The phrase convicted felon makes most people’s ears perk up. There is a stigma associated with those that have been convicted of a felony crime. Without any background knowledge of the nature of the felony conviction or the atmosphere the crime took place, the word “felon” has the ability to define a person.
The truth of the matter is not all felons are created equally. Some felons were convicted of violent crimes and some don’t have a violent bone in their bodies. Some of the convictions occured more than 10, 20, or even 30 years ago. Yet in most states they are treated the same and none are permitted to own modern firearms.
The Oklahoma City police arrested a felon last weekend at a gun show because he was attempting to sell a gun. The officers uncovered his record as a convicted felon while completing a background check. KOCO.com has the report.
Police said Richard Britt was attempting to sell an H&K P30 handgun at the show. Off-duty Oklahoma City police officers who we working security for the gun show had talked to Britt and discovered he was a convicted felon. Britt was convicted previously of second-degree burglary and receiving or concealing stolen property.
According to the police report, an officer asked Britt if he knew he was a convicted felon and could not have a firearm.
“Yea I was only imprisoned for nine and a half months, and it was so long that I thought they had pardoned it,” Britt reportedly told the officer. Britt was convicted in 1985.
Thirty years is a long time to go without being permitted by the State the Second Amendment right to own a modern firearm. In a previous Felony Friday entry,Should Felons Have Second Amendment Rights Restored Upon Release?, I questioned if individuals can truly be considered free if they are not permitted to defend themselves with equal force.
In order to attempt to understand the influence firearm prohibition can have on an individual it is helpful to ask yourself the following question. Can an individual be considered free if their ability to protect their life or provide for their family is impeded?
If you agree that the answer to this question is no, then you would have to agree that previously convicted felons are not free. Please browse the Felony Friday archives at the end of the article. This will serve as a reminder for the numerous ways the State charges individuals with absurd non-violent felonies.
The harmless and non-violent nature of these crimes proves that it is pretty easy to lose the right to self-defense in the United States.
I don’t know if Mr. Britt is a harmless man, but the State must have thought him to be when they released him after only serving a 9 month sentence. Without knowing the circumstances surrounding Mr. Britt’s crime in 1985 it is hard to know if his crime was violent or non-violent. The fact that it was second-degree burglary makes it likely that their was an aspect of violence or threat of violence involved in the crime.
The bottom line, if in 1985 the government did not take issue with Britt freely roaming the streets and surmised that he was not a threat to society, then why would he not be fit to own a firearm? Obviously, he could obtain a firearm illegally or acquire a host of other weapons such as knives or baseball bats legally. In fact, we know that he obtained at least one firearm illegally and it was his attempt to sell it that resulted in his arrest. This is proof that the law does not work. If an individual wants to acquire a firearm, legally or illegally, they are going to find a way to do it one way or another. If the State feels an individual owning a firearm creates a threat to society, then they should not be allowed out of the prison system.
The current laws almost universally do not allow felons in any state to own firearms. This is immoral. For the State to take away the ability of a person to defend themselves and refer to them as being free, is an insult to freedom.
Check out our past editions of Felony Friday!
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