Why Can't Felons Own Firearms - Part I
For your weekend listen we recommend an episode of WYNC's podcast More Perfect titled Gun Show which offers a deep dive into the evolution of the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. The centerpiece of this podcast is the Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller. Listen to the oral arguments here.
The Basics of Heller
The District of Columbia enacted certain restrictions on gun ownership within the District. Namely, registration, storage requirements, and a prohibition of unregistered firearms. Dick Heller, an armed security guard in the District of Columbia applied for a special license to carry his firearm while not on duty and was denied. He sued and asked the courts to prohibit certain parts of the District of Columbia's registration and storage requirements.
Gun Ownership and Ordinary Americans
The Heller decision found that individual gun ownership in the home is a right to be exercised by all Americans. Specifically, Justice Scalia said,
"We are aware of the problem of handgun violence in this country, and we take seriously the concerns raised by the many amici who believe that prohibition of handgun ownership is a solution. The Constitution leaves the District of Columbia a variety of tools for combating that problem, including some measures regulating handguns. But the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table. These include the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home. Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct."
Why Can't Convicted Felons Own Firearms?
Like all constitutional rights, there are limitations and restrictions. One limitation the Court reaffirmed in the Heller decision was the longstanding prohibition against felons carrying firearms.
"Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms."
The reaffirmation in Heller comes from "longstanding prohibitions" which this blog will discuss over time.
Restoring Your Rights
If you are a convicted felon and you'd like to restore your right to own a firearm contact us at (405) 232-0000 or (918) 409-0417. Or contact us online.