I received an email from Frank G. in Spokane today. He was confused by something he read in the Spokesman-Review (Spokane Washington) newspaper. The Spokesman-Review says:
The Idaho Senate has spiked legislation that would have expanded the list of the worst kind of felons banned from owning firearms.
Senate lawmakers voted 29-6 on Friday to reject including terrorists, criminal gang members, human trafficking and felony riot convictions as qualifiers to lose one’s right to own firearms.
I don’t know a LOT about gun laws, but I’m pretty certain that federal law prohibits all convicted felons from owning firearms. It doesn’t matter if they were convicted of murder or embezzlement. Felony conviction? No guns for you.
So, is the idea that “the worst kind of felons … terrorists, criminal gang members [and people convicted of] human trafficking and felony riot” would be SUPER DUPER prohibited persons?
The confusion is because under Idaho law a convicted felony who as served there sentence may own a gun unless they have committed certain types of felonies. Basically non-violent crimes, such as embezzlement, do not put you on the Idaho “no guns for life” list. But under Federal law you could be convicted of using the wrong packaging for shipping shellfish and end up prohibited of possessing firearms for life.
The legislature was attempting to add terrorism, arson, theft by extortion, human trafficking, felony riot, hijacking, racketeering, and supplying firearms to a criminal gang as bars to further firearm possession. It failed, as Frank pointed out, in the Senate 29-6.
The question one would ask is, “With Federal law prohibiting all felons from firearms possession how does Idaho restoring firearms rights after completion of their sentence help anyone?”
Perhaps some lawyers can answer this better than I can, but I would say it means these people have to get the attention of a Federal Prosecutor who probably has “bigger fish to fry” then some little old lady who embezzled a few thousand dollars a decade ago who now wants to defend herself in her home with the gun her husband left in the dresser draw when he died.
I would like to suggest it might be a “good first step” to get changes in Federal such that it is similar to Idaho law. It’s just common sense.
* Note, that except for things like murder, after five years a person convicted of other things including counterfeiting, unlawful possession of destructive devices, rape, and kidnapping, may apply to the commission of pardons to get their firearms rights restored.