August 28, 2009

NC Supreme Court Issues Emergency Room Stimulus

Because what this world needs is more armed ex-cons:

The North Carolina Supreme Court says a 2004 law that bars convicted felons from having a gun, even within their own home or business, is unconstitutional.

The state's high court ruled Friday in the case of Barney Britt of Wake County that the General Assembly went too far five years ago when it toughened restrictions on felons owning guns as part of a broad anti-domestic-violence bill.

Update: Okay, I'm a dolt.

For whatever reason, I had it in my head that the Court was allowing violent ex-cons to own firearms, and I was not thinking about non-violent offenders. Sadly, the article doesn't do a good job in defining precisely what the court said.

If it turns out that the ruling affects non-violent offenders, I'll agree with those that state they have paid their debt to society. If it applies to violent offenders as well, I still have a problem with it.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at August 28, 2009 04:47 PM

So folks found guilty of tax evasion should be denied their rights?

Posted by: Madrocketscientist at August 28, 2009 06:11 PM

I'm all for felons being able to get their rights restored. In most states, that involves serving your time and paying your penalties. You do the crime, you do the time. Then (most) all's fair.

But ALL felons? Wierd.

I'd imagine that something like this will get struck down by the SCOTUS, though. Didn't they explicitly state in the Heller case that there are some reasonable restrictions, like felons not having access to guns, that were reasonable?

Posted by: John at August 28, 2009 06:21 PM

John wrote: "I'd imagine that something like this will get struck down by the SCOTUS, though. Didn't they explicitly state in the Heller case that there are some reasonable restrictions, like felons not having access to guns, that were reasonable?"

And John is absolutely correct!

Makes me wonder if these judges ever read the news...or the judicial updates that come their way on a very regular basis. This one, in fact, raised many eyebrows throughout the land.

There's absolutely NO question this ruling will be overturned by SCOTUS, and don't be surprised if it's done "without comment". In other words, they'll be calling the NC judiciary a bunch of idiots.

Posted by: Dell at August 28, 2009 06:35 PM

Most cities and states are taking the position that Heller only applies to federal, not state or local, government. I'm guessing that's the reasoning here.

Posted by: jdb at August 28, 2009 07:47 PM

My guess is this had nothing to do with Federal gun laws and perhaps not even the right to keep and bear arms and will not get anywhere near the SCOTUS.

See also my blog post on the topic.

Posted by: Joe Huffman at August 28, 2009 10:22 PM

Sorry, but the NC SC is correct. While a mildly convincing argument can be made that a felon on parole can be denied a weapon, such an argument falls logically flat after her sentence is up. The punishment is done, over. IF the right of self defense is absolutely fundamental (even more so than free speech), depriving someone of that right for life, especially if their crime had nothing to do with guns, is immoral.

Anytime someone attempts to circumscribe the right to self defense, simply apply the same argument to the right to free speech and see how it sounds.

Posted by: Bikerdad at August 29, 2009 05:29 AM

I'm with bikerdad. Once your sentence is completed (including parole and probation), it should take a jury trial to deprive you of your civil rights. The State should have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are not dangerous enough to be locked up but still dangerous enough to be a second class citizen. Tax fraud just doesn't make a man a murderer.


Posted by: Pol Mordreth at August 29, 2009 11:21 AM

So if these ex-felons are so dangerous that they allegedly can't be trusted with guns, then why should they be let loose to resume their predations as opposed to remaining locked up? I'm surprised at you, Mr. Owens. As pro-gun as you are this post sounds like something Paul Helmke would have nailed up on the Brady blog.

Posted by: the pistolero at August 29, 2009 11:22 AM

There's a point to the article being written vaguely. You are meant to imagine violent psychopaths roaming the streets with guns. Thus you will realize what nuts gun-rights advocates are "They're giving PSYCHOS the right to have guns too!" and resist their evil propaganda about some supposed "right to bear arms."

Posted by: Ersatz at August 30, 2009 04:58 AM

But if these ex-cons (or any other NC resident) wants to actually obtain a handgun they are still required to obtain approval from their local sheriff prior to purchasing the weapon.

What if the Sheriff denies the request for approval?

What then, oh sages of the NC Supreme court?

Amazing, the Legislature has no ability pass law that specifically restricts a convicted felon's 2nd amendment rights, but they can pass law that cedes the entire issue to county sheriffs.

Posted by: ThomasD at September 1, 2009 09:59 AM

You missed a rather salient point here. This law was unconstitutional because it retroactively stripped away a civil right after it had been restored by a court. You cannot take away a mans civil rights without due process.

The individual in question who challenged the law had already legally purchased firearms during the period between when his civil rights were restored and the passage of this law, so I don't think your point really has legs.


Posted by: Pol Mordreth at September 3, 2009 07:59 AM