there a way those that run the screening can see if you were ever charged with a felony, even if you were never convicted?

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from Bubba wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

In my limited, past experience, I've been able to have the following question answered:If I invited a felon to go hunting and loan him a gun, am I breaking the law?According to the BATF, YES! If one provides a firearm to another who can't pass a background check, they, too, are committing a crime.Everyone keeps talking about felons and "convicted" felons. I reiterate again. Go get a copy of the BATF form. It clearly asks the question.... "Have you ever been "CHARGED" with a felony?" It says absolutely nothing about being convicted, only charged.With this in mind, if you must answer "yes" to that particular question, the form itself says that if the answer to any of questions 2 through 11 (?) is "yes", you cannot purchase a firearm!If you have ever been wrongly charged with a felony, regardless of your being acquitted or found "Not guilty", you have lost your "right" to "legally" purchase firearms in the US of A.Bubba

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from bill wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

I am a convicted felon, Its been over 10 years sence Iv commited a crime. Simply put , I stoped using drugs and alcohal. I still cant get a good job. That sucks but Im the one who commeted the crime. I can bow hunt and I love it. I hope this right is never taken from me. If it is I will deal with it. I shot guns growing up , never used one in a crime. Cant say I want to own one are hunt with one eather. Honistly Iv seen alot of gun hunters who need to take a gun safty corse. Some of you guys need to look in the merror. I did 12 years in a maxamum security prision, I know how to protect my self. Some of you guys scair the hell out of me in the woods. Also alot of people have commited crimes and did not get caught, most people pointing the finger have three pointing back at them. they scair me too. you know who you are dont act all inosent and bad ass. As for me I arrowed a nice buck this year, ill be in the stand in the morning. Hope the neabors dont shoot at each other like they did last year when one killed the others hunting dog. I slipped out of the woods like a gost, only messed up a days hunt. Pore dog died. These men were not felons. Duck hunter damn near shot me out of a tree too. Id like alittle more focus placed on safty. Commen sence should tell you felons should not own guns. Atleast not untill they have proven to society that they can. Personaly I like the law the way it is in Ill. I care about my family.

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from jstreet wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

Moeggs,This world isn't always black and white. Justice isn't metered out fairly either.Do the time for doing a crime? I've seen plently of poor folks go to the pokey while people who have money, connections and a good lawyer walk away (ever heard of O.J. Simpson?).If justice were truly blind I would agree with you. Unfortunately, justice is bought and paid for in many, many cases.

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from Sherrill Philip Neese wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

I think that felons who have paid their debt to society should be allowed to go hunting with a firearm.Other than punishment for punishments sake, what purpose does the prohibition of felons hunting with firearms serve?- It does not make us any safer in the woods.- It's not going to stop felons from getting guns.- It does not stop felons from going into the woods.- It does not stop felons from going into the woods with firearms.- It's not going to stop people from killing other people.The law punishes people and provides no incentive for lawful actions by the rehabilitated felon. Also, like other forms of gun control the only ones who it affects are those who choose to obey the law.This is a major point.The only people that this will prevent from using a firearm are the rehabilitated felons who now obey the law and are trying to assimilate back into society. Do we, for a moment, think that some crazed whacko killer is going to stop his nefarious activities because we, as a society, say he can't have a license? I don't think so.

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from as moeggs wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

Bob, I know it sucks you cannot hunt with your son, but sorry, I do not wish tou luck. Your son not only made a mistake, he was a danger on the road and broke the law. Now it's time to pay the piper. Like I said in my other post, it's about accountibililty. Quit blaming the government and everybody else for the actions of our son. He's the only one ot blame.And Ben, how the hell does limiting a felon to the use of a singleshot gun suppose to act as a deterent. Thats like telling my kids, well if you act bad, i'll punish you just kind of. They will learn nothing about consequences by parenting like this. IF I tell them they're grounded for a week....I mean they're grounded for a week.

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from bob (from northern california) wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

no two cases are the same. people convicted of dui where someone was killed don't always lose their drivers license and are not prevented from buying another car or a bottle of booze. I think if the felon wants to regain his/her gun rights they need to pursue and make an effort to get that right back. then they need to try and register to vote again. It don't take any time to get into trouble but it can take a life time to get out of it. I say these very few words as a father whose son lost his rights for something stupid, it's been 10 years and we are going to try and get permission for him to hunt again (modern rifle/shotgun). were in california and have diane & barbra to fight, wish us luck. bottom line, I think they should be able to hunt and posess a "hunting firearm", nothing more, nothing less. the woods will be as safe as we are, I have never ever heard of a armed robbery of a hunting camp or another hunter, they are armed also and the robber does not want a fair fight. he uses the gun because he is the one who is the COWARD!

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from Ben wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

I think we agree on one thing; this is not a "one size fits all" case. I would leave it up to a judge to decide who may legally own a firearm. Perhaps there could even be restrictions, like only allowing single shot firearms or something like that.

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from as moeggs wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

I would add to my above post the following: I don't think a person convicted of a felony should be banned for life from owning or possessing a firearm, but it should 5-10 years based on the crime. A serious felony such as homicide, manslaughter, child abuse, felony assault and battery, forget it. Touch a gun and your up sheet creek. And to say people don't think about the consequenced prior to committing a felony is a bunch of sheet. Seems the consequences need to be more severe then. When I've been drinking i sure and the hell think about what could happen if i get behind the wheel. You should too!

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

There is a difference between owning, or purchasing, a firearm verses using one to hunt with.Enforcing a law not allowing a convicted felon to purchase a gun from a FFL dealer is reasonable under a backround check, but if I invite a friend over for some grouse shooting and lend him one of my guns am I now breaking the law?This person doesn't own the gun, he is just hunting with it.

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from Dmac wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

Does anyone know the law on this in Illinois? I've heard that 20 years after your last felony conviction you can own firearms again. I've even asked the local police departments but of course they don't have a clue. I was convicted of a non-violent felony at least 18 years ago(we all make stupid mistakes on the road to maturity). I love the outdoors and grew up hunting and fishing.To take hunting away from me for the rest of my life seems like excessive punishment for one juvenile mistake.

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from John R wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

Unfortunately Ken Lay had he lived, would possibly have had enough money to throw around (i.e. buy a big ranch, some local influence) and hunt anyway.In a perfect world the law is supposed to be applied equitably. We all know that this is not a perfect world. Some people will always have the means to find a way around their punishment (i.e. no guns or hunting) while those without the means have to suffer through their punishment. I don't mean to sound cynical or contrary, but I have observed it myself. Well I've beat that horse enough so I'll retire back into the shadows. There has been some good food for thought posted about this topic. Kudos to all.

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from John E. Law wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

There are valid arguments on both sides, but I pretty much fall into the "if you can't to the time, don't do the crime" category. A white collar crime is still a crime. Thousands of innocent people lost their retirement savings because of Ken Lay's criminal activity while running Enron. Though he is now deceased, had he lived, he would have retired (assuming he ever got out of prison) with millions in the bank. Would such a person deserve to kick back on a ranch in Utah hunting Mule Deer while his former 68 year old employee is a greeter at Wal-Mart because he'll have to work the rest of his life?

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from Bubba wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

At some point, a line must be drawn in the dirt with the words, "Don't step over that line!"I understand that an individual can become a felon without being violent! I have known some violent people that never became felons!My problem with the "felon" thing is, the question on the paperwork askes, "Have you ever been CHARGED....", not "Have you ever been CONVICTED....."!According to the BATF "paperwork" you must fill out to purchase a firearm, even if you were absolved of any wrongdoing, being CHARGED with a felony precludes your firearm purchase!Our criminal justice system is far from perfect. No criminal justice system will EVER be perfect, but you have to draw a line somewhere!Bubba

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from John R wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

In reference to the above post; habitual felons maybe, and the punishment meted for the crime should in itself be deterrent enough (i.e. jail time & etc.). I would hazard a guess that at the moment of the crime, deterrent is the last thing on a miscreant's mind. A lifetime ban on hunting or shooting for all but the most serious crimes is IMHO tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment.What makes this issue so difficult is the fact that it involves the 2nd Amendment of the Bill of Rights. How do you tell someone who has paid his debt to society, who's crime (a minor felony) was non-violent, and who has shown true change in his/her life, that we will return to you this constitutional right and that constitutional right, but not this particular right.The problem is that we're great in creating and passing laws, but I opine that we're not very good at thinking them through. A great example of this is the infamous Lautenberg Amendment (Sp?).

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from as moeggs wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

Well, someone who has multiple drunk driving arrests, and may face a felony if they get arrested again, should think about if the crime they are about to commit is worth it. It's all about nipping the problem in the budd before it becomes a problem. AKA a DETERENT. Pay your child support, don't drink and drive, quit writing bad checks, and take responsiblity for your actions jack assess! I say keep the felons out of the field!

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from Visitor wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

I think there is a way to solve to problem with non violent offenders and that would be to use the ban from guns as an insentive to their rehabilitation. Say give them ten years without infraction of another felony and to never test positive for drugs. As for the violent offenders, they are out of luck.

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from PB wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

I think convicted felons should have a way to get their gun-owner rights back nationwide. IE: so many years without an infraction, letters of reference or something like that. Common sense would go a long ways in making this just and fair. Eliminating their right FOREVER isn't the way it should be 100% of the time.

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from Greg wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

I agree with the above post and I do believe there is a process for convicted felons to re-establish thier gun rights. Maybe someone will know more about that?

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from Visitor wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

This is a subject that should be adressed in every state at the state level. Let me say to preface my comments that I am a strong law and order guy.One has to understand a couple of key points about this issue.Point one is there are crimes that are non-violent felonies and there are violent felony crimes. If a crime is a felony (e.g. felony fraud) that does not involve a firearm offense, or violence, what's the point!Point two is a question of common sesnse and decency to wit; when is a person's debt finally paid off. If a person has paid their debt to society, then they should have all their rights returned. When you pay off your home mortgage, the house is yours. The bank cannot return and tell you you can't install a patio in your back yard. I believe most states have a process whereby a convicted felon can petition the governor for full reinstatement of his/her rights including the right of firearm ownership. although I think Dan above forgot to take his paranoia pills, he did make a point that the process will ultimately be in the hands of a judge or sheriff who may be prejudiced to deny the right of firearm possession. Unless you are politically connected or have money to buy influence, someone trying to have their rights restored may find the cards stacked against them.Last point is where is the incentives in our "system"? We are quick to punish, but what incentive is there for someone to improve oneself? Except for the violent offenders (murderers, rapists, etc)a debt paid should be paid, period.

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from Dan wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

The problem with that is that you then leave the decision up to an individual judge, who may not want anyone to have guns, much less felons. There has to be a line drawn that if you are convicted of X, Y, or Z, no guns. If that works an individual hardship or inequity on a few, it is still the best way to keep guns out of the hands of those who have committed public offenses.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

JohnGreat idea. This is a case where one size does not fit all.

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from John wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

Part of each conviction should include a decision of whether or not to ban them from owning weapons, too, rather than a blanket statement.

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from Tommy wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

Absolutely Phillip. Great thoughts.

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from jstreet wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

Whatever happened to rehabilitation and second chances?If the felonies are non-violent then I see no problem with them owning guns and hunting.Murderers, rapists, child molesters should never be out of prison anyway.Mandatory minimums for drug offenses and calling an 18 year old dating a 16 year old a child molester are just two example of why absolutes never work in law.Felons should be looked @ at least as violent vs non-violent when making decisions such as hunting rights and owning a gun.

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from Greg wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

Have an aquataince(sp?) who ran afoul of meth and is a convicted felon. Hunting and fishing is the only things that will keep him on the straight and narrow. Non violent offenders should be able to hunt with firearms. My opinion.

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from YooperJack wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

I'm on the outside looking in. I'm not a convicted felon so its easy for me to say no.However, there are a lot of people who have run afoul with the law in nonviolent circumstance. Maybe those could have their gun rights restored, at least for muzzle loaders. I have a hard time allowing violent felons ever being allowed to carry. Most court cases are pleaded down before the person is convicted. If a felon is convicted, its usually for something much less than the original charge. Most of these people are bad and should be locked up! Letting them out and restoring any gun rights to them is just going too far.

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from Phillip wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

The prohibition on armed felons is just and wise, but it also needs to be tempered.I would support an out-and-out ban on felons hunting, or carrying any deadly weapon (including bows) if there were also some mechanism in place to provide those who have truly rehabilitated to return to the field. A permanent prohibition does not always make sense and serves absolutely no rehabilitative purpose.Seems to me it would also be a great motivation, especially for younger convicts, to work toward rehabilitation in order to have those rights restored.And yes, there are a couple of exceptions to that. Murderers and rapists, for example, should never again be trusted (in my opinion, should never have the opportunity to be trusted... burn 'em or hang 'em).I know a handful of convicted felons who only differ from most of the general public in that they got caught (drug related activities). Several of their peers who were participating in the same activities have gone on to become lawyers, police officers, judges, and even politicians. The suggestion that, somehow the one who got the record is deficient to those who didn't get caught is ridiculous.Forever is a long time.

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from jack wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

Here in Ohio, no person is allowed to possess a "firearm or dangerous ordnance" who is under indictment for, or been convicted of, a "felony of violence". It is a lifetime ban, but can be appealed to a court. The ban against possession may be lifted under several conditions, chief among them that the felon has since led a law-abiding life and is considered (by references, interviews and other sources) to be likely to continue to do so.This certainly seems a reasonable way to address it. A wholesale ban against all felons is over the top.Ohio does not ask if you are a felon when you apply for a hunting license. They only ask for proof of age, residency, previous hunting license,(or proof of hunter safety course).Why don't they ask? Because felons are allowed to possess traps, bows, nets, fishing poles, spears, knives, etc.

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from Robert wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

I have a good friend who will be getting out of prison soon. We became friends while hunting, and given that he has lost most of his life due to the crime he committed, I have a hard time with the idea that we should take away hunting, too. I understand the rationale behind prohibiting felons from possessing firearms (even if not all are likely to be violent; but a case by case judgment would be too difficult). However, I see no reason why the use of archery should not be allowed. In the case of my friend, and in many others I would imagine, keeping him from hunting would only remove one of the incentives he has to "clean up" his life, and could actually make things a little worse.

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from Dan wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

Minnesota imposes a lifetime ban for possession of any firearm for a person convicted of a violent crime, which I think is a great policy. However, our DNR does not cross-check criminal records with firearm licenses, which allows the felons to hunt with shotgun/rifle/pistol (muzzleloaders are exempted). If the law is going to be passed and on the books, I think the states are obligated to run a criminal history check prior to issuing a license that by definition involves possession of a gun. Prime example of: "We don't need more laws, just enforce the ones we have"

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from Tommy wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

I have mixed feelings on this one as "felons" can sometimes become felons for non-violent reasons, but they are judged as likely to commit felonious crimes that could be violent later in life, after they have served their time.A violent offense, a felon who commits acts of cruelty, with or without a weapon, I would think should be absolved of guns for sure.But what about the dwi repeat offender, what about the charges that carry a felon label that are not violent?Could we not allow them to hunt by bow?At some point I think we have to stand behind the rehabilitation these people are supposed to be getting while incarcerated. Do we not? If not, then perhaps non-violent offenders are being left out a bit. And I realize there is not alot of faith in the penal system as far as rehab goes.So there appears to be a dilemna.I have known at least 2 people in my life that have felonies they ''earned'' early in life that were non-violent, and I would not fear them if they owned a gun, much less a bow.

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from Corey wrote 6 years 15 weeks ago

The only people who do not want convicted felons to have firearms are the weak who act hard but are really pussies. Are you scared that you can't treat people like crap and run your mouth and get away with it. Let everyone have a weapon and there will be less crime. You can call it a intricate system of checks and balances.

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from Phillip wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

SA...I don't think we disagree at all.You said, "Don't get me wrong, once a convicted felon has completed their sentence they should have most rights restored, firearms ownership rights for them needs to be looked at very carefully though."I am 100% with you there.

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from SilverArrow wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

PhillipI think we can agree to disagree. Being the victim of a crime is not a fair process as such it seems ludicrous to me to demand 'fairness' for convicted felons. Don't get me wrong, once a convicted felon has completed their sentence they should have most rights restored, firearms ownership rights for them needs to be looked at very carefully though.SA

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from Chad Martin wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

I guess the biggest problem was that the felon had guns taken from him in the past and the local agencies hadn't checked him for some time. Also our state will issue a hunting license to a felon with out a check of any type. This should be changed.

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from Phillip wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

SA,You said, "Still loss of 2A Rights in the immediate time period after a conviction makes reasonable sense."I definitely agree with you. I'm not even opposed to banning the hunting priviledge during the terms of a felony sentence (in general, only a third of the time is spent in prison, the remainder of the term consists of parole and probation).It's what happens AFTER the immediate time period that concerns me. As long as there is a FAIR process for restoration of those rights, then I support this type of prohibition. It's the idea of an irreconcilable, across-the-board, "lifetime" ban that doesn't fly with me.And Chad, I definitely feel for you and your situation, but from what you've described a ban on possession didn't make any difference to the tresspassing piece of dung that shot your father.What really sucks in your case (not that you need anyone to tell you this) is that, despite the aggravating factors of being a felon in possession of a firearm, tresspass and criminal negligence (shooting without being sure of the target), the DA failed to push for the maximum charges including manslaughter. This comes back to the old, but valid, argument that we don't need more laws... we need better and more consistent enforcement of the laws already in place.

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from Chad Martin wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

From experience I can say No, felons should not be allowed to hunt or own guns. On December 22, 2001 a convicted felon tresspassed onto family property and shot my dad while he was hunting. My dad was sitting on a fence row in the open to the other man. The shooter was carrying a .444 with a scope and told the local authorities he thought he saw a deer and shot. More than likely my dad probably motioned at him or even yelled at him. In Mississippi we have a 4 point law, so he obviously didn't care what he was shooting at. He had no problem with the fact he was tresspassing. He should have been convicted of manslaughter, but the local DA didn't push it. At his hearing for possessing a firearm he stated that he thought since he could buy a license it was ok to have a gun. Even sheriffs deputies had taken weapons from his home in the past. Our state allows felons to retain their right to own a firearm and hunt with an appeals process. I can see in some case where this could be ok, but in most instances a lot of these guys don't deserve the right to own a firearm ever again. The guy that shot my dad served 3 months and got out of jail. I get to spend the rest of my life without my best friend and the man that taught me everything about being a hunter.

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from SilverArrow wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

PhillipNo doubt our prisons are overflowing. No doubt that there is a percentage of people whe consider neither the law nor the consequences of breaking it before they act.Certainly we can rethink this issue; or the overarching causes of so much violence and crime in our society. Certainly we owe that to ourselves, each other and the generation just coming up.Incarcerating millions of citizens has proven financially disasterous. We may need to consider more carrots and fewer sticks. We also may need to consider different consequences, non-governmental approaches, and the list can go on.Still loss of 2A Rights in the immediate time period after a conviction makes reasonable sense. Should we also include stripping one of hunting priviledges? Some decent points on both sides of that arguement here!SA

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from Phillip wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

Yeah, SilverArrow... deterrent value is so real that our prisons are overcrowded, criminals are being released early, and others are being patted on the behind and turned loose because there's nowhere to house them... some deterrent.Most law-abiding people abide by the law because we've had instilled a proper sense of ethics... right from wrong. We don't rob banks or shoot one another because we know it's the wrong thing to do. Sure, the risk of penalties may play into the consideration, but when it does it's the immediate penalty... not those esoteric conceptual things like lifetime prohibitions or loss of rights.Even so, and fully aware of the possible recriminations, most of us still choose which laws to obey and which we reject at some level.

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from SilverArrow wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

PhillipBeg to differ, sir. The deterent value of such laws IS Real, I know it is to me, others I have spoken to along the same lines have said similar things and some of the other posts confirm as well. Get in a situation where something stupid could happen and cost you your Rights and your Freedom and you think twice (at least I do) whether it be a dumb-ass going road rage on me for a forgotten turn signal or the 'opportunity' to make a lot of money quasi-legally -- both of which have happened to me in the last 2 weeks -- I have resisted the temptation to take that next stupid step, even when dumb-ass pushed me. Too much at stake. Deterent value.SA

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from SilverArrow wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

What's to say but "Congratulations Bill!"?SA

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from Bill wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

John , thank you! I am so pleased to see you guys talking about this, not that I ever want to own a gun. But I know now people care and maybe you all will care when they try to stop guys like me from bow hunting. Sitting in a stand early in the morning gives a guy time to reflrct and dream, time to get down to who he realy is and what matters in life. Bow hunting has given me so much, I could never explain it but its done more for me than than anything I know. It gave me a safe place to be me and change. I was a real bad ass in prision. Truth is I was more scaired than any one I new. That fear made me dangerous. Even people I would die for were afraid of me. I was so afraid getting out of prision. I was so much worse that it scaired me bad, real bad. Looking back I dont know how I made it. But i know bow hunting had alot to do with putting me in touch with the real me. There is somting very powerfull in all of us, powerfull enough to make dreams come true. Powerfull enough to change are lives forever. Today Iv an awsome respect for the law, It alows us all to live as one. Im glad you guys can own guns and hunt, protect that right with everything you have. this country depends apon it. This year I meet the women of my draems, Killed the buck of my dreams, and last night i found out im going to be a father. You will know who we are going down the street with a camo baby buggy:) We will feal safe knowing guys like you own guns, ya the real crimenals do too, but atleast we dont condon it. NO GUNS for x-cons, Its a no brainer. HAPPY HUNTING!!!!!!!

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from Phillip wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

A couple of points to further confuse the discussion, after a disclaimer: I am not, nor have I ever been an attorney. I do not play one on TV, or on the Internet. What you do with this information is on your own shoulders.First, the federal law prohibits possession of firearms by convicted (not accused) felons, and certain classes of misdemeanor offenders.There exists through the BATF a process for restoration of firearm rights.. a process that is lengthy, but not really that bad. It SHOULD be a lengthy and complex process... I agree with the need to be careful in who gets their guns back and who does not.That said... it doesn't really matter.All 50 states have their own gun laws, which overule the federal law (except in the case of certain federal felonies as listed in the lawbooks). I don't know how much longer this will be the case, since States' Rights seems to be a disintegrating concept, but for now this is the case.Several states currently restore all rights to convicted felons after a period of time... some as soon as unconditional release (end of probation/parole) and some after a period of years. In some cases, like North Carolina, the right to possess long guns comes back on unconditional release, but the right to own handguns must be petitioned (it was automatic after seven or ten years, but they've since updated the law).Some states offer a path to restoration of rights, although in cases like California with an anti-gun Attorney General, no funding is provided to perform the process... in effect, nullifying the process. Even if someone were to appeal for a federal restoration of rights, the State does not automatically have to go along with it.Only a couple of states, Florida comes to mind, permanently ban firearm ownership by convicted felons with no course of restoration.Here's where it gets tricky.If a person is convicted in a state with fairly lenient restrictions (where rights are restored automatically on completion of the sentence), and moves to a more draconian state after completing his sentence, then the person is subject to the restrictions of the state where the conviction took place... not the possession laws of his/her new home state.However, that person can still be denied the right to purchase a firearm. Honestly, I'm not completely clear on this one... possession and purchase are not treated identically.It's a confusing mix of constitutional law, but it has been upheld.Switching gears now...Those who argue that the loss of rights should serve as a deterrent to crime should take a reality check. A little basic understanding of the human mind should indicate that deterrents, especially intangible ideas such as lifetime prohibitions, are pretty ineffective.Heck, most of us are perfectly aware of the cost of driving over the speed limit, few of us can afford to pay several hundred dollars for a ticket and insurance increases, yet it's an easy majority of people who do it anyway.How about an honest show of hands of people who've never driven a motor vehicle after a couple of drinks...? Yeah, we know, not only is there a big penalty for getting caught, we could actually kill someone.Point is, people do it because they don't think they're going to get caught. No one wants to pay the price, but the price isn't a consideration when you don't believe you're going to have to pay it in the first place.It's no different for someone who robs a convenience store or rapes a child... they don't believe they'll be caught. No punishment is a deterrent, because they don't believe they'll ever face punishment.It's not the fear of punishment, but the fear of capture that keeps most of us within the basic rules of the law. Combined with a few innate moral standards, we're a fairly law-abiding society.Law enforcement, and crime prevention in this country are pretty much misnomers... they're neither enforcement nor prevention. After you've broken the law, then the system kicks in. What we have is a punitive, reactionary system... which is why it doesn't work all that well. Criminals check in, do their "time", and check back out... often thinking they'll be smarter next time and not be caught.Recidivism is high because there's little-to-no consistency or equality in the way punishment is dispersed, and much of the punishment revolves around esoteric concepts of permanence (this is going on your permanent record). For younger folks particularly, telling someone that "this is going to affect you for the rest of your life" really has no appreciable meaning. It's only later, when you're living that life, that it starts to become real. By then it's too late.The ideal is to PREVENT crime, not just to punish it.

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from Dan wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

Federal law also prohibits gun possession for misdemeanor convictions such as domestic assault or, even without a conviction, being the respondent in an order for protection or restraining order. The problem for a lot of people is even if the State might allow gun possession, the Feds won't. That's not to say I disagree with either set of laws, only that a person better be aware of both if they have been convicted of a crime.

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from John R wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

QUOTE: "Wouldn't that be a slap in the freaking face.Get wrongly accused of a felony - beat the wrap. Answer no to get a gun - since you were wrongly accused in the frst place - then obtain a felony after all because of red tape."I wouldn't be surprised if that had already happened. I would also like to pay my respects to Bill, a convicted felon for his candor and personal experience/views.There is some truth in his statements especially wit hthe 3 fingers pointing back part. I've found that those that take a hard line stand on isues such as this usually have a personal agenda or an axe to grind.BTW concerning background checks; a career law enforcement buddy of mine regularly gets a decline on a NICS check. He is not the only LE person that has had this problem. This guy is straight as an arrow and no, there are no skeletons in his closet. It would appear that if the (NICS) system has glitches, then our opinions are moot.Last point; the reason the BATF form asks if one has been charged w/a felony is because one may be initially charged with a felony crime which oneu may have actually committed, but the DA and judge allowed one to plead to a misdemeanor version of that crime. Therefore one can commit a felony, but be convicted of only a misdemeanor. As usual BATF is going to the nth paranoid degree to regulate firearm ownership.

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from Bubba wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

SACan't think of how many times my feeble brain has been jarred back into some degree of sanity because of these very laws.Make no mistake, my history is very checkered at best, BUT, nothing I have ever done has put me in a position to even be charged with a felony!Bubba

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from SilverArrow wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

WowI thought going into this 'Cut and Dried!' No way should a convicted felon be allowed to hunt again. But I see a lot of very inciteful answers.Mind not completely changed however; I look at the tremendous deterent value for someone like me who values the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and the priviledge to hunt with them. No doubt myself and others like me have heard that voice in the ear when otherwise tempted to do something really stupid. I never did anything with drugs, don't drink to excess and never drove drunk because I know all the potential consequences. The idea of having to exist in a cage like an animal is scary enough but on top of it to be stripped of my 2A rights and my hunting priviledges and (as Bill mentioned above) to have a lot of problems finding good jobs; huge deterent.I will admit however that these posts have me thinking!SA

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from Tommy wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

Hey Bubba,Wouldn't that be a slap in the freaking face.Get wrongly accused of a felony - beat the wrap. Answer no to get a gun - since you were wrongly accused in the frst place - then obtain a felony after all because of red tape.Great.

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from Bubba wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

Yeah, Tommy, you could answer NO. BUT, if you have ever been "charged" with a felony, and the question is, "Have you ever been charged with a crime punishable by more than one year in jail (re: felony)?", and you answer NO, you have just falsified a government document, which is, guess what? A felony!At this point in time, no BATF forms must be filled out to purchase black powder firearms or archery equipment. I understand some states even restrict ownership of these materials by felons. Were I wrongly charged with a felony, I would fight first to have the record expunged, but even then, the answer to the question is YES. Ergo, no firearm!Then I would take up black powder and archery!Bubba

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from Tommy wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

Then that would open up the whole issue of those that "got off" for whatever reasons, getting guns when they should not.But that, I guess, is another can of beans altogether.

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from Tommy wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

I see what you are saying Bubba, and would like to see that changed.But would it really matter? I mean if you were not convicted; just charged with a felony, couldn't you just say no to the question from the start?I mean; is there a way those that run the screening can see if you were ever charged with a felony, even if you were never convicted?

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from Bubba wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

In my limited, past experience, I've been able to have the following question answered:If I invited a felon to go hunting and loan him a gun, am I breaking the law?According to the BATF, YES! If one provides a firearm to another who can't pass a background check, they, too, are committing a crime.Everyone keeps talking about felons and "convicted" felons. I reiterate again. Go get a copy of the BATF form. It clearly asks the question.... "Have you ever been "CHARGED" with a felony?" It says absolutely nothing about being convicted, only charged.With this in mind, if you must answer "yes" to that particular question, the form itself says that if the answer to any of questions 2 through 11 (?) is "yes", you cannot purchase a firearm!If you have ever been wrongly charged with a felony, regardless of your being acquitted or found "Not guilty", you have lost your "right" to "legally" purchase firearms in the US of A.Bubba

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from bill wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

I am a convicted felon, Its been over 10 years sence Iv commited a crime. Simply put , I stoped using drugs and alcohal. I still cant get a good job. That sucks but Im the one who commeted the crime. I can bow hunt and I love it. I hope this right is never taken from me. If it is I will deal with it. I shot guns growing up , never used one in a crime. Cant say I want to own one are hunt with one eather. Honistly Iv seen alot of gun hunters who need to take a gun safty corse. Some of you guys need to look in the merror. I did 12 years in a maxamum security prision, I know how to protect my self. Some of you guys scair the hell out of me in the woods. Also alot of people have commited crimes and did not get caught, most people pointing the finger have three pointing back at them. they scair me too. you know who you are dont act all inosent and bad ass. As for me I arrowed a nice buck this year, ill be in the stand in the morning. Hope the neabors dont shoot at each other like they did last year when one killed the others hunting dog. I slipped out of the woods like a gost, only messed up a days hunt. Pore dog died. These men were not felons. Duck hunter damn near shot me out of a tree too. Id like alittle more focus placed on safty. Commen sence should tell you felons should not own guns. Atleast not untill they have proven to society that they can. Personaly I like the law the way it is in Ill. I care about my family.

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from jstreet wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

Moeggs,This world isn't always black and white. Justice isn't metered out fairly either.Do the time for doing a crime? I've seen plently of poor folks go to the pokey while people who have money, connections and a good lawyer walk away (ever heard of O.J. Simpson?).If justice were truly blind I would agree with you. Unfortunately, justice is bought and paid for in many, many cases.

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from Sherrill Philip Neese wrote 6 years 19 weeks ago

I think that felons who have paid their debt to society should be allowed to go hunting with a firearm.Other than punishment for punishments sake, what purpose does the prohibition of felons hunting with firearms serve?- It does not make us any safer in the woods.- It's not going to stop felons from getting guns.- It does not stop felons from going into the woods.- It does not stop felons from going into the woods with firearms.- It's not going to stop people from killing other people.The law punishes people and provides no incentive for lawful actions by the rehabilitated felon. Also, like other forms of gun control the only ones who it affects are those who choose to obey the law.This is a major point.The only people that this will prevent from using a firearm are the rehabilitated felons who now obey the law and are trying to assimilate back into society. Do we, for a moment, think that some crazed whacko killer is going to stop his nefarious activities because we, as a society, say he can't have a license? I don't think so.

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from as moeggs wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

Bob, I know it sucks you cannot hunt with your son, but sorry, I do not wish tou luck. Your son not only made a mistake, he was a danger on the road and broke the law. Now it's time to pay the piper. Like I said in my other post, it's about accountibililty. Quit blaming the government and everybody else for the actions of our son. He's the only one ot blame.And Ben, how the hell does limiting a felon to the use of a singleshot gun suppose to act as a deterent. Thats like telling my kids, well if you act bad, i'll punish you just kind of. They will learn nothing about consequences by parenting like this. IF I tell them they're grounded for a week....I mean they're grounded for a week.

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from bob (from northern california) wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

no two cases are the same. people convicted of dui where someone was killed don't always lose their drivers license and are not prevented from buying another car or a bottle of booze. I think if the felon wants to regain his/her gun rights they need to pursue and make an effort to get that right back. then they need to try and register to vote again. It don't take any time to get into trouble but it can take a life time to get out of it. I say these very few words as a father whose son lost his rights for something stupid, it's been 10 years and we are going to try and get permission for him to hunt again (modern rifle/shotgun). were in california and have diane & barbra to fight, wish us luck. bottom line, I think they should be able to hunt and posess a "hunting firearm", nothing more, nothing less. the woods will be as safe as we are, I have never ever heard of a armed robbery of a hunting camp or another hunter, they are armed also and the robber does not want a fair fight. he uses the gun because he is the one who is the COWARD!

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from Ben wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

I think we agree on one thing; this is not a "one size fits all" case. I would leave it up to a judge to decide who may legally own a firearm. Perhaps there could even be restrictions, like only allowing single shot firearms or something like that.

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from as moeggs wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

I would add to my above post the following: I don't think a person convicted of a felony should be banned for life from owning or possessing a firearm, but it should 5-10 years based on the crime. A serious felony such as homicide, manslaughter, child abuse, felony assault and battery, forget it. Touch a gun and your up sheet creek. And to say people don't think about the consequenced prior to committing a felony is a bunch of sheet. Seems the consequences need to be more severe then. When I've been drinking i sure and the hell think about what could happen if i get behind the wheel. You should too!

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

There is a difference between owning, or purchasing, a firearm verses using one to hunt with.Enforcing a law not allowing a convicted felon to purchase a gun from a FFL dealer is reasonable under a backround check, but if I invite a friend over for some grouse shooting and lend him one of my guns am I now breaking the law?This person doesn't own the gun, he is just hunting with it.

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from Dmac wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

Does anyone know the law on this in Illinois? I've heard that 20 years after your last felony conviction you can own firearms again. I've even asked the local police departments but of course they don't have a clue. I was convicted of a non-violent felony at least 18 years ago(we all make stupid mistakes on the road to maturity). I love the outdoors and grew up hunting and fishing.To take hunting away from me for the rest of my life seems like excessive punishment for one juvenile mistake.

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from John R wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

Unfortunately Ken Lay had he lived, would possibly have had enough money to throw around (i.e. buy a big ranch, some local influence) and hunt anyway.In a perfect world the law is supposed to be applied equitably. We all know that this is not a perfect world. Some people will always have the means to find a way around their punishment (i.e. no guns or hunting) while those without the means have to suffer through their punishment. I don't mean to sound cynical or contrary, but I have observed it myself. Well I've beat that horse enough so I'll retire back into the shadows. There has been some good food for thought posted about this topic. Kudos to all.

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from John E. Law wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

There are valid arguments on both sides, but I pretty much fall into the "if you can't to the time, don't do the crime" category. A white collar crime is still a crime. Thousands of innocent people lost their retirement savings because of Ken Lay's criminal activity while running Enron. Though he is now deceased, had he lived, he would have retired (assuming he ever got out of prison) with millions in the bank. Would such a person deserve to kick back on a ranch in Utah hunting Mule Deer while his former 68 year old employee is a greeter at Wal-Mart because he'll have to work the rest of his life?

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from Bubba wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

At some point, a line must be drawn in the dirt with the words, "Don't step over that line!"I understand that an individual can become a felon without being violent! I have known some violent people that never became felons!My problem with the "felon" thing is, the question on the paperwork askes, "Have you ever been CHARGED....", not "Have you ever been CONVICTED....."!According to the BATF "paperwork" you must fill out to purchase a firearm, even if you were absolved of any wrongdoing, being CHARGED with a felony precludes your firearm purchase!Our criminal justice system is far from perfect. No criminal justice system will EVER be perfect, but you have to draw a line somewhere!Bubba

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from John R wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

In reference to the above post; habitual felons maybe, and the punishment meted for the crime should in itself be deterrent enough (i.e. jail time & etc.). I would hazard a guess that at the moment of the crime, deterrent is the last thing on a miscreant's mind. A lifetime ban on hunting or shooting for all but the most serious crimes is IMHO tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment.What makes this issue so difficult is the fact that it involves the 2nd Amendment of the Bill of Rights. How do you tell someone who has paid his debt to society, who's crime (a minor felony) was non-violent, and who has shown true change in his/her life, that we will return to you this constitutional right and that constitutional right, but not this particular right.The problem is that we're great in creating and passing laws, but I opine that we're not very good at thinking them through. A great example of this is the infamous Lautenberg Amendment (Sp?).

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from as moeggs wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

Well, someone who has multiple drunk driving arrests, and may face a felony if they get arrested again, should think about if the crime they are about to commit is worth it. It's all about nipping the problem in the budd before it becomes a problem. AKA a DETERENT. Pay your child support, don't drink and drive, quit writing bad checks, and take responsiblity for your actions jack assess! I say keep the felons out of the field!

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from Visitor wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

I think there is a way to solve to problem with non violent offenders and that would be to use the ban from guns as an insentive to their rehabilitation. Say give them ten years without infraction of another felony and to never test positive for drugs. As for the violent offenders, they are out of luck.

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from PB wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

I think convicted felons should have a way to get their gun-owner rights back nationwide. IE: so many years without an infraction, letters of reference or something like that. Common sense would go a long ways in making this just and fair. Eliminating their right FOREVER isn't the way it should be 100% of the time.

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from Greg wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

I agree with the above post and I do believe there is a process for convicted felons to re-establish thier gun rights. Maybe someone will know more about that?

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from Visitor wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

This is a subject that should be adressed in every state at the state level. Let me say to preface my comments that I am a strong law and order guy.One has to understand a couple of key points about this issue.Point one is there are crimes that are non-violent felonies and there are violent felony crimes. If a crime is a felony (e.g. felony fraud) that does not involve a firearm offense, or violence, what's the point!Point two is a question of common sesnse and decency to wit; when is a person's debt finally paid off. If a person has paid their debt to society, then they should have all their rights returned. When you pay off your home mortgage, the house is yours. The bank cannot return and tell you you can't install a patio in your back yard. I believe most states have a process whereby a convicted felon can petition the governor for full reinstatement of his/her rights including the right of firearm ownership. although I think Dan above forgot to take his paranoia pills, he did make a point that the process will ultimately be in the hands of a judge or sheriff who may be prejudiced to deny the right of firearm possession. Unless you are politically connected or have money to buy influence, someone trying to have their rights restored may find the cards stacked against them.Last point is where is the incentives in our "system"? We are quick to punish, but what incentive is there for someone to improve oneself? Except for the violent offenders (murderers, rapists, etc)a debt paid should be paid, period.

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from Dan wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

The problem with that is that you then leave the decision up to an individual judge, who may not want anyone to have guns, much less felons. There has to be a line drawn that if you are convicted of X, Y, or Z, no guns. If that works an individual hardship or inequity on a few, it is still the best way to keep guns out of the hands of those who have committed public offenses.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

JohnGreat idea. This is a case where one size does not fit all.

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from John wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

Part of each conviction should include a decision of whether or not to ban them from owning weapons, too, rather than a blanket statement.

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from Tommy wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

Absolutely Phillip. Great thoughts.

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from jstreet wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

Whatever happened to rehabilitation and second chances?If the felonies are non-violent then I see no problem with them owning guns and hunting.Murderers, rapists, child molesters should never be out of prison anyway.Mandatory minimums for drug offenses and calling an 18 year old dating a 16 year old a child molester are just two example of why absolutes never work in law.Felons should be looked @ at least as violent vs non-violent when making decisions such as hunting rights and owning a gun.

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from Greg wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

Have an aquataince(sp?) who ran afoul of meth and is a convicted felon. Hunting and fishing is the only things that will keep him on the straight and narrow. Non violent offenders should be able to hunt with firearms. My opinion.

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from YooperJack wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

I'm on the outside looking in. I'm not a convicted felon so its easy for me to say no.However, there are a lot of people who have run afoul with the law in nonviolent circumstance. Maybe those could have their gun rights restored, at least for muzzle loaders. I have a hard time allowing violent felons ever being allowed to carry. Most court cases are pleaded down before the person is convicted. If a felon is convicted, its usually for something much less than the original charge. Most of these people are bad and should be locked up! Letting them out and restoring any gun rights to them is just going too far.

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from Phillip wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

The prohibition on armed felons is just and wise, but it also needs to be tempered.I would support an out-and-out ban on felons hunting, or carrying any deadly weapon (including bows) if there were also some mechanism in place to provide those who have truly rehabilitated to return to the field. A permanent prohibition does not always make sense and serves absolutely no rehabilitative purpose.Seems to me it would also be a great motivation, especially for younger convicts, to work toward rehabilitation in order to have those rights restored.And yes, there are a couple of exceptions to that. Murderers and rapists, for example, should never again be trusted (in my opinion, should never have the opportunity to be trusted... burn 'em or hang 'em).I know a handful of convicted felons who only differ from most of the general public in that they got caught (drug related activities). Several of their peers who were participating in the same activities have gone on to become lawyers, police officers, judges, and even politicians. The suggestion that, somehow the one who got the record is deficient to those who didn't get caught is ridiculous.Forever is a long time.

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from jack wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

Here in Ohio, no person is allowed to possess a "firearm or dangerous ordnance" who is under indictment for, or been convicted of, a "felony of violence". It is a lifetime ban, but can be appealed to a court. The ban against possession may be lifted under several conditions, chief among them that the felon has since led a law-abiding life and is considered (by references, interviews and other sources) to be likely to continue to do so.This certainly seems a reasonable way to address it. A wholesale ban against all felons is over the top.Ohio does not ask if you are a felon when you apply for a hunting license. They only ask for proof of age, residency, previous hunting license,(or proof of hunter safety course).Why don't they ask? Because felons are allowed to possess traps, bows, nets, fishing poles, spears, knives, etc.

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from Robert wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

I have a good friend who will be getting out of prison soon. We became friends while hunting, and given that he has lost most of his life due to the crime he committed, I have a hard time with the idea that we should take away hunting, too. I understand the rationale behind prohibiting felons from possessing firearms (even if not all are likely to be violent; but a case by case judgment would be too difficult). However, I see no reason why the use of archery should not be allowed. In the case of my friend, and in many others I would imagine, keeping him from hunting would only remove one of the incentives he has to "clean up" his life, and could actually make things a little worse.

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from Dan wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

Minnesota imposes a lifetime ban for possession of any firearm for a person convicted of a violent crime, which I think is a great policy. However, our DNR does not cross-check criminal records with firearm licenses, which allows the felons to hunt with shotgun/rifle/pistol (muzzleloaders are exempted). If the law is going to be passed and on the books, I think the states are obligated to run a criminal history check prior to issuing a license that by definition involves possession of a gun. Prime example of: "We don't need more laws, just enforce the ones we have"

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from Tommy wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

I have mixed feelings on this one as "felons" can sometimes become felons for non-violent reasons, but they are judged as likely to commit felonious crimes that could be violent later in life, after they have served their time.A violent offense, a felon who commits acts of cruelty, with or without a weapon, I would think should be absolved of guns for sure.But what about the dwi repeat offender, what about the charges that carry a felon label that are not violent?Could we not allow them to hunt by bow?At some point I think we have to stand behind the rehabilitation these people are supposed to be getting while incarcerated. Do we not? If not, then perhaps non-violent offenders are being left out a bit. And I realize there is not alot of faith in the penal system as far as rehab goes.So there appears to be a dilemna.I have known at least 2 people in my life that have felonies they ''earned'' early in life that were non-violent, and I would not fear them if they owned a gun, much less a bow.

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