At What Point Should A Felon No Longer Be A Felon?

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Rights restoration and disqualifiers are two subjects often explored. When we get right down to it, and the “shall not be infringed” crowd does have it right, where in our Bill of Rights does it say “reasonable” regulation’s allowed? Even some of your more right leaning near libertarians might say “of course a violent felon should not have a firearm”, but what is really “reasonable”? At what point have people paid their debt to society and when, if ever, should they be able to drop the felon scarlet letter?

Nikki Tierney is one such felon. While nothing in the NJ 101.5 report by Bill Spadea indicates Tierney is interested in removing this disqualifier in order to purchase arms, that does not make her case any less valid or pertinent to these pages.

For the past 14 years, Nikki Tierney has served as a champion for those battling addiction.

Her journey has been a challenging one starting with her own battle with addiction, which led to a felony conviction and the loss of custody of her four children.

The felony was a result of a guilty plea when she was arrested and charged after being drunk at the beach while watching her 3-year-old. She ended up in the water needing to be rescued.

After successfully completing the rehabilitation program through Drug Court, she regained custody of her kids and started to rebuild her life.

In 2021 she launched a charity, “Hope if Never Lost”, in order to help others. Her fight has turned to helping get felonies expunged for people like her who have turned their lives around so they don’t have the albatross and blockade of the conviction hurting their ability to earn income and live a normal life.

It’s a sad situation of gaining a criminal record over a substance abuse problem. That’s not to read that criminal behavior should be tolerated and crime go unpunished. Where should the line be drawn between the rendering of treatment and writing someone off as a criminal?

In Tierney’s case, she was able to make it through a rehabilitation, regain custody of her kids, and manage to keep herself out of trouble for years. The current expungement process where she lives does not include the type of infractions of the law she committed.

Going back to the “shall not be infringed” way of thinking, people in Tierney’s situation should have a way to fully restore their rights. The progressive talking heads are always going on about criminal justice reform, police reform, and restoring the voting rights of felons, but where are they on this? And by “this”, I specifically mean the subject of having a process for the full restoration of rights for non-violent felons, and why not formerly violent felons, including their right to keep and bear arms.

Unfortunately in our current state of politics, lawmakers in power would much rather see the creation of more laws being put on the books, which ultimately translates to more arrests and potential felons.

If you’d like to hear more of Tierney’s situation, visit the page including her interview HERE.