A Florida TV station reports: "A 28-year-old convicted felon was arrested after workers at an Orlando gun range noticed he was wearing an ankle monitor while dropping off guns to be repaired, according to a police report."

First I congratulate the workers for informing the police., we need more vigilant people to combat illegal weapons in the hands of criminals. Now the next course of action is to find out how he obtained the guns and prosecute anyone who violated the law.
2.1.2006 3:34pm
Mike123 (mail):
I believe former felons should be allowed to possess firearms. They did their time and are now free. If they are a threat to society, then why aren't they in prison.

There are alot of non-violent felonies, like copying a video tape or second offense DUI. Why should a person lose their right to self defense because of a conviction like those two examples. Plus, shouldn't a person's civil rights be limited per an order of the sentencing judge and not automatic without appeal?
2.1.2006 3:52pm
t d e (mail):
Just the sort of assholish behavior I would expect from Gun Range employees.
2.1.2006 4:02pm
I am not sure about Florida, but in other jurisdictions ankle monitors can be used on people who are not felons. People wearing ankle monitors, however, are rarely permitted to make visits to firing ranges or gunshops.
2.1.2006 4:06pm
Cornellian (mail):
If a person can be deprived of the right to vote for life for a felony conviction, why not the right to bear arms as well? Is a state precluded from imposing a sentence that includes a lifetime ban on firearms ownership?

Just another example of the well known principle that the typical criminal is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Or maybe that low pant legs are undeservedly out of fashion.
2.1.2006 4:07pm
Sam B (mail):
There is a popular notion that the commision of a felony is some sort of tranaction in which a person simply takes on debt that can be satisfied. Can some of you wise lawyers explain this to me?
Just a simple MD in fly over country
2.1.2006 4:45pm
I believe former felons should be allowed to possess firearms. They did their time and are now free.
I generally agree with you that there are too many disabilities placed on on ex-felons, people on ankle bracelets have not "done their time"--they either haven't started their time or they are in the process of finishing it.

The ankle bracelet almost certainly means that they are on pre-trial release, probation, or some form of post-prison monitoring (which is part of their sentence). In this case, the newspaper reports that this guy was on home confinement for "open cases." I don't know which category that puts him in.
2.1.2006 4:53pm
Houston Lawyer:
Your typical gun range or gun shop employee is just about the most likely person to turn you in for a gun related offense. They are not likely to tolerate people breaking the law in their presence.
2.1.2006 5:06pm
t d e (mail):

Can some of you wise lawyers explain this to me?

No claim to being a wise lawyer, but I think many people believe that, as a general rule, crimes are punished by specific sentences. So they find it objectionable when there are lifelong conditions also imposed.
For example, suppose a 20 year old is convicted of a felony and serves a year. In some states (may be many states for all I know) that 21 or 22 year old will still look forward to 50 or 60 years of not being able to vote, not being able to own a gun, etc..
This is an extreme example - but I think it throws some light on the problem that some have with such laws.
2.1.2006 5:14pm
Footnoter (www):
Currently, only three states impose a lifetime ban on ex-felons voting. Nine other states have waiting restrictions and the other states allow ex-felons who are not currently on parole or probation to get their voting rights back.

Oddly enough, two states (Maine and Vermont) allow current inmates to vote while still serving their time.
2.1.2006 5:25pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
What a lot of people don't realize is that the Supreme Court has struck down the federal ban on ex-felons in possession—for those convicted in foreign courts. The case was Small v. U.S. (2005). You can read my article, "What Is a Felony?" Shotgun News, July 1, 2005, pp. 24-25, here.

This was not one of the shining hours of the Supreme Court. As Justice Thomas's dissent points out, "the majority's interpretation permits those convicted overseas of murder, rape, assault, kidnaping, terrorism, and other dangerous crimes to possess firearms freely in the United States.... Meanwhile, a person convicted domestically of tampering with a vehicle identification number, ... is barred from possessing firearms."

By the way, this wasn't someone convicted overseas of a political crime, which was the rationale for the majority to strike down the law (at least, for non-U.S. convictions). The guy was smuggling guns into Japan, and was convicted under Japan's law on the subject.

Of course, I've learned not to expect honest history or good judgment from the Supreme Court. I can only hope for improvement with Roberts and Alito replacing Rehnquist and O'Connor.
2.1.2006 5:45pm
t d e (mail):

Of course, I've learned not to expect honest history or good judgment from the Supreme Court.

If Thomas' simplistic interpretation of the statute were followed, then our fearless president could be tried in abstentia in, say, Iran for crimes against humanity, convicted of a felony and then if someone were to turn up a shotgun on the ranch in Crawford, then Bush would be in violation of "18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), which forbids "any person ... convicted in any court."

Remember the Thomas interpretation does not allow for any leeway regarding the legitimacy of the foreign court or the charges. All that matters is "conviction" in "any" court.
2.1.2006 6:01pm
KeithK (mail):
It probably is unfair to permanently take away someone's right to vote or bear arms for an offense like copying a videotape or some other non-violent felonies. On the other hand, it may well be reasonable to do so for crimes like assault or homicide. Perhaps the answer to this question is not to eliminate the practice of stripping felons of their rights and not to come up with special rules about what is "violent" or not, but instead to stop classifying so many crimes as felonies.
2.1.2006 6:30pm
Again, it's important to pay attention to the facts of this story. This individual was wearing an ankle monitor. In most jurisdictions, this means (as public_defender noted above) that he is on some kind of court supervision. This means that either he is on supervised release before trial or that HE HAS NOT COMPLETED HIS SENTENCE. Either way, he has hardly "paid his debt to society." Furthermore, at least in some jurisdictions, a convicted felon may possess a firearm, he simply may not do so while he is on probation or parole. And, remember, an individual on probation or parole, again, has not completed their sentence. The debt is not yet paid.
2.1.2006 7:54pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
In Arizona, most civil rights are restored, on first offense, at end of probation. Gun rights require a motion.

There used to be an another avenue out--under GCA '68, a person disqualified for any reason could petition ATF for a "relief from disability" to possess a firearm. They'd investigate and, if the person seemed decent, were pretty good about restoring rights. Then some years ago the Violence Policy Center kicked up a media storm about spending tax money to arm felons, and congress put on a budget rider forbidding expenditures to grant relief.

Two things make this a pain: (1) with state convictions, you can get a restoration of rights that takes care of it, but with any other bar to gun ownership (mental commitment, no matter how brief and how long ago, dishonorable military discharge, etc. there is now no way out, period. (2) The budget rider excepts corporations, which CAN get relief. To my mind, an interesting due process/equal protection problem.
2.1.2006 8:23pm
therut (mail):
Yep Congress due to a little pressure from VPC and CLINTON decided no money to restore that particular RIGHT. While at the same time we spend how much money to allow the ACLU to file suit after suit. Really, The ACLU should have been right there protecting these peoples rights. But alas they were NOT. Neither was there Law School students holding protests to make sure people rights are upheld. They were SILENT as were their esteemed Professors-------- defenders of all that is right in the world.(As they see it).
2.1.2006 10:53pm
Frank Drackman (mail):
Hes dead now so its too late, but Ronaldnus Magnus Reagan was convicted of a felony in absentia in Libya, while at the same time possessing a shotgun given to him as a gift.
2.2.2006 6:53am
Houston Lawyer:
Drackman, a more interesting case involved a Texas resident who drove his pickup into Mexico with a loaded shotgun in the back. He was convicted of a felony in Mexico and, as a result, cannot possess a firearm here.

Ponder whether a convicted felon, later pardoned, can legally possess firearms.
2.2.2006 1:51pm
therut (mail):
I think the Tx case you are thinking of did not involve a firearm only ammo. That is one man Bush should pardon. The case was that of Mr. Bean.
2.3.2006 2:33am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Remember the Thomas interpretation does not allow for any leeway regarding the legitimacy of the foreign court or the charges. All that matters is "conviction" in "any" court.
Guess what? Congress wrote the law, and left no leeway in it. I think the law in question is dumb. But that doesn't mean that the Supreme Court gets to strike it down just because it is a dumb law. Congress writes the laws. Sometimes they write dumb ones. Dumb doesn't necessarily mean unconstitutional.
2.3.2006 12:15pm