Although I’m pro gun-control and consider grown men brandishing weapons in public, open carry or not, to be sociopathic, dickless, blood thirsty cowards, I myself have been a legal gun owner for decades. As a single woman who’s lived alone for many years I still see it as a necessity for personal protection of my home as people like me tend to be typical targets of criminal acts.
About a week and a half ago, I participated in another petitioning event for the Second Chances Campaign at a local craft beer festival. I’m pleased so many Floridians are feverishly working alongside me to get the Second Chance Florida’s Voting Restoration Amendment placed on the ballot for 2018. We have until December 31, 2017 to bring people who have completed all forms of their felony convictions closer to being able to exercise their right to vote. I’m fully expecting push back from Florida’s conservative politicians and supporters in light of Virginia’s Governor Elect Democrat Ralph Northam’s defeat of Republican challenger Ed Gillespie with the help of so many former felons whom were able to exercise their right to vote.
I came across a clean cut, well dressed, articulate black gentleman I’ll call “AD” who thanked me for my efforts in this campaign. AD went on to explain he had a felony conviction on his record, which according to him was nonviolent and not only was he concerned about regaining his right to vote, he was also concerned about his gun rights with regards to personal protection. AD is a private business owner and at times carries large sums of money. AD also indicated being trained in the martial arts but he wanted to know if I could bring this issue to the forefront as well. This is exactly why it’s very important for activists, community organizers and politicians to be among the citizens as much as possible. I never thought about the gun rights issue in this context even as informed as I try to be. Floridians with a history of domestic abuse don’t generally lose gun rights in Florida. Floridians with a history of mental illness AND a history of violence also don’t generally lose gun rights in Florida.
Should having a felony conviction on your record mean you lose the right to personal protection with a firearm forever? What if your felony wasn’t a violent crime which involved the use of a firearm? Should former felons who desire to have the gun rights restored be subject paying attorneys via a long, drawn out legal process? Why can’t gun rights be automatically restored for nonviolent felons after all terms of their sentence is completed?