The North Carolina Supreme Court threw out a ban on a convicted felon having a gun.
I’ve read this from two different news outlets and two blogs (Say Uncle and the Confederate Yankee which he links to) but I think it all boils down to a single source which gives me insufficient information to answer the questions I want answered. Therefore I will speculate.
My speculation is that this felon, Barney Britt, had his gun rights restored under Federal law in 1987. North Carolina had no law banning convicted felons from gun ownership so he was able to own guns. Then in 2004 North Carolina passed a law that said convicted felons could not own a gun even if their rights had been restored under Federal law. Now he suddenly, after up to 17 years of legal gun ownership, he was prohibited from owning guns due to no recent fault of his own.
What I want to know is the reasoning of the court. Was it an ex post facto issue? Or was it in someway based on Heller and/or the Second Amendment and/or the North Carolina Constitution provision (in many ways nearly identical to the 2nd Amendment).
If it is an ex post facto issue then it’s not all that newsworthy. If it’s because of a right to keep and bear arms issue then it could much more interesting.
As pointed out by the dissent “the majority has crafted an individualized exception for a sympathetic plaintiff.” But my quick scan of the ruling did not reveal guidelines/tests for other plaintiffs to determine their status other than “his uncontested lifelong nonviolence towards other citizens, his thirty years of lawabiding conduct since his crime, his seventeen years of responsible, lawful firearm possession between 1987 and 2004, and his assiduous and proactive compliance with the 2004 amendment, has affirmatively demonstrated that he is not among the class of citizens who pose a threat to public peace and safety.”
I expect the legislature will be amending the law to carve out exceptions or a process by which some felons can have their gun rights restored.