Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.
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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Happy hunting

This post has been updated since originally posted.

It's that time of the year again. In my neck of the woods, hunters are preparing themselves to be out in the woods with their hunting guns going after grouse, pheasant, bear and deer. We all know that there are hunting accidents. Most hunters are very safe and love the sport enough to know how to be safe. Hunting is a great tradition enjoyed by millions of people and is often a family event involving generations of people for whom hunting is a tradition. Such is the case in my family where my maternal grandfather was an avid hunter, as were his son and sons-in-law who then shared their love of the sport with their own sons and daughters. But every year we hear about incidents such as this recent one in South Carolina, where a hunter shot himself accidentally:
"The accident occurred as David Young was walking on Stiffmire Road near St. Matthews, authorities say. He was apparently retrieving his shotgun while talking to his fiancee when the cellphone went silent.
His fiancee “could not get any response from him on the cellphone and she alerted authorities to the location,” Calhoun County Coroner Donnie Porth said.
The Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office responded, Porth said. They found the 59-year-old Gaston man, “with no signs of life and with an apparent gunshot wound to the chest.”
Porth said it appears Young was by himself and that the gun may have accidentally discharged.
He said he has seen a number of hunting accidents in his 16 years as coroner. This, however, is his first case where the fatal accident occurred while the deceased was on a phone.
S.C. Department of Natural Resources spokesman Robert McCullough said the investigation is ongoing, but it appears Young tripped and fell, suffering a shotgun blast to the chest.
McCullough advises hunters to always make sure their guns are pointed in a safe direction and that the safety is on.
“Always treat a gun like it’s loaded. Always treat a gun like it can hurt you,” he said."
This bears repeating: "Always treat a gun like it's loaded. Always treat a gun like it can hurt you." Good advice. Why is it not followed? According to this site:
According to the International Hunter Education Associationapproximately 1,000 people in the US and Canada are accidentally shot by hunters every year, and just under a hundred of those accidents are fatalities. Most victims are hunters, but non-hunters are also sometimes killed or injured. Although some other forms of recreation cause more fatalities, hunting is one of the few activities that endangers the entire community, and not just the willing participants.
You may not agree with the statement made at the end of the above quote but the fact is that it is not only the hunter him or herself who could be at risk but because bullets travel long distances, sometimes innocent people not involved in the sport get injured or killed by a stray bullet. (disclaimer- I am not an animal rights advocate, but found that this site had a good list of hunting accidents) There is also a summary of hunting accident incidents by year from 1995-2007 for your perusal, here. This is just one example of stray hunting bullets hitting someone ( in 2004)  who was not involved in the sport:
Loved ones of a pregnant woman injured in a shooting, apparently by a hunter's stray bullet, believe she is lucky to be alive, but they want new hunting regulations that will give greater protection to suburban homes and businesses.
Casey Burns, 18, remains hospitalized as she recovers from a gunshot wound to the head. She was shot while sitting in her car outside her North Whitehall Township, Pa., home on Nov. 30. Burns, who is seven months pregnant, was preparing to follow her fiancé to his mother's house at the time.
And in my own state, there has already been one hunting accident. This one happened when two brothers were duck hunting from a canoe in northern Minnesota:
The Mesabi Daily News of Virginia reports that 16-year-old Baker Felix was hunting Saturday in a canoe on Elbow Lake in Iron with his brother, 18-year-old Bryten Felix, also of rural Eveleth, and 18-year-old Olaf Walkky, of Britt.
A flock of ducks flew over and the teens stood up to shoot, resulting in the canoe rolling and taking water. The St. Louis County sheriff's office says Bryten Felix fell backward and tried to catch himself. The shotgun he was holding discharged, and the blast hit his brother, Baker Felix, in the knee.
Baker Felix was taken by ambulance to a Duluth hospital, where he was listed in stable condition. The incident is under investigation.
First of all, anyone who doesn't know that you can't stand up in a canoe shouldn't be in one. Secondly, you shouldn't be in a canoe with a gun if you don't know that principle rule of canoeing. This is a situation designed for trouble. Who taught these boys how to hunt? Who taught these boys canoe safety? If you live in or near any one of the 10,000 lakes in Minnesota, there are rules of boating and safety. We always taught our children to grab both sides of the canoe when getting in or out and keeping their feet in the middle of the canoe. We even had them practice turning the canoe over to see how it would be survive if that ever happened. It was a cardinal rule to never make any quick moves while sitting in a canoe and that you could never, ever, stand up in a canoe unless you were on the shore and ready to get in or out. Adding a hunting gun to that mix makes it all the more important to abide by the safety rules. This was stupid and dangerous and shouldn't have happened.

There are the occasional purposeful shootings by a hunter that result in intentional homicide deaths. The case of the Wisconsin hunter who killed 5 people in a mass shooting in 2004 is the most infamous example of a dispute over something like a hunting stand, mixed with alleged racism:
The shooting took place in a small township near the borders of four rural, wooded counties. During deer season the woods are crawling with people in blaze orange, and it's not unusual to hear of small disputes, over property lines or who owns what deer stand. But nothing has ever happened of this magnitude.
According to Sawyer County Sheriff Jim Meier, Chai Vang, 36, is accused of opening fire on a hunting party, killing six people and seriously wounding two others.
The dead include Robert Crotteau, 42; his son Joey, 20; Al Laski, 43; Mark Roidt, 28; and Jessica Willers, 27. Dennis Drew died of his wounds Monday night. Still hospitalized are Terry Willers, who was listed in critical condition, and Lauren Hesebeck, listed in fair condition.
Sheriff Meier say that the suspect was lost in the woods, and apparently wandered onto private property. There, he found and climbed into a deer stand. One of the property owners came by, spotted Vang in the stand and radioed back to his hunting party in a shack about a quarter of a mile away, asking who should be there. (...) 
"This wasn't really about hunting," the governor said. "Who would think that a little whatever happened out there ... a little dispute about who should be in a tree stand. This is the sort of thing that happens all the time, and the response was beyond what anybody could ever have imagined."
While authorities do not know why Vang allegedly opened fire, there have been previous clashes between Southeast Asian and white hunters in the region.
Locals have complained that the Hmong, refugees from Laos, do not understand the concept of private property and hunt wherever they see fit. In Minnesota, a fistfight once broke out after Hmong hunters crossed onto private land, said Ilean Her, director of the St. Paul-based Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans.
Also in Wisconsin, a white hunter was convicted of murdering a Hmong hunter in 2007:
A white hunter convicted of killing a Hmong man while both stalked squirrels in woods near Peshtigo was sentenced Wednesday to the maximum 69 years in prison.
James Nichols, 28, of Peshtigo, Wis., was convicted last month of second-degree intentional homicide, hiding a corpse and being a felon in possession of a firearm in the death of Cha Vang of Green Bay. The slaying rekindled racial tension in northern Wisconsin, where a Hmong deer hunter fatally shot six white hunters three years ago.
Vang, a 30-year-old father of five, was found Jan. 6 in a wildlife refuge where Nichols had also been hunting squirrels. Vang had a 3- to 4-inch wooden stick in his clenched teeth, and his body was hidden in a depression covered with a log and other debris. An autopsy indicated he was hit by a shotgun blast and stabbed five times.
Vang was born in Laos, fled to a refugee camp in Thailand and immigrated to the U.S. with his family in 2004. (...) Nichols previously served time in prison for burglary and was freed in 2002 and placed on parole.
Can felons own hunting guns and actually hunt with them? If not, why did this man have access to a gun in the first place? From the linked article:
But little attention has been paid to the effect that the court's decision could have on regulations defining which groups of people can be excluded from gun ownership.
"The Court might decide there are some classes of felons that ought to be treated differently from other classes of felons," a former solicitor general, Theodore Olson, said in an interview on Thursday about the prospect that the Supreme Court may eventually permit felons to own guns.
Crimes ranging from murder to writing a hot check can count as felonies. The felon-in-possession law applies to people convicted of state crimes as well as federal crimes.
At the end of 2001 there were 5.6 million adult felons living in this country who either had been to prison or were still behind bars, according to Justice Department figures. But the number of felons is actually much higher because many felons are sentenced to probation and never do any time.
The only felons who can lawfully retain a gun, according to exceptions written into the statute, are those convicted of anti-trust violations or crimes involving unfair trading practices.
In interviews, several legal experts say that lower court judges should interpret the Supreme Court's decision in Heller to permit non-violent felons to own weapons.
This article spells out the facts. Ex felons cannot own guns or be near guns. Raise your hand if you think it's a good idea for ex-felons to own and be able to shoot guns.

Here are some good suggestions for hunting safety:
Guns go bang. That's what they do. They are used safely millions upon millions of times every year, but the potential for injury and death is always there. For this reason, we need to follow basic safety rules at all times when handling firearms, including handguns like revolvers and pistols, rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, airguns, etc.
This opening statement is followed by ten common sense hunting gun safety rules. We can only hope that most hunters follow these hunting safety suggestions and understood rules for a safe hunting experience. Every year there are a number of injuries and even deaths during the firearms hunting season. Guns do go bang. Guns are dangerous and need to be treated as such at all times. This site keeps track of hunting accidents and has already listed a number of them for 2012. You can click for the incidents of accidental discharges with hunting guns that have resulted in injury or death. Some of the incidents do not include firearms injuries but other hunting accidents such as drowning, falls from hunting stands resulting in broken bones, and even a lightning strike during a hunting trip. But if you take a look at the incidents listed, most of them are injuries or death sustained while hunting with a gun.

I wish everyone happy hunting. Enjoy your time in the woods, the prairies or on the lakes. Practice common sense and come home alive.

UPDATE:

One of my commenters wrote this in response to felons getting gun rights restored: " There is a process for felons to request to have their civil rights restored. It has to go through the same level of court that convicted them. And it isnt (sic) easy." I feel compelled to disabuse him of that notion. Several articles  discuss this issue. The first recent one is this one from the New York Times:
For years, Mr. Zettergren had been barred from possessing firearms because of two felony convictions. He had a history of mental health problems and friends said he was dangerous. Yet Mr. Zettergren’s gun rights were restored without even a hearing, under a state law that gave the judge no leeway to deny the application as long as certain basic requirements had been met. Mr. Zettergren, then 36, wasted no time retrieving several guns he had given to a friend for safekeeping.
“If he hadn’t had his rights restored, in this particular instance, it probably would have saved the life of the other person,” said Denis Tracy, the prosecutor in Whitman County, who handled the murder case.
Under federal law, people with felony convictions forfeit their right to bear arms. Yet every year, thousands of felons across the country have those rights reinstated, often with little or no review. In several states, they include people convicted of violent crimes, including first-degree murder and manslaughter, an examination by The New York Times has found.
While previously a small number of felons were able to reclaim their gun rights, the process became commonplace in many states in the late 1980s, after Congress started allowing state laws to dictate these reinstatements — part of an overhaul of federal gun laws orchestrated by the National Rifle Association. The restoration movement has gathered force in recent years, as gun rights advocates have sought to capitalize on the 2008 Supreme Court ruling that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to bear arms.
And the Violence Policy has an article about this topic as well:
The current status of the "relief from disability" program is already resulting in the expenditure of significant judicial resources to make determinations as to whether individual felons are entitled to restoration of firearms privileges—resources that might better be spent hearing gun prosecution cases. This result was clearly not the intent of Congress when it zero-funded the "relief" program. Having courts making determinations regarding a felon's fitness for restoration of firearms privileges may actually cost taxpayers more than the ATF "relief" program since litigation is very expensive. As the Fifth Circuit observed in United States v. McGill5, "We cannot conceive that Congress intended to transfer the burden and responsibility of investigating the applicant's fitness to possess firearms from the ATF to the federal courts, which do not have the manpower or expertise to investigate or evaluate these applications."
The history of the guns-for-felons program proves the blatant hypocrisy of the National Rifle Association. The NRA calls for tougher enforcement of gun laws and swift, sure, and final punishment for criminals. But the NRA has worked harder to re-arm convicted felons than it ever has to keep guns out of criminals' hands. Congress should eliminate the "relief from disability" program once and for all.
Though this was an older article, it confirms the New York Times 2011 article, above. Surely we are better than this. 

31 comments:

  1. Can't say honestly that i want any felon to own a gun but i do there is a case to be made for a nonviolent person who served their time or otherwise paid for their crime to regain the privilege after a certain number of years living lawfully. Http://hogpredators.com.

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    1. This article is over four years old. Using the Heller decision to allow felons to posess firearms has been tried unsuccessfully at least three times in California. I havent heard of any successful use of Heller by a felon.
      There is a process for felons to request to have their civil rights restored. It has to go through the same level of court that convicted them. And it isnt easy.

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    2. Yes I know that. Felons have tried using the Heller decision to get away with all kinds of things- mostly unsuccessfully, I don't put anything past the NRA. Gun rights advocates would like to restore gun rights to felons. Read about it here- http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/14/us/felons-finding-it-easy-to-regain-gun-rights.html?pagewanted=all

      And here: http://www.vpc.org/studies/felons.htm

      And here: http://crooksandliars.com/susie-madrak/thanks-nra-its-often-easy-violent-off

      There are more articles where that came from.

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    3. Minnesota state law returns a felon's rights to him after their sentence is discharged. This includes posessing firearms, voting and holding public office. I wasnt aware of that.
      There is an execption for felons convicted of violent crimes which bans posession for life. The felon can go to court to request these rights back and if denied may reapply in three years. In my thinking this is moderately ummm messed up. (language)
      And as for violent felons being able to request gun rights back is even more ummm, messed up. As for the contention that the NRA was backing this for the purpose of helping out felons, I'll need to find a more neutral source than the VPC before I'll go with that. Whenever any group with a goal makes a claim, I tend to go looking for independant confirmation.
      What are your feelings on felons getting their right to vote and hold office after their sentence is served? I have to say I have mixed emotions about that.

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    4. I don't have a problem with ex felons voting once "off paper". As to holding public office, that's another story. It seems like we have some questionable people in public office as it is. Voting won't kill or injure anyone. That's quite different from an ex felon with a deadly weapon don't you think?

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    5. That is where I'm of a mixed mind. Again, I always had this notion that you do a felony, you lose those rights. Including posessing firearms. Now I find out it's a maybe kinda sort of thing.
      While I'm in favor of the you've paid your debt to society, now go forth and sin no more kind of thing, when you go part way on civil rights you're asking for trouble.
      So I'd have to say if you're going to lose your rights when you commit a felony, you lose them all, firearms, voting, holding office. Make it for life so we dont have to mess with these court cases.
      All they would really have to do in Minnesota is remove the line in the law allowing felons to petition the court. Bam, no more problems or expense except with federal felonies, which fall under the federal court system. And I'd say go back to the old ways with them also.

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  2. The hunting season has started here in Oregon, too. Every year there are several wounded, and sometimes killed, because they fail to secure their loaded guns, or they shoot at someone thinking they are an animal, or they're drunk. Enforcement of the rules is almost non-existent, and training is light.

    Last year there was a move here by the Fish and Game department to mandate that hunters wear orange. It was fought tooth-and-nail by the pro-gun groups. They couldn't deny the statistics showing that wearing orange significantly decreased injuries, so their only argument was, basically, "don't tell us what to do" and nonsensical talk of "liberty." In the end they bowed down to the gun guys, as always, and only minors were required, but adults continued to be stupid.

    Furthermore, the gun lobby won the right to transport loaded rifles on moving ATVs and motorcycles here in Oregon. No sooner had they won the right when a father and son did exactly that. The son's unsecured, loaded rifle on his ATV discharged, hitting the father. Stupid.

    We'll see what carnage comes this year.

    My blog post on those issues: http://newtrajectory.blogspot.com/2011/11/preventable-hunting-accidents-in-oregon.html

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    1. I believe one of the reasons the motorcycle gun transport law was changed in Oregon last year was because the previous law was worded in a way that could criminalize a permit holding motorcyclist for conceal carrying a gun depending on what road they were on. The previous law required a motorcyclist to get off his bike and unload his weapon alongside the road, which is an unnecessarily dangerous thing to do, not to mention increasing the potential to frighten someone, and thus violate brandishing laws, in the process.

      As a gun owner and motorcyclist, I lobbied our legislature to fix the law and make it what it is today. If the anti-gun folks would have more tightly focused the law on hunting, then I believe loaded weapons on ATV's would still be illegal today, since ATV's are typically off-road vehicles.

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    2. Yes, it's always the fault of the people who are trying to prevent these things from happening in the first place. Really Migo? How about not having a gun on a motorcycle? It seems like a bad idea to me. I like the previous law. It made it harder for someone on a motorcycle to take a pot shot at someone or accidentally discharge the gun. Good idea, I say. Now we have opened up the rest of the world to the dangers of guns with loaded guns on motorcycles and in cars where they can quickly shoot someone if they get p^%$ed off. So be careful out there on your motorcycle with your gun. I hope you don't get into a road rage situation yourself.

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    3. I can respect you for not wanting to allow people to have conceal carry permits. I won't agree with you, but I can respect you. The problem with the motorcycle loaded weapon law was that it was being eroded for permit holders under the disguise of hunting safety. The legislators saw through that.

      Permit holders are allowed by law to carry on public streets. They can do that while walking, while riding a bicycle or motorcycle, and while driving. Please remember that the difference between a pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorcyclist is small once the bike is stopped. Dismount the bike and you're a pedestrian. Put your leg back over the bike and you're a motorcycle operator or bicyclist. If you intend to remove the right away from motorcyclists, then it must be removed from all others. Please be honest with us. It's not about the permit holding motorcyclist with the concealed gun, it's about the permit holder carrying a concealed weapon in the first place, regardless of transportation.

      Shootouts while operating a motorcycle are extremely rare. Even in the article you published yesterday, the bikers parked in a police parking lot before guns were drawn. It's much easier to get into a road rage incident in a car, truck, or as a pedestrian over a parking space, than it is while on a moving motorcycle. Regardless of what you see on TV, operating a motorcycle with one hand while attention is focused away from the road and traffic will most likely get the motorcycle operator killed.

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    4. @ Migo: From what I recall, the law I was referring to was specifically about hunting rifles being allowed to be transported on ATVs and motorcycles while loaded. I'll have to confirm that.

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    5. @Baldr: HB2792 that Democrat Gov. Kitzhaber signed into law about a year ago, clarified carrying guns on motorcycles, although I might have been wrong about previous restrictions on permit holding motorcyclists. However, previously, motorcyclists without permits caught with an unloaded gun in a backpack or saddle bag on the way to the range for practice could still have been arrested for a Class A misdemeanor.

      Now the law treats operators of motorcycles, ATVs, and snowmobiles the same and clearly defines how someone without a permit can carry a gun on a vehicle that has no lockable storage.

      Another thing this law did which is relevant to other discussions on this blog is that it now prevents people who have been convicted of person felonies from petioning the court for relief after losing their gun ownership rights, if the person felony involved the use of a deadly weapon. In other words, if you are convicted of a person felony anywhere then you can not own a gun in Oregon and your gun rights can not be reinstated by the court.

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    6. Migo- " clearly defines how someone without a permit can carry a gun on a vehicle that has no lockable storage." Are you serious? Not a good idea. Someone without a permit should not be carrying a gun anywhere.

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    7. You clearly stated the reason for Oregon's new law. There was no clear definition for how someone without a permit could carry a gun on a vehicle with no lockable storage to the range for practice, to the airport to catch a flight, etc. Not a good idea? You still want all gun owners to practice and train, right? It hardly seems smart to practice at home, unless you're a rich movie star.

      The new law now allows gun owners in that predicament to carry their guns if they have trigger locks and/or are inside a locked box.

      Incidentally, people legally carry guns without permits all the time as long as certain restrictions are met. Here's a link to my city's code and their restrictions. As you can see, a concealed handgun license nullifies most of the restrictions, which is why many get licenses in the first place.

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    8. What's your point again? I think we've about exhausted this topic.

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    9. "Are you serious? Not a good idea. Someone without a permit should not be carrying a gun anywhere."

      Minnesota law allows this in a number of circumstances clearly spelled out in statute. Are you aware of a significant number of criminal incidents involving people carrying in MN under those circumstances?

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    10. Really Bryan- unnecessary.

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  3. So are you advocating removing the state's powers to reinstate civil rights to felons? That seems to be what started all of this. The federal government allowed the states to set their own standards for whether a felon can get his civil rights restored to him. And for a state level felony, they have to go through state courts.
    This sounds like something that could be easily worked out on the state level through modifying the law in the legislature. I'd be interested in who authored the bill allowing felons to get their civil rights back. I shall look into it when I can. I honestly couldnt see myself voting for a law that allows a violent felon to petition the court to be allowed to posess firearms again. But then, I'm not a politian.
    Do you possibly have any sources of your assertion that the NRA is trying to arm felons that are more impartial than the VPC? I'm still looking, but havent found any yet.

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    1. Will look or ask but don't have time right now.

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    2. You might be interested in this opinion piece- http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2012/04/foghorn/on-the-restoration-of-felons-gun-rights/

      Here is a blog in response to the NYTimes article I linked above. There was a quote from that article that indicated NRA support for restoration of rights. Since they also support restoration of gun rights for mentally ill people and not taking guns away from very ill military personnel, it is perfectly logical to believe the NRA is in favor of restoring felon gun rights. After all, it gives them more members and power.

      This is the quote from the above NYTimes article in case you didn't read it: " part of an overhaul of federal gun laws orchestrated by the National Rifle Association. The restoration movement has gathered force in recent years, as gun rights advocates have sought to capitalize on the 2008 Supreme Court ruling that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to bear arms."
      Further, the Violence Policy Center researches what it supports. Too bad you don't believe them. They do a fine job of researching important topics concerning guns and gun rights.

      Check this one out: http://www.tnr.com/blog/timothy-noah/99709/forget-ballots-should-ex-cons-get-guns# From this article:" One deeply unfortunate but hardly surprising consequence of District of Columbia v. Heller, the 2008 Supreme Court decision affirming a Second Amendment right to bear arms regardless of whether one belonged to a "well-regulated" (or even poorly-regulated) militia, was its acceleration of a movement by the NRA to restore gun rights to felons at the state level, federal prohibition be damned. Michael Luo of the New York Times reported last year that in at least 11 states "many" nonviolent felons, sometimes after a brief probationary period, are automatically permitted to own guns after they've served their sentences. In Ohio, Minnesota, and Virginia, violent felons can petition to have their gun-ownership rights restored, and in Georgia and Nebraska "scores" of pardons that specifically allow convicted felons to own guns are issued every year. Even the federal prohibition has included an appeals process for the past 47 years thanks to a "relief from disability" program initiated at the request of gun manufacturers back in 1965. One pardon attorney quoted by Luo estimated that felons have a decent chance of eventually being permitted to own guns in more than half the states. "By [Republicans'] logic," Marie Diamond wrote on the liberal ThinkProgress Web site, "millions of ex-convicts can be trusted with guns, but not with ballots.""

      From this article- http://projects.registerguard.com/turin/2011/nov/14/felons-find-it-easy-to-regain-their-gun-rights/

      "Pro-gun groups have pressed the issue in the last few years in states as diverse as Alaska, Ohio, Oregon and Tennessee."

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    3. I'm skeptical of groups on either side and require some study to determine if its true. I do the same with the NRA. The VPC could easily increase there veracity if in the midst of saying the NRA did it is to give details on how they did it. Something that can be checked independantly. The NRA has the same problem.
      So are you against any felons getting their rights to posess firearms? Or just the violent ones? I'm of the all or nothing mindset. I'm not quite getting the logic of allowing felons to vote or hold office or have guns if they're willing to do something that will put them away for a year or more.

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    4. If you read both articles I provided, it is clear that the NRA was behind changing the laws that made it easier for felons to get their gun rights back. The NRA is interested in having pretty much anybody have guns. They have shown that to be true time after time. As to your last question, yes. All of them. Felons with votes are not dangerous. Felons with guns very well could be.

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    5. And you can read this article from a Virginia gun rights group to see how invested they are in getting felons gun rights back. These are the same folks who want guns on campus and everywhere else in Virginia. http://www.ammoland.com/2012/09/24/virginia-supreme-court-reopens-door-on-gun-rights-restoration-for-felons/#axzz280YBcgXe

      Here's another article with the same statement- that the NRA got laws passed in the 1980s to let states decide if felons could get gun rights restored- http://www.newser.com/story/133270/felons-get-gun-rights-back-easily-in-many-states.html

      You might be interested in this article: http://www.publicintegrity.org/2012/08/14/10677/state-laws-vary-widely-voting-rights-felons

      Here is another good article: http://mindchanging.com/politics/2011/11/14/guns-felons-and-restoration-rights/

      From that article: " Although data is lacking because of the failure to regularize information about gun ownership, preliminary analysis shows that “Since 1995, more than 3,300 felons and people convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors have regained their gun rights in the state — 430 in 2010 alone — according to the analysis of data provided by the state police and the court system. Of that number, more than 400 — about 13 percent — have subsequently committed new crimes, the analysis found. More than 200 committed felonies, including murder, assault in the first and second degree, child rape and drive-by shooting.”

      Such permissive restoration laws not only diminishes public safety but erodes public confidence that the constitutional right of individuals to own firearms is being properly balanced by law-makers against the rights of all other citizens to safety and security. Without federal oversight, permissive states will continue to restore gun rights to criminals, which runs contrary to the claim of the NRA and other pro-gun advocates that common sense gun laws already on the books should be enforced."

      I know a man who came to my church after his release from prison where he spent some years on a drug charge. He was getting his life back and so started going to church. Subsequently, he started volunteering for several local organizations that work on peace and domestic violence. He now has a job with one of these groups. I have had a chance to talk to him on several occasions. He is quite a nice guy and has gained the trust of many in the community by speaking and volunteering. He knows he can't be near a gun or he would end up back in jail or prison. But there is no reason why this man who is giving to the community in many ways, should not be allowed to cast a vote. He cares about the city and who runs it and the programs funded by the state and federal governments. He does not make a lot of money so he cares about programs that might assist him in living his life and provide help for him while he is helping others.

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    6. It seems like a pretty easy fix to me. Remove the part of the statute that allows judicial restoration for felons convicted of violent crimes. It seems like a logical choice to put state courts in charge of state level offences. Plus the legislators who pass the bills controling it are more answerable to the voters.

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    7. It's not easy at all. The NRA would fight it. The legislators are under the spell of the NRA. The voters have no idea. These things fly under the radar.

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  4. ssgmarkcr, the conservative polticians in the state legislatures and those who are in the governor's office and other positions were pretty thoroughly bought and paid for by ALEC and other special interest groups, notably among them, the NRA, who used non-registered entities that effectively operated as unlicensed lobbying entities above and beyond their own up-front lobbying efforts.

    Get real. Those legislator only are accountable to the corrupt entities that pay them to enact the pro-gun legislation --- anything that will sell more guns and ammo to benefit the gun manufacturers.

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    1. dog gone, So you're saying that Governor Dayton has been bought by a conservative lobbying group? As opposed to a liberal one?

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    2. No the majority of the Republican legislature has been bought by the gun lobby. Governor Dayton stood up to them when he vetoed Shoot First. That was all he could do once the bill passed both houses under Republican leadership.

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    3. I just wanted to get clarification of dog gone's statement.

      ssgmarkcr, the conservative polticians in the state legislatures and those who are in the governor's office and other positions were pretty thoroughly bought and paid for by ALEC and other special interest groups,

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    4. dog gone can answer but the statement was referring to the many state legislatures who are under the spell of the NRA and have passed a bunch of really bad gun bills. It was a general statement and should be taken as such because it's true. There are wonderful exceptions such as Governor Dayton, thank God.

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  5. I think that war on terror must be revised as it is creating a lot of violence all over the world.

    http://www.gunnation.com

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