I got a nice email today from a reader.
I read your blog regularly. I’d like your thoughts on trying to pass legislation for a mandatory 5 year prison sentence for the charge of convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
I’d like to see it with no pleading out or dropping the charge for a plea to other crime/charge. Basically, if your a felon and you’re in possession of a firearm, guaranteed 5 years in the big house…
Do you think this would get traction in the legislature? Especially with the shooting of the soccer player in his hotel room by a felon in possession of a firearm in the next room.
I’m tired of seeing in the police blotter of my local Goldsboro paper, felons getting probation for this charge or it being dropped completely for a plea deal. Let me know.
Oh, keep up the good work that your doing.
Reader *G* (Name redacted for privacy)
I feel your pain, Reader *G*. This is the response I sent him.
Thanks for your kind words.
Here’s the problem. There already is a law that mandates 5 years, no parole, for Felon in Possession. It’s a Federal law. And it’s not really that common to see it prosecuted.
I have a couple of problems with this approach. If we are going to make it a crime for people convicted of most felonies (which are defined at the Federal level as “a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year”) we should set and enforce strict penalties. I am tired of it being dropped as plea bargains and treated as a fairly minor crime. If we plan on continuing to treat convicted people as criminals for the rest of their lives, then we should set and maintain extremely strict punishments.
Here’s the issue with that. I don’t think we should continue to punish criminals beyond the term of their sentence. If someone has been ruled “safe enough to release into the public,” then we should release them entirely. Let them vote, buy guns, serve on juries, whatever they like. I am very concerned that we keep punishing people far beyond the term for which they were sentenced. We should look very seriously into some sort of legal “rehabilitation” to steal a Soviet word and use it. We need a mechanism where we look at former criminals and restore full citizenship rights to as many of them as we can. Either that, or we need to set strict time limits on how long convicts can have their citizenship rights suspended.
I am not a fan of “background checks” for possession or carry of a firearm. I resent the fact that I have to prove my fitness to exercise a fundamental Constitutional right. I am not in jail, nor prison, nor in a mental ward. By definition I am a free man. I should not have to seek a permit from the government to speak, print a newspaper, go to church, buy or carry a gun, or any other civil right. But we have a system where it is considered normal that someone will call the FBI to make sure I’m not a criminal or a crazy before I buy a gun. That’s wrong.
Any person who cannot be trusted with a gun cannot be trusted without a custodian. If he cannot be trusted with a gun, he cannot be trusted with a kitchen knife, gasoline, matches, or the contents of the cupboard under the sink. All those items are dangerous yet freely available to anyone who wants to buy them without a background check or really, questions of any kind. And no one bats an eye. A person released from prison for the worst possible violent crimes can go down to a car dealership, hand them money, and climb into a supercharged sportscar and blast down the highway at triple digit speeds and at no time will anyone check his criminal history. He’s far more dangerous doing something like that than mere possession of a firearm. Yet only my gun excites any consternation? That’s insane.
We need to, as best we can, determine who is a dangerous person and lock them up. If they commit crimes, put them in prison. If they are just insane, put them in mental hospitals. And we need to leave everyone else alone.
I hope that you listen to my podcast, Gunblog VarietyCast. I do a Felons Behaving Badly segment each week during the podcast, same as I do on the blog. This coming podcast, Episode 14, I will be talking about the killing of Nathan Clark, the 13 year old soccer player just last week. I will have some very pointed things to say about a “justice” system that frees a man who has 28 felony convictions.
I hope you’ll check it out.
We need to reform our criminal justice system. We treat criminals too leniently which makes more honest citizens into victims. We treat honest citizens like possible criminals because we aren’t willing to lock up the dangerous people permanently. And the resulting carnage is used by the anti-liberty forces to take away all of our rights.