Mississippi Looks To Restore Gun, Voting Rights For Some Felons

AP Photo/Brittainy Newman, File

While I get why current law bars felons from exercising their Second Amendment rights, it's not something I actually agree with. If they're a danger to society still, why are they on the streets? Besides, those that are don't seem to have a problem getting a gun as things currently stand, so the prohibition on them having one lawfully doesn't seem to do much good, now does it?


This is especially true with non-violent felons. Someone who commits mail fraud isn't likely to take up gang-banging as a hobby, now are they?

All of this applies to voting rights as well, but many anti-gun lawmakers seek to restore voting rights for felons while trying to strip gun rights from everyone.

In Mississippi, there's a proposal that would restore both for non-violent offenders.

For the first time in more than a decade, the House of Representatives will consider legislation to restore voting rights and Second Amendment rights to people convicted of some nonviolent felony offenses.  

The House Constitution Committee on Wednesday afternoon advanced House Bill 1609, a bipartisan proposal to automatically restore suffrage to people convicted of nonviolent disenfranchising felonies after they’ve completed the terms of their sentence.  No committee member voted against the legislation.

“I’m very excited about this bill,” Democratic Rep. Cheikh Taylor of Starkville said. “In my opinion, this is one of the greatest bipartisan bills we’ve passed since changing the state flag.” 

Under the Mississippi Constitution, people convicted of any of 10 types of felonies lose their voting rights for life. Various opinions from the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office expanded the list of disenfranchising felonies to 23. 

The House measure would allow people convicted of nonviolent offenses such as bad check writing, perjury, and bribery to obtain their suffrage if they have not been convicted of another felony for five years after completing their sentence and paying any outstanding fines. 


Seems reasonable, if you ask me.

Violent felons will still have to deal with the ramifications of their actions, though they can apply to have their rights restored down the line if they keep their noses clean.

And let's understand that a lot of these felons aren't actually bad people, particularly those for bad check writing. Sometimes, people get in over their head and make bad decisions, sure they can cover it, only to find out the hard way that they can't.

I'm not saying they shouldn't be punished, but most of those crimes aren't situations where people continue to break the law and none of them are generally people who are also violent unless they're also charged with violent offenses.

The truth is that if you want people to act like they're productive members of society, you've got to treat them as such to some degree. Punish wrongdoing, but then we need to stop pretending they've got something akin Mark of Cane upon them or something. No one needs that.

I hope Mississippi does this and makes it happen. A lot of people in the state will benefit from this, and I'm glad to see a pro-gun state taking this step.


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