A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. That is the wording of the second amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America. Nothing more, nothing less. Why then, is there an exception added every single day?
This Country Was Founded On Certain Principles That Seem To Be Ignored Routinely.
There is a lot that I don’t know and this topic may be one of them that I don’t know much about. If you find that to be the case, as you read feel free to let me know in the comments below if you have documentation to show. However, I have read the Constitution and The Bill of Rights hundreds of times over the years.
What I don’t find is any mention of or amendment to our Constitution (Yes it’s even ours as felons),the Bill of Rights, or the Declaration of Independence, stating citizens convicted of a felony should be denied the basic freedoms this country was founded on, the second amendment right to bear arms and the right to vote.
I also read the Declaration of Independence and it states that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” —— Thomas Jefferson.
Most, if not all of the men who contributed to the establishment of our great country would be deemed felons in many ways. They founded this country on the basis of starting over and second chances. They felt a change needed to be made and risked their lives to make those necessary changes.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that ex-offenders or felons are all great people that were looking to make a statement for change or for any good reason, nor am I advocating that violent offenders be given their second amendment rights back. They have validated the reasons for not having them.
What I am advocating for is a desire to change or overhaul our justice system as it currently stands. Our system is broken, but that is a topic for another time.
I am writing this to try and help with making the public aware of how broken and unjust the justice system really is and to inform those with a felony record who do try and recover from the mistakes of their past, live an honest lifestyle, and contribute to the good of society of their rights and limitations.
Restoration of Rights
Currently, there is only one way for a felon to regain his or her right to possess a firearm in Texas and that is through a full pardon. Given the very limited number of pardons issued from the governor’s office, a pardon is extremely unlikely and very expensive. Until Texas state law is changed in regard to “felon in possession,” it is a felony to possess a firearm unless five years have elapsed since a sentence has become complete, and then only in the residence for self-protection.
Felons Right To Bear Arms Restored After Five Years in Residence ONLY
Under Texas state law a convicted felon may possess a firearm in the residence, in which he lives, once five years have elapsed from the date his sentence was discharged. This means the later of release from prison or parole. This is not true under federal law. So, while a convicted felon could lawfully possess a firearm in these very limited circumstances under state law, he could possibly be charged and convicted under federal law, even though current federal policy is to defer to state law on this issue.
Voting Rights for Ex-Offenders In Texas
Individuals convicted of a felony are ineligible to vote while in prison, on parole, or on probation. Voting rights are automatically restored upon completion of all supervised release. Ex-offenders should re-register to vote. If you are an ex-offender or felon in another state you can see the voting rights for ex-offenders by state here.
For more interesting information regarding voting rights in the United States check out FairVote. I think you will find it very eye-opening.
Felons Should Have Their Rights Restored Automatically
I believe that felons should be able to complete their obligation to society for their crimes of conviction. Therefore, I advocate for state and federal legislation which would allow for automatic restoration of all rights after a waiting period, during which the individual demonstrated good conduct. It is unfair and inhumane to force convicted felons to live under lifetime disabilities when they have paid their dues to society and completed their sentences, moving on to law-abiding lives. I believe people can redeem themselves and should be able to live as normal members of society after they have earned the right and shown the ability to do so. The stain of a felony conviction is crippling and at some point should be removed for those felons who have changed their lives and struggled to become honest, productive members of society.
Felons Should Also Have The Same Earning And Career Opportunities As Non-Felons
Jobs for felons are hard to come by. Careers for felons, as careers are typically thought of, are almost unheard of. Most of the time an application for employment by a felon will usually end up in the discard pile or the trash can without any insight into the skills, qualifications, or their current lifestyle. There are companies that break the mold and either hire or give opportunities for ex-felons. One of these companies and one that I have researched and currently work with is Wealthy Affiliate. You can read my review of Wealthy Affiliate here.
I hope that you found this article helpful and informative. If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comment section below.
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