Would you rather have felons own guns or vote?

by David Safier

I've never understood why people who have served their time shouldn't be able to vote. I take that back. I understand exactly why they aren't allowed to vote. It's just one more instance Republican-instigated voter suppression.

But you know, I have no trouble understanding why felons shouldn't own guns. The likelihood they'll use them impulsively or in the purposeful commission of another crime is too great.

But felons can legally own guns these days, even though federal law says they can't. Thank the good people crazies at the NRA.

While previously a small number of felons were able to reclaim their gun rights, the process became commonplace in many states in the late 1980s, after Congress started allowing state laws to dictate these reinstatements — part of an overhaul of federal gun laws orchestrated by the National Rifle Association. The restoration movement has gathered force in recent years, as gun rights advocates have sought to capitalize on the 2008 Supreme Court ruling that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to bear arms.

This gradual pulling back of what many Americans have unquestioningly assumed was a blanket prohibition has drawn relatively little public notice. Indeed, state law enforcement agencies have scant information, if any, on which felons are getting their gun rights back, let alone how many have gone on to commit new crimes.

I could cite examples from the NY Times article about dangers posed by felons with guns, but why bother? It takes little imagination to know the kinds of things that are likely to happen.