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.


  1. I am not overly concerned about felons voting. If someone were to file an initiative in Arizona granting the right to vote to felons I would sign such an initiative. Got initiative?

    The problem with guns or voting isn’t so much the use of the power but the misuse. The best way to reduce misuse of either is to educate We The People.

    As Uncle Ben said “With great power comes great responsibility”


  2. Try though I might, I can’t resist replying with a question. Thane, do you believe allowing people who have served their time for crimes to vote will result in “planer” or “wholesale robbery”?

  3. The power to plunder via voting is greater than that of gun ownership. A single person with a gun is hard pressed to rob but one person or business at a time for which punishment is readily inflicted. Politics makes possible the wholesale robbery of thousands to benefit the politically favored.