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April 5, 2007

Florida restoring ex-felon rights

As discussed in this AP article, there has been a major criminal justice development that could impact future political fortunes in a historic swing state: Florida today has acted to allow felons to more easily get their civil rights back after they serve their sentences.  Here are more details:

Republican Gov. Charlie Crist pushed the change, saying the rights to vote, hold office and serve on a jury were fundamental to being part of a democratic society.  With 3-1 vote by Crist and the other members of the state's clemency board, state officials will automatically begin the restoration process for felons once they complete their sentences.  Until Thursday, many had to go before the clemency board for a hearing, which only happens a few times a year and has a large backlog of people waiting to be heard....

"When somebody has paid their debt to society, it is paid in full," said Crist. "There's a time to move on, a time to give them an opportunity to have redemption, to have a chance to become productive citizens again."

Bowing to concerns from other board members about going too easy on dangerous criminals, the Crist plan was a compromise. The 20 percent of felons finishing their sentence who have committed any one of a number of serious crimes will still need the clemency board to sign off on their case to get their rights back.  Those who have committed the worst crimes, such as murder or attempted murder, will still have to get on a waiting list to go before the clemency board for a hearing....

But Crist said the process for restoring civil rights was a vestige of a time that was better left in the past - and that he didn't want Florida to be among a minority of states still clinging to it.  "Like Florida, many Southern states struggled through the Jim Crow era, resisting calls to change laws, continuing to deny the restoration of civil rights," Crist said. "Since then, most states have realized the historical underpinning for not repealing these unjust, unfair laws.  It is time for Florida to make the same realization and leave the ranks of this offensive minority," Crist said. "Justice delayed, is justice denied. And people are waiting."...

The issue of voting rights drew attention after the disputed 2000 presidential election, when many non-convicts were purged from voter rolls because the state's felons database was plagued with errors.  Crist said during his campaign for governor last year that he was struck as he asked people to vote for him how many of them replied that they weren't allowed to....

UPDATE:  Here is additional coverage from the New York Times.

April 5, 2007 at 06:26 PM | Permalink

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Comments

What about being allowed to sit on a jury? That's the most important right, practically speaking. It pisses me off that nobody who has been railroaded by a prosecutor and convited of a felony will ever be allowed to sit on a jury. Only people who've never been in trouble will sit in judgment of a defendant in trouble. Fundamentally unfair, and one of the biggest homefield advantages the prosecution has.

Posted by: Bruce | Apr 11, 2007 8:53:27 PM

Does this mean that all of the rights are given back? Meaning, can "ex felons" now own guns and other weapons?

Posted by: Nicki | May 6, 2007 11:28:35 PM

I am a convicted felon that has had his rights restored all except the right to bear fire arms. What do I have to do to get this right restored. I am an ex police officer and would love to teach firearms classes again.

Posted by: john | May 7, 2007 7:12:55 PM

I am a convicted felon of 7 years ago. If my civil rights are restored, do I still mark convicted of a felony on my applications and will it still be on my record when the employers do background checks?

Posted by: | Jun 18, 2007 8:42:25 AM

I am a 25 year old convicted felon i was convicted in 2000 at age 17 of burglary to an occupied dwelling and served 25 months in prison for my crimes. I am trying to get my rights restored so i can vote and bare arms like any other productive citizen. What do i need to do?

Posted by: Joseph Barnett | Aug 4, 2007 2:14:45 PM

I was convicted of a felony last year. What must I do to know I have my rights restored automaticly? Do I still have to file an application or are they restored automaticly? Do I still mark convicted of a felony on my applications and will it still be on my record when the employers do background checks?

Posted by: Chad | Nov 6, 2007 3:29:23 PM

My husband is an ex-felon. He spent his time in a State Prison in Colorado. We now live in Nevada. He has been out of prison now for over 23 years, with no incidents. He is also a Vietnam Veteran. My questions are:
1) In the State of Nevada, as an ex-felon, can he vote?
2) In Nevada, as an ex-felon, can he serve on Jury Duty?
(For a man who has done great since released from prison, and who also served our Country, if your answers are NO to each of my questions, HOW CAN HE RE-INSTATE HIS RIGHTS SINCE WE NOW LIVE IN NEVADA?)
Thank-You !

Posted by: Alice | Mar 3, 2008 9:17:10 PM

There are severe disparges in the American criminal justice system that reduce felons to equivalent of dog poo. In florida, for example over 156 laws that used to be misdemeanors were reclassified as 3rd degree felonies. And it doesn't stop there. Over 125 civil laws were reclassified to criminal 3rd degree felony status. This is alarming to say the least. It appears Florida is out to imprison as many people as they can get. It's good for the economy they say behind closed doors.

Indeed it is so easy to become a felon in Florida. One person we interviewed sold a computer on Ebay. The buyer paid with a counterfeit check unbeknownst to the seller. A few days after cashing said check, police bang on her front door, arrest her for possession of a counterfeit instrument. After sitting in jail for 4 months, her public defender told her she would go away to state prison for 13 years unless she plead guilty. Terrified and anxious to get out of jail, she took the plea. Her employer of 15 years found out about her felony conviction and fired her. She lost her home and now lives on the street because she can't find an employer that will hire her with a felony conviction. In Florida, even Wendy's does background checks, and checked with them and they won't hire a felon.

After a non-violent felon has served their sentence (probation, etc), and their civil rights restored by the State, their criminal record remains with them until they die. This is a legitimate handicap in the truest sense. After 2006, criminal background checks were required for most employment. We believe there is a difference between non-violent and violent felons. But in the eyes of the public - sex offenders and felons all mean the same thing.

We believe that once a debt has been paid to society the criminal record should become non-public to even employers. Otherwise, the government needs to pay these felons a pension for the inability to find work. We are working on a theatrical release film on this very subject. Let us know your thoughts.

Posted by: Mike - citizen | Mar 19, 2008 11:57:35 PM

There are severe disparges in the American criminal justice system that reduce felons to equivalent of dog poo. In florida, for example over 156 laws that used to be misdemeanors were reclassified as 3rd degree felonies. And it doesn't stop there. Over 125 civil laws were reclassified to criminal 3rd degree felony status. This is alarming to say the least. It appears Florida is out to imprison as many people as they can get. It's good for the economy they say behind closed doors.

Indeed it is so easy to become a felon in Florida. One person we interviewed sold a computer on Ebay. The buyer paid with a counterfeit check unbeknownst to the seller. A few days after cashing said check, police bang on her front door, arrest her for possession of a counterfeit instrument. After sitting in jail for 4 months, her public defender told her she would go away to state prison for 13 years unless she plead guilty. Terrified and anxious to get out of jail, she took the plea. Her employer of 15 years found out about her felony conviction and fired her. She lost her home and now lives on the street because she can't find an employer that will hire her with a felony conviction. In Florida, even Wendy's does background checks, and checked with them and they won't hire a felon.

After a non-violent felon has served their sentence (probation, etc), and their civil rights restored by the State, their criminal record remains with them until they die. This is a legitimate handicap in the truest sense. After 2006, criminal background checks were required for most employment. We believe there is a difference between non-violent and violent felons. But in the eyes of the public - sex offenders and felons all mean the same thing.

We believe that once a debt has been paid to society the criminal record should become non-public to even employers. Otherwise, the government needs to pay these felons a pension for the inability to find work. We are working on a theatrical release film on this very subject. Let us know your thoughts.

Posted by: Mike - citizen | Mar 20, 2008 12:00:02 AM

Who do you contact to get your rights back

Posted by: lee | May 9, 2008 12:03:53 PM

In actuality, the underlying intent is that one who has been convicted of a felony, especially federal, is never able to reclaim their life, nor place in society. Incarceration has become a solution for the ailing economy. Several years ago, there were protests regarding building a prison in certain areas."Not in my backyard, you don't". Later, as the economy began to fail towns began to lobby and offer incentives for the building of a prison in the area. With those prisons came employment for individuals with some skills, retired military, etc. Look at Gatesville, Texas. It started with the closing down of a prosthetic factory. Now the name of the town is synonamous with prisons, there are so many there.

As long as there is ome profit in prisons, reentry resources will be scant, the community unaccepting, unemployment lacking and a huge underclass on the rise. Even though so many well known people have gone to prison and many have returned to reclaim their lives. They had money before they went and managed to hold on to it. The average federal felon does not have that and can look forward to several years on supervised release with the axe hanging over their heads with very little assistance or resources. Certain states like Nevada are not ex-felon friendly and ex's do not fare well unless they transfer to another state.

Posted by: ann | Jun 3, 2008 7:02:09 PM

wow...i cannot believe i am hearing this shocking news!!!
i am not the only one in oppression by my government..!
i would like to serve in the armed forces, be a police officer legally own a firearm get a good job and just be left alone by some police officer running my tag drooling at my offenses in his computer...!!! dying to search my vehicle..!! my life has been devastated by my arrests an i have been paying fines since 18!!! i am 23!!! i have three children i cant get a good job the economy is bad, i cant restore my rights fully or seal or expunge my record because of the laws...this is wrong that my country would do this to me....!!!
all not 1 or 2 but all of my arresting affidavits have been falsified against me!!! all of them!!!!!

well, ofc.bledsoe of Orlando police did tell the truth..with exception, he was from Massachusetts's.

this is not a free country, and the secret society ruled by money is charging us to live here..!!! prisons and jails are a freakin cash cow for the judges an judicial system...one of the more frequented jails i been in, unfortunately, charge people 1.80 a day to live in there against there will..!!!

you apply for a public defender as indegint, meaning you have no money an they fuckin fine you 1000.00 for the charges and 400 for the pd who did nothing but stand there and then sentence you to probation for more cost of supervision charges make you lose work from the little shit job you have for community service hours violate you if your not working, make you pay for drug tests an counseling you have no freedoms, an god forbid you wipe your ass wrong or else youll be a god damn criminal again..!!!
get this, one of the judges in our county had several dui's an she still presides on the bench..!
no wonder god is pounding our country with such devastating floods and storms and large catastrophe and disaster..!!!

wasn't this country built by the 13 colonies to avoid taxation and tyranny and oppression? what the hell happened to the underdog? captain america? the damn pledge of allegiance? 55 years ago this country meant something to the world...not anymore..!

as a matter of fact, this country is not what it was intended to be...!!! our forefathers would cringe at the sight of our position today..! we have constitutional rights and we are being raped! we are being tread on and spiraling downhill in the entrapment
an snare set for us..! this is a sign of the coming of the revelations...! one world government is not far behind...!

every law an HR has a law behind it to back it up..!
ridiculous...!

our government was never supposed to be under a federal
banking system...! it is socialism...!

our money isnt even ours!!! thats why we are in debt...! if the u.s. owned the money, how could we go broke? we could just print more money...! lincoln did not want to privatize the u.s. banking system, thats why he was gunned down..the good people always die from others greed.

democracy??? this country was founded as a republic!!1
democracy just came to the last 150 years...because of the confederacy!!! who killed a u.s. president an now florida has a license plate with the confederate flag on it?? wtf..!?

the evil who controls us is not the U.S. government...
it is the federal reserve.they set the rules or no money....but the u.s. government let them,read about it...put it in your search bar ,read about free media. read about the papal and the secret society called the Jesuits an how they planned to over-throw the americas by a plan made over 200 years ago..! to do exactly what is going on now!!! read about what products not to buy and what companies not to invest in..!!! so you dont fund their crooked activity..>!!!!

take care of yourself and worry not for god looks after the meek and poor in spirit, the unfortunate and overwhelmed...he knows your troubles...do not let them take you in....do not be a criminal, do your best to stay away from people..!!!! be alone...be quiet, stay away from trouble!!!!

get your money, you can own a gun, who is gonna know? keep it in your house in case of a break in or a terror attack..!! dont be a thug...dont let them win!!!


matt.

Posted by: matt | Jul 2, 2008 12:52:46 AM

hit me on this email!!!

http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/expunge/
Expunge and Sealed Records


https://fpc.state.fl.us/Clemency.htm
Clemency

there you can find the answers to your ?s

Posted by: matt | Jul 2, 2008 1:00:05 AM

I was convicted of an Aggravated Battery 8 years ago in the state of Florida and now living in Texas. I served six years and was released in Feb 2006. Since my time out I have not been able to find a steady job, only being able to go through a "temp service" and after 30 days going through the temp service and signing paperwork with the company I am told I can no longer work there because convicted felons should not be treated like "regular non-convicted people". My question is there a law stating that a convicted felon should not be able to have a job? Also since I cant find a job since I am a convicted felon able to recieve some type of help? thank you very much for your time.

Josh

Posted by: Josh | Sep 3, 2008 10:11:22 PM

I am an ex offender and I am trying to ascertain if I can get my name change since I have now found my natural father and he wants us to change our last name to his.
i am living in the state of Florida and a former law enforcement officer. In addition, would I have to check off the section as a convicted offender on job appilcations and would i be able, ever to possess a firearm again? I don't care about the voting, I just need to retain the means of supporting and protecting my family at this point.

Posted by: Aquiles | Sep 7, 2008 3:39:05 PM

Hello my fellow felons..I am a felon living in Florida and i got railroaded in Colorado. The saying there is come on vacation end up probation come on a stroll end up parole.. My felonies are over 14 years old and i have not been in trouble since. I come to florida and i cant get a job. I asked for asistance in getting a job from workforce and theres non for ex offenders. Budgetting is the issue ..Now no one wants to help us but when we do a crime to survive since we cant get a crime first words out thee mouths are you should of found a job.. How if i cant even get a interview due to having to put yes on applications. So now what do i do? You see its a catch 22 damn if you down damn if you dont. I have alot of experience in customer service collections and office clerk. My felonies was drugs possession. I didnt rape kill or hurt any one. I didnt steal or do fraud. So now what? Does anyone kn ow any companies that will hire a felon. I am 44 years old. i am very responsible and very organized.

Posted by: Lucan | Sep 16, 2008 7:30:45 PM

Wow...after 10 years I get a chance to vote but still can't go hunting with my Dad. The funny thing is my crime had nothing to do with guns. So what the law really says is...if i used a pencil in a crime i would never be able to use a eraser again.
How do you get you rights back to bare arms?

Posted by: Rodney Stallings | Nov 13, 2008 10:03:22 AM

Howdy everyone Im a felon(drug charge'97) have not been in no more trouble since. Met my wife and now have 3 kids. Am I the only felon that apartments WONT rent to?? I have a hard time finding a place to live. Even thru I havent been in any more trouble. People make mistakes- cant even find a decent job. This is crazy.... laws need to be made certain time NO trouble get ALL rights back--- oh yeah and not having to make that check convicted felon will be nice. Where is our rights?? Who suppose to be looking out for us?? We are human just like the ones that commit crimes and DONT GET CAUGHT!!!!! 2009 is right around the corner time for a change for CHANGED felons

Posted by: Chevy | Nov 22, 2008 6:22:03 PM

It me again.... I dont drink, dont smoke, dont hunt(so I dont need a gun), and I dont go clubbing!!! ALL I want to do find a great job(jack of all trades) that pays well and provide for the wife and kids. is that hard to ask for??? I didnt think so... lets get to writing some laws that helps felons get their rights back..

Posted by: Chevy pt2 | Nov 22, 2008 6:30:07 PM

Convicted felon 17 years ago.Served my sentance in full have not been in trouble since.How do I get my right to bear arms back?

Posted by: danny gattis | Jan 10, 2009 10:16:38 PM

Felonious fuq shit is what i call it. if you've done you're time then whats the problem. Obviously our lawmakers & judges ( most are lawyers ) didn't do that well in English classes growing up considering their takes on the US constitution. its plain as day to me and I'm not an English professor but i do know how to comprehend my language fairly well. Don't mistake my punctuation screw ups and lack of capitalization ( i suck @ typing )for the same dipshit ideas and mis-"interpretations" of these guys with their misplaced intentions and ulterior motives. Its a fact that a child can read our Constitution and tell you what it means. Forget the felony part, the governments make it hard for goody two shoes and cops to get guns too, Despite the fact that our constitution specifically prohibits the gov't saying you need a license for a right including to travel (drive).

i feel everybody's pain here too. i feel like I'm at an AA meeting or something by saying this but i am a felon too, in Florida no less. Truth be told the best service any of you guys could do is for yourselves. Research, read, and educate yourself as much as possible. Screw the TV and hanging out. If it isn't helping your situation don't do it. But i will give some knowledge that i know about.

First things first GET THE HELL OUT OF FLORIDA!!!!!!!!!!!! The place is anti-union & so corrupt and full of bigotry of race and class, & judgmental Jerry Springer bull shit that i don't even think its worth saving considering its natural beauty. and i have friends and family there! $6 an hour minimum wage!!! are you kidding me????!!! that is one flawed argument you get from people about lower cost of living in the south. i pay more for everything down here except gas and housing is damn near the same as Seattle. Damn near double the amount in food than back in Seattle where my wife works making $13 an hour as a cashier at a place that i can only describe as high class walmart called Fred Meyer. they are union and their stuff is cheaper than walmart 90% of the time!!! and you dont feel the need to take a shower when you leave!! I love Washington state!

When i was released in Sept 2000 i had a plan of attack so to speak. I looked for industries where it doesn't matter if you have felonies. I'm a commercial diver now and i make damn good money, but anything offshore or oil related is good to go too. Now you guys might get discouraged by some things you'll hear like "you cant get approved by the Coast Guard with that or get a TWIC card" blah blah. It all depends and you need to get to the source. You know the old adage "you never know until you try".

Anyway let me get squarely on topic here. I'm wanting my "privilege" to bear arms back too. Note the sarcasm since the constitution says we have a "right" which is different. It makes sense for everybody to be armed in the long run. My Moms 2nd husband quit beating her when she came home with a .357 and a Pitt-Bull! Not to mention the fact that only stupid fuckers with a death wish would try anything if we were all armed to varying degrees. Damn the regulation. Now i don't want to get this so i can go all Rambo i just don't want to get in trouble for something so trivial as being in same house as a gun, which is another reason why i left Florida. I'm not sure if its still the same but you see my point. Besides if a guy i was locked up with can get 17 years for killing a home invader in his own house with the assailants own gun then that is a place i don't want to be.

Now as to the law UNLESS it has changed, IN Florida WITH a felony conviction on your record you can lawfully possess a muzzle loader gun or rifle which i believe are single shot. Yeah i know real impractical. PLEASE do yourself a favor and research this before you take my word for it. The thing is i do want to own firearms but i mostly want them for my family to use while i am away. if someone messes with them while im gone i don't want to hear anything other than that they are safe and that the perp has some new holes in him or her or them. I can take care of myself quite well between years of ninjitsu and my skills with a blade. besides you can make a weapon out of almost anything when you think about it. Unfortunately Florida is a real bitch when it comes to doing anything that actually makes sense so us felons need to be real careful and make sure that we can read the actual laws pertaining to us and of course understand them. If you were convicted of a violent crime then i wish you luck with any help in defending yourself or others since even a small knife could get you in real trouble these days.

I do know that i have all of my rights back except the right to bear arms and maybe to guardianship which is weird considering they gave the others to me when i got released, but you have to wait at least 5 years, or is it 10. i think it changed, to apply to the clemency board of Florida but from release date or conviction date I'm not sure but i do know that if it has been 10 or more years a job should be no problem and may be illegal for it to be held against you. My solution is don't ask don't tell. If gays can use it then why not felons. Were discriminated against all the time too. Just do yourself a favor and save yourself some time by contacting an employee at the company and asking them face to face about the company's hiring procedures. Just wait in the parking lot until they leave for the day or even better I used to call up and pretend to be a potential client and ask a bunch of questions as though i am qualifying them for a job then i ask them what their policy is on hiring "criminals". I say criminals cuz its broad & not specific like "felons".... I let them elaborate. You know come to think of it you should never volunteer info on anything unless it can help you...and even then be cautious.

At any rate don't give up on your fight.

Hey Matt I'm in agreement with you 100% cuz thats what the evidence supports.
Hit me up sometime @ YxAxHxOxO!! under "that mug is tight" without spaces

Posted by: Eddie | Feb 18, 2009 12:05:46 PM

I just want to get my rights to vote and bear arms restored.

Posted by: tracy boyd | Mar 25, 2009 2:32:04 AM

Ive been convicted of two drug felonys. Im moving to florida and starting a new life. I would like to be able to own a gun so i can protect my family legally. Is this possible in florida?

Posted by: dantheman76 | Apr 8, 2009 11:05:40 PM

here i am once again a year later...i have not received my rights yet. i have contact every member of the executive office of clemency, including the executive office of clemency. i am a law abiding citizen. i have been forced to remember time and time again the punishments that have occurred time and time again since mistakenly and unknowingly breaking laws that i have never heard of before that time. if the local governments want to promote the commonwealth of society why exactly would they not enrich and educate the minds of the young and growing as to the effects of "illegal actions" and the standard behind their punishment.

it is not surprising that the economy has got worse. taxes are everywhere while jobs are everywhere over seas. all our supplies come from foreign markets and so our revenue is going to them also. no jobs are here so people can pay the tax and mortgage or support investments. manufacturing jobs should be created here with green technology within the next 2 years. downsize the reliance upon foreign products and textiles. grow and increase the dependence on homemade American made products.

legalize the people. empower the people to be winners, scholars and tutors.
high hopes in a human can be an inspiring thing that will surely become most popularly attractive and most certainly unstoppable. one reason Hitler and his sick views caused such an uproar was his ability to define his movement to all of his followers. the problem with today is since free media is allowing rap music and gangster and loose criminal type of media to be aired it is influencing the people to be that perponent.

laws are being created as a counter measure to the violence and criminal activity. some people are becoming circumstance by the training and brute force of local government police agencies power and dominance in the justice system leaving the minority with no power indeed powerless and OF COURSE AND MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL counteracting to the real criminal activity. yes there is of course an issue with a fraction of these cases but there are still issue's with much lighter infractions which have no significant importance with such a raw punishment and are only light as far as severe criminal activity such as violent domestic or assault.

the governor has the ability to appoint secretaries to respond on his behalf regarding the peoples emails and inquiries with the governors office, but he cannot appoint someone to issue civil rights on his behalf? when can the people demand such a thing? this should not be an argument is should be a definite change in the lives of many by releasing their criminal history to the garbage and allowing for the people to reclaim their innocence through their actions.

if a felony reoccurs again, that would provoke a renegotiation or reinstatement and or make that forfeit of rights...
(god forbid it was ever a false accusation by the government which can happen.)

this is a very tough issue for the government because there are more important issue's but i say that it is the small issues that matter most....they do grow.

send a felon to the military and watch his ass straighten up...and ill be damned if the military wouldn't straighten that man up, the military surely would know if that man was not straightened up. all i have to say is that gang activity or prior gang activity must be excluded from possible prospects to be able to enlist or commission into the military.

i can say we need more soldiers. the world is jumping us and if we don't protect ourselves and build our army right here in the united states...we are going to be screwed by another military because like everything else they are overseas.
i believe the army reserve and national guard should be stationed in the united states and never be called unless another country invaded the united states.

i believe it should be our priority to ban aiding other countries and aid the homeless and sick here On American soil. i believe it should be our priority to
aid the helpless and unfortunate here. we should all focus on the better of the nature in which we life and the better of peoples lives around us. GOD is of utmost importance to rely on. when you seek GOD through spiritual enlightenment you will be guided to unknown extraordinary exciting parallels and this should be taught as it even says in GOD we trust on u.s. currency.


all i can say is goodluck to all of you. this is going to be a tough next 4 years.


Posted by: matt | Jul 8, 2009 4:00:01 AM

if you are from out of state and you are trying to have your rights reinstated is must be in the original state that you request clemency. if you were convicted in colorado you would have to contact the government of colorado to figure out how to get your rights back. if your charges where considered federal cases or in federal court you will have to take your case to the president who i believe is banned from issuing a pardon unless he believes in or it is approved by its merit through the atty.general. but i am not 100% sure about that as far as the approval process and i never want to know. if you were convicted federally you would have to contact the FBI to try to have your rights restored.

as far as rights some states issue and automatic restoration...again you would need to contact the state in which you were convicted to be pardoned by that state before you can apply for a gun or voting in any other state regardless of time unless that state has automatically issued your rights back.

you could wait a long time and you will go through a lot of headache, temptation and tears throughout your life as a convicted felon without your rights being restored...i can tell you firsthand through my experiences that is is a horrifying haunting ordeal to be felonious and it is injuring society.

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

when in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world:

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Posted by: matt | Jul 8, 2009 4:19:09 AM

please join us
we need to do something about this x
http://www.learnaboutguns.com/2008/07/28/gun-rights-for-convicted-felons/

Posted by: c | Oct 18, 2009 2:42:28 AM

I think when someone commits a violent crime with a fire arm they should loose the right to ever own a fire arm again! However after a reasonable amount of time has passed, certainly other civil rights should be restored....

Posted by: Debt Settlement Florida | Dec 29, 2009 4:17:32 PM

I just want the right to work and provide for my family. If we can't work I guess we must steal. Hey, its job security for judges and lawyers!

Posted by: Shawn | Mar 2, 2010 1:07:03 PM

we got noting thats the way it is so if see bome fuck this place i will never help this fuck govament

Posted by: mo | Jun 19, 2010 11:30:23 AM

GPS tracking systems are only a small part of what it takes to keep our children safe from sexual predators. First of all, legislators need to ensure that these sex offenders cannot reside anywhere near children. Police need to spend less time hiding with their radar guns to give speeding tickets and more time monitoring areas where sex offenders reside. GPS tracking bracelets are a must! The people monitoring GPS trackers most be competent and knowledgeable.

Posted by: nike air jordan spizike | Nov 29, 2010 3:18:11 AM

Why should Mrs Martha Stewart not be allowed to have-carry a equalizing handy survival self defense arm to protect her daughters, son and her own self ? She is just a NON Violent felon by the I R S If a pencil felony by her CPA . It is no right to have this done to her.

Posted by: Michele k | Apr 23, 2011 5:06:48 PM

Write your state Representative, Your state Senator to allow Non-Violent felons to have their sidearms ability restored, bring up Mrs Martha Stewart to them get it sent to each of them ASAP. So it can become.

Posted by: Michele k | Apr 23, 2011 5:14:29 PM

I am a school teacher .Consider. NO gun laws have ever been passed, nor can ever be passed by state legislators. ( none passed yet ) Why two reasons, The Supreme Court Cockrun vs The State 24 @ 402. Go to 402. Rights reserve in constitution never allowed the Teacher. No power nor the authority to passed a law that would have any effect on Unalienable right to survival an self defense arms # 2. VOID is a legal word, now Google. Void vs Null know the difference". Then read.GOOGLE. " Bliss vs Commonwealth." People vs Zerillo. Then note Void used in ruling. Now who is continueing perpetuating the lie. Your favorite State representative your favorite state Senator. Who are the despotic renagade officials? Sue them with Hafer vs Melo no.90-681 by way of a federal court also DA's and JP's. State Official's liable fordamages when violate one right. $20000. -$30000 live of their evil errow. They are lawyers? They know what the word Void means in a Supreme Court ruleing. Their ignorance of the law is no excuse sue them they are not ignorant they are nonnobles unhonorable low life gob of spite

Posted by: Michele k | Apr 23, 2011 6:35:59 PM

WHERE DO YOU FIND THE URL?

Posted by: ROBERT LADD | Jun 12, 2011 2:35:32 PM

I have a 3rd degree felony (FLEEING AND ELUDING) for about 4 years now. It has been hindering me from obtaining any kind of decent employment. I was wondering if there is a way I can have this charge sealed where it cannot be viewed by employers. Is this possible?

Posted by: ROBERT LADD | Jun 12, 2011 2:39:28 PM

I really don't know what to say. I have all my rights back after 19 years off being clean. With the exception of my rights to bear arms. With the econmy the way it is and things only getting worse, I have taken the chance an purchased a gun for self defense.

Posted by: elmo | Feb 9, 2012 12:35:49 AM

I was an RN..Associate degree in engineering,AAS in nursing, BS in health admin, e-4 us army and Capt commander in reserves. worked in florida prison and seduced by an inmate........lawyer said you've been baited i can defend you , then he says I can't defend you...cop a plea to felony......sexual misconduct.....paid my dues....5 yrs probation.....now I'm fied till eternity with florida.....thank God I have pension private and gov't......the criminals are the lawyers..not the public.....inmate can't consent? then why do they sign papers for psyco tropics.....

Posted by: sam | Jan 28, 2013 4:43:19 PM

Hey guys, I was convicted of a felony for possession of a controlled substance in 2000. Since then I have gotten full custody of my daughter, and I'm currently enrolled in college working on my Bachelor's degree. I got into trouble one time since then because I found out that my babies mom was hungover drunk and still in bed with my daughter in a school day, so I went over there to get my daughter and while doing so I called the babies mom a drunk whore and other explicit names then called the cops because she wouldn't let me leave with her. I went to jail for harassment since i went there uninvited and called her names. Anyhow I have recently moved to Utah and my dad wants me to go hunting with him, so I call FDLE and recently found out that if you have been convicted of any type of crime anywhere in the United States you do not qualify for en expungement or sealment. If that felony was in utah I wouldnt have a problem getting my record sealed. Laws regarding expungement differ in every state. In florida a supposedly can own a black powder rifle and a bow but in Utah I cant own either. The shit is so conflicting as far as state laws go it's ridiculous. Good luck to everyone.

Posted by: Jason James | Jun 2, 2013 1:38:01 AM

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