Should Felons Not Have the Right to Bear Arms?


Amy Coney Barrett thinks the Constitution may not allow for such a restriction, and she makes a good point.

Should there be some remedy for people who have armed robbery or murder convictions? Probably. But, how about the guy who became a felon for check fraud, mail fraud, or some nonviolent action like that?

Should they really not have the right to defend themselves?

According to Amy Coney Barrett, the 2nd Amendment may not allow for this categorical restriction for all felons.

That categorical ban on gun ownership by people with felony records, a feature of both Wisconsin and federal law, cannot be reconciled with the Second Amendment, Supreme Court contender Amy Coney Barrett concluded in a 37-page dissent from a 2019 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. Barrett's thorough and scholarly opinion marks her as a judge committed to applying constitutional provisions in light of their historical background and original public meaning.

Barrett's interpretation of the Constitution has been described as one of originalism, meaning that she tends to frame her interpretation of it more in line with the original interpretation of the authors at the time it was ratified.

History is consistent with common sense: it demonstrates that legislatures have the power to prohibit dangerous people from possessing guns. But that power extends only to people who are dangerous. Founding-era legislatures did not strip felons of the right to bear arms simply because of their status as felons. Nor have the parties introduced any evidence that founding-era legislatures imposed virtue-based restrictions on the right; such restrictions applied to civic rights like voting and jury service, not to individual rights like the right to possess a gun. In 1791—and for well more than a century afterward—legislatures disqualified categories of people from the right to bear arms only when they judged that doing so was necessary to protect the public safety.

Read more at Reason.com

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40 thoughts on “Should Felons Not Have the Right to Bear Arms?”

  1. in my opinion I do not think those who have committed crimes should not be allowed to have guns, endangering the public over & over again is not acceptable placing people /Americans in harms way knowingly should not be practiced by our publicly paid officials /American elected officials a Human being is a human being the only thing that should be separated by colors is your laundry . Much too often white Americans have been discriminated against & or being left out only the Black & brown community is thought of you never hear of the color white populace being mentioned or thought of they have always been targeted & this needs to be addressed.

    1. “I do not think those who have committed crimes should not be allowed to have guns”??? So, ALL CRIMES, should carry a ‘not allowed to own firearms’?? In some states, having a FRONT YARD VEGGIE GARDEN is a CRIME. In some states, COLLECTING RAIN WATER on your own property is a CRIME. The list of RIDICULOUS ‘crimes’ is WAY too long to list here. So, you want anyone who has ‘committed a crime’ to be NOT allowed to bear arms?

      Did you know that YOU were a ‘criminal’?? Do a search (NOT via HEAVILY CENSORED google or bing) for, something like (there are many ways to word your search), ‘list of crimes Americans unknowingly commit every day’. And ‘list of dumb crime statutes’. You get the idea. You will be shocked to find out that YOU are a ‘criminal’!

      1. Really, that’s a pretty stupid comment to make. Not every crime carries the same punishment , but any major crime , should , YES, prohibit that individual from owning a gun. Typical liberal comment to take a statement out of context and twist it to satisfy their needs or ideology. And to think , you can vote!

        1. I’m with you Big Mike, Dawnie R. took the statement out of context and away from the TOPIC. I understand where he is coming from but I never used a GUN to grow my vegie garden and I never used a gun to fill my rain barrel with water. It was taken out of context any way you want to look at it.

        2. “Big Mike says:
          September 26, 2020 at 9:03 pm

          … any major crime , should , YES, prohibit that individual from owning a gun. …”

          actually, i disagree. regardless as to whatever kind of crime a person commits, **IF** they have “paid their debt to society,” once they are out, they should have their freedoms/rights restored. the real problem here is, not whether to restore a felon’s rights, but the fact that we no longer have a judicial system. if the USA had a real “judicial” system (like it used to have) rather than a “legal” system (like it currently has), this problem would be non-existent. a “judicial” system would administer proper punishment to the criminal in favor of the victims NOT the criminals. in other words, violent criminals would either be put away for life or executed. end of problem.

          furthermore, from what i can remember, a “felony” used to be restricted to people who committed “federal/violent” crimes which required the attention of the FBI. these are people who would face execution or never be allowed out of jail for their crimes. now, however, you practically can’t jaywalk without being categorized as a felon (sarcasm here to illustrate the point). so, over time, being a “felon” has lost the seriousness it once had. and, by the way, out of full disclosure, i have NEVER been arrested nor has any close friend or family member, so my opinion is NOT shaded due to my own experiences with the legal system.

          so, to summarize, we need to:
          1. return to a judicial system (and forsake the current “legal” system)
          2. make criminals pay the “FULL” time for their crimes
          3. convict ALL criminals regardless of their status/wealth/race/creed/etc… in life (ie, the clintons, obamas, pelosi, schumer, soros’, gates, fauci, bidens, harris, waters, etc….) make make them face the appropriate penalties for their crimes.

    2. You are missing the point , this isn’t about armed robbers , killers or anyone of violence … this is about anyone who has a non violent felony on their record being turned into a second class citizen un Constitutionally by the Government …

    3. Amy. Did you realize that 2/3 of our congress has been convicted or charged with capital crimes and they have lost nothing. As a matter of fact they have voted themselves immunity from legal rules they enact. These crimes include vehicular manslaughter, bank fraud, postal fraud, tax fraud, dui, sexual assault, rape, perjury, election fraud, libel, slander, theft and adultery. More charges and all of them are defended by tax dollars and high paid lawyers.

  2. I do believe that felonies involving a violent crime, should be restricted in their abilities to obtain any weapon of self defense! However, a non-violent felony w/NO weapon involved should not qualify for this restriction! It that individual has paid their debt to society as far as time and any restitution or fines as required by law, then restoration of the ability to own a firearm, and to vote etc should be restored.

  3. I’m a convicted felon, I completed my sentence to the tee, I don’t think being a felon should be a life sentence, I own my own business, I’m active in my community, the DEA agent who arrested me, says that in his opinion, I should have never been charged, but he couldn’t say that then, surprisingly we have become good friends, something needs to be done

  4. That depends what the felony crime was. The same goes for voting! Considering that a ‘felony’ goes from very serious/hardcore crimes right down to the RIDICULOUS, and to BLANKETLY (‘one size fits ALL’) say ‘NO felons should be allowed to bear arms or vote’ is just WRONG!!! VERY SPECIFIC Felony Crimes should carry ‘not allowed to bear arms’ and ‘not allowed to vote’. People should REALLY look into some of the RIDICULOUS things that are Felony Crimes in this country; the list is too long to go into here.

    But this is typical for government to have ‘ONE SIZE FITS ALL’ so-called ‘laws’!! A good example is the Sex Offender Registry. There are some people who should NOT be on there! Like teens who are dating/having sex where one is a ‘minor’ (15/16) and the other is JUST PAST being a minor. A parent ‘freaks out’ that their kid is having sex and then has the boyfriend, who is just 2-3 years older, arrested and charged with ‘having sex with a minor’ and he ends up on the sex offender list. This, TOO, is RIDICULOUS and WRONG!!! ‘One Size Fits ALL’!

    1. As a felon and as a tax payer, I believe that felons should have the right to bear arms..Except for those that have committed a violent crime such as murder, rape, robbery or kidnapping etc.
      Not all felons are violent/crazy people as some on here seem to think. Myself I committed a B&E at the age of 19. I am now 42 and have not committed a crime since. There are many non felons that have committed crimes and have not been caught, so should these people be allowed to own guns because they have not been caught and convicted?
      People make mistakes in their lives, they make bad choices, but i do not belive they should have to pay for it their entire life, except those i mentioned above.

  5. Thank God he r re is someone with common sense. I can support a Supreme Court Justice who applies the constitution fairly.

  6. I agree with the judge completely. Myself and millions of other Americans have felony convictions for Marijuana and other than that have clean records. For 42 years this has hung on my neck like many from the 60-70s and its wrong now that in many states it legal and congress is even looking at making it legal all together. I still hunt but worry some one will get mad and turn me in just for fun and then I am looking at my life ending with me in prison as I am 71 years old.

  7. I believe felons of any crime ,provided enough time has passed as a good citizen,should definitely be allowed to possess firearms and not be prohibited from hunting or protecting their families.Our forefathers would have never thought of taking away the 2A protections of these or any other repentant sinner.I know many felons these days and I can guarantee that the vast majority are now trustworthy,standup citizens.Give their 2A protections back.

  8. I need to quote from the article, “Barrett’s interpretation of the Constitution has been described as one of originalism, meaning that she tends to frame her interpretation of it more in line with the original interpretation of the authors at the time it was ratified.” If in fact she is an “originalist”…then how can she defend a woman’s right to have rights when the Constitution specifically says, “All MEN are created equal…” ..as well as other references to “men”…never “woman”…. Change – interpretation, times, society – understanding, – REinterpretation!!! Time and experience, socail change and reevaluation – CHANGE! Strict originalist???? Probably not!!

    Laurie

    .

  9. Why not ? Recidivism reclaims the following:A U.S. Sentencing Commission report on recidivism among federal prisoners, released on January 24, 2019, showed that nearly 64% of prisoners who had been convicted of violent offenses were arrested within eight years compared with about 40% of those convicted of nonviolent offenses.
    I think after serving their sentence, which should include parole, and a one r two year period after to see if they don’t revert to crime, I , too, believe that every single right a citizen has should be returned to them. I see no reason why the following can’t apply to them.
    https://www.britannica.com/topic/Baumes-Laws
    Baumes Laws, several statutes of the criminal code of New York state, U.S., enacted on July 1, 1926—most notably, one requiring mandatory life imprisonment for persons convicted of a fourth felony. A “three-time loser” was thus one who had thrice been convicted of a felony and faced life imprisonment if convicted again.

  10. Considering our current legal system any felony probably must disqualify from owning weapons. Notice I said “weapons,” not firearms. There are many deadly weapons being carried by felons other than firearms. Knifes, clubs of various sorts, and so on. Just read about crimes committed in Europe where gun possession has been has been severely restricted for years.
    And for this outlook to be effective the part about possession of firearm enhancement of crimes by those in possession of firearms MUST always be enforced!! This is now VERY frequently dropped by prosecutors when plea deal arrangements are made.

    In short if the criminal justice system continues to make plead “deals” with career criminals NO one committed of a serious crime should be allowed to possess a “weapon!”

  11. Another and MORE important consideration is voting rights!

    NO ONE with a felony conviction should be allowed to vote in ANY election! This being allowed has given us very poor “public servants” at all levels!

  12. It DOES depend upon the nature of the so-called “Felony”. It is far too easy to be “convicted” of a “felony” for what most would consider innocuous actions. The “application” of many “felonies” are totally Frivolous and even arbitrary!

  13. It depends on the felony, if it didn’t involve murder or armed robbery. And, if after 10 years of NO arrests. Everyone, should be given a 2nd chance. As long as the crime committed was none violent and proven to have stayed on the right side of the law for atleast decade.

  14. I don’t commit crimes because I never want my freedoms taken away. It is a deterrent to me that if I choose to break the law there will be consequences that I don’t want to live with I’m not the smartest person in the world so I’m sure that many people realize this. Maybe we should start teaching this in school instead of the garbage the left has been sneaking into curriculums. Crime has consequences that you might not want to live with. Maybe teaching kids this at a young age might stop some of this unacceptable behavior.

  15. I think it should have a time limit on felony. I was charged with possession with intent of marijuana. 28 grams. POT!!!!! In 1999. I haven’t even had a speeding ticket since that day.. I was young and I made a mistake. I done what was ask of me and the law says that it’s a violent crime. Now in 2020 it’s legal to have so much pot. I don’t even smoke it but it’s a violent crime and still on my record. It’s bullshit after 21 years and it’s still on me. Can’t take my boys hunting or anything and it has cost me a few nuclear power plant jobs as well!!!!!

  16. If you get arrested on a felony and are found guilty in superior court. You should lose your right to own a weapon. Now if this were a new law I could see people getting upset; but this has been the law of the land for who knows how long. Now you would think that this law would keep criminals from acquiring guns. It doesn’t and too pass another law that is to keep guns out of criminals hands just goes to show how simple minded people really are.

  17. I’m that person. Convicted of a felony 25 years ago which at the time I really didn’t know was a felony. Because I’m a professional I had to plead guilty to a banking crime that I should have known about. At my sentencing the federal prosecutor told the judge that I needed no rehabilitation. The judge said “He pleaded guilty so I have to sentence him”. I received a $50 fine and 2 years prison, probated. During the 2 years probation time I could neither vote or own a gun. After 2 years my voting rights were restored but my gun rights remain “taken away”. Having taken my voting rights away for 2 years was the worst but it simply isn’t right that I be restricted at all. I served my time, paid my debt and lead an exemplary life. My crime was as non violent as could be, when does the punishment end.

  18. people who have criminal records should not have guns , especially those who murdered, shot someone or those who killed some one with a knife , guns were not made for killing people, they were made for hunting for food decades ago , & protection such as for the military & law enforcement , not for gang bangers, or terrorists , .

  19. At what point have you payed your”dept to society”.you are sentenced to be rehabilitated.so for all intensive purpose if you are sentenced to a felony you are going to serve a life sentence? After a certain amount of time with no law enforcement contact you “should”be able to get your life rights back.

  20. I agree. People that were convicted of a non-violent crime and their families are currently punished forever by taking away their right to protect themselves. This should not be the case. Their 2nd amendment rights should be restored once they have completed their sentence so that they and their families are able to protect themselves.