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February 8, 2008

Even the NRA, while urging Second Amendment strict scrutiny, thinks Martha Stewart and Lewis Libby have no gun rights

SCOTUSblog here has links to a large bunch of amicus briefs filed in the Supreme Court's Heller Second Amendment case.  Though perhaps other supporters of gun rights do not sell out felons, I was especially interested to see that the National Rifle Association's brief, which describes the NRA as "America’s foremost defender of Second Amendment rights" readily concedes that "laws barring [any gun] ownership by convicted felons" would pass its proposed Second Amendment test.

As I have highlighted in prior posts, there are lots and lots of folks with felony convictions — such as Martha Stewart and Lewis Libby — who might want and need to have a gun for self-protection.  Nevertheless, while the NRA claims to be the foremost defender of the "human, civil, and constitutional rights of the individual to keep and bear arms in a free society," the NRA is still content (and even seems eager) to concede that once convicted of any kind of felony, any and every person loses forever these "human, civil, and constitutional rights."

Some related posts on the Heller Second Amendment case:

February 8, 2008 at 09:02 AM | Permalink


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» NRA Says No 2d Amendment RKBA For You! from Simple Justice
The upcoming Supreme Court case of District of Columbia v. Heller has brought out a ton of amici, as one would suspect, ranging from [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 9, 2008 8:01:29 AM

» NRA Says No 2d Amendment RKBA For You! from Simple Justice
The upcoming Supreme Court case of District of Columbia v. Heller has brought out a ton of amici, as one would suspect, ranging from [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 9, 2008 9:26:07 AM


Doug, I very much appreciate your constant
reminders that the gun possession by
felons issue is very complex and, to use
one of your favorite words, "nuanced."

My favorite line from a supreme court
opinion is Brandeis' classic quote about
"Men feared witches and burned women."

Thank you for continuing to put perspective
on this issue.

bruce cunningham

Posted by: bruce cunningham | Feb 8, 2008 10:16:21 AM

One of the basic issues here is what qualifies as a felony. The state of Texas, for instance, has over 2000 separate felonies on their criminal books, and other states are not far behind.

Another basic issue is one of logical link - there are many statute felonies that are not reasonably connected with any determination of danger to the community, rather, more as being indicative of unfit character.

For a complex of reasons, some good and some bad, NRA generally does not see the injustices existing in our criminal law system as an issue to be explored, except in a narrow spectrum of firearms rights cases. The official line is that firearms rights belong to ' law abiding' citizens, a category that , in the real world, comes in many shades of gray.

Posted by: c sommer | Feb 8, 2008 11:45:00 AM

I'm still wondering if the spouses and children of felons can own a gun in the same house. Or could the felon be arrested under the doctrine of community property or what have you?

Does the NRA think a spouse gives up his/her 2nd Amendment right by living with a felon?

Posted by: George | Feb 8, 2008 1:03:33 PM

As c sommer points out, in the modern era
of structured sentencing the misdemeanor
felony distinction is now meaningless.
In NC there are "felonies" for which a
defendant cannot receive an active prison
sentence and "misdemeanors" which can carry
two years active. Traditionally, the line
between felony ("villainy) and misdemeanor
("misbehaviour") was drawn by who could
get sent to the penitentiary.

bruce cunningham

Posted by: bruce cunningham | Feb 8, 2008 4:58:29 PM

Thanks for posting the NRA brief in Heller. Parts of it tracked an argument I posed a few weeks ago about hunting, self defense and the Ninth Amendment.

"American's personal right to possess such firearms for hunting or self defense was part of the essence of the Framer's view of themselves as a free and democratic people."

You have been out front all along questioning the implication of Heller on Possession of Firearm by Felon cases and cautioning people not to assume that ALL felons can be FOREVER prohibited from possessing a gun.

Posted by: bruce cunningham | Feb 9, 2008 8:24:11 AM

I agree that not everyone convicted of a felony should lose the right to bear arms forever. However, the task of drawing the lines regarding how long for what crimes should fall to the legislative branch and not the judiciary. Case law is a singularly bad way of drawing such lines, as we have seen in so many areas. Just look at the mess the Supreme Court has made in capital sentencing law. It can't agree with itself from one year to the next what the Constitution supposedly forbids and what it supposedly requires.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Feb 9, 2008 9:24:47 AM

Kent, how do you reconcile your first sentence, that not everybody should be barred for life from possessing a gun, with your second sentence, that the legislature should draw the line, not the courts? There wouldn't be a problem in the first place if the legislature had not already refused to draw a line and permanently prohibited gun possession for all felons, everywhere including in their home.

How do you resolve the issue if not through the courts?

Bruce Cunningham

Posted by: bruce cunningham | Feb 9, 2008 8:47:47 PM

Is there a mandatory sentence for posession of a firearm by convicted felon in North Carolina? My 7yr. old son had a gun pionted at him by a person with a lengthy criminal record and multiple convictions for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and inflicting serious injury 5 times to be accurate. He also threatened to kill him.

Posted by: tim | Mar 3, 2008 10:56:38 PM


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Posted by: David | May 18, 2008 8:57:24 PM

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Posted by: Taser C2 Instructor | Aug 3, 2010 10:08:18 PM

I don't like the idea of any deadly weapon being used as a means of self defense. As for felons being banned for gun ownership I agree. They chose to commit a felony act and knew the risks they were taking when they did. If they need an option for defending themselves they can use non-lethal self defense weapons such as a stun gun or pepper spray which are not banned from felons possessing them unless they are on probation.

Posted by: Donald the self defense weapons guy | Aug 17, 2010 1:04:10 PM

I do believe in the Constitution and the 2nd ammendment right to bear arms. I'm not sure i agree with banning Martha Stewart from the right to this though. She never cold killed anybody.

Posted by: bill @ home defense weapons | Oct 25, 2010 2:17:46 PM

I am firmly against any prohibition of gun ownership, I've served my country as an enlisted man and officer flying helicopters, and as an EMT, and now an emergency room nurse for 20 years now. A blanket prohibition by the federal government seems to me to overstep the founding fathers intent to keep and bear arms. With the governments ever increasing ability to declare felonies under many forms, like IRS problems, as well as many white collar crimes, it is giving to much oppressive power to the fed.. More properly it should be the individual states and courts that convict the felon to decide their status of gun ownership.
I've never been charged or convicted of any crime, yet if I choose to marry a felon who happens to be born again, I somehow loose my right to gun ownership. This is definitely not the constitution I pledged to fight and die for. Most peace officers would disagree I'm sure , but a very low percentage of them have ever taken that same oath, military that is... I an verify that as well as my own personal experience with literally thousands of law enforcement... Fewer than 5% ever served, not to take away from those that did ( who coincidentally agree with me)

Posted by: John Price, 1Lt | Jul 5, 2012 2:39:12 AM

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