(ME) Loophole allows felons to have firearms


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Drizzt
April 11, 2003, 07:35 PM
Loophole allows felons to have firearms


By: Daniel Dunkle April 10, 2003

State law is clear that if you have been convicted of a felony, you cannot legally own firearms, but the state has waived that restriction for many Maine felons who use black powder firearms.

A felon who meets certain standards can apply to the Maine Department of Public Safety for a permit to carry non-concealed firearms. The rules regulating these weapon permits are not based on the crime the felon committed, so even someone who has been convicted of murder could, theoretically, receive a permit, according to Lt. John Dyer of the Maine State Police.

The state has given permits to 11 local felons since the early 1980s, including individuals from Rockland, Tenants Harbor, Thomaston, Union, Vinalhaven, Waldoboro, Warren and Washington. Among them are people convicted of burglary, drug trafficking, theft, assault on an officer and even possession of a firearm by a felon.

For a felon, getting a gun permit is not a simple process. A felon cannot receive the permit unless five years have passed since the felon completed his or her sentence, according to Dyer. That means a person who was sentenced to probation must complete that probation and wait five years before applying for a permit.

Letters are sent to the felon's judge, prosecutor and local police department stating that the felon has applied for the weapon permit, Dyer said. If any of these people object to it, the felon will not receive the permit, he added.

Even if a felon receives the permit, the only weapon he or she can carry is a black powder firearm, Dyer said. Black powder guns are sometimes referred to as muzzle-loaders because the powder and the bullet must be loaded into the gun through the barrel.

There is a $25 fee for the permit. The permit is not limited to hunting season and the felon is allowed to possess a black powder gun year round.

Dyer said one reason for the waiver process is that the federal government does not define black powder weapons as firearms. In Maine, they are considered firearms.

Rockland Police Chief Alfred Ockenfels said he was surprised that any felon is given a permit to carry a firearm.

Ockenfels said when he receives a letter from the state regarding a felon's application, he always objects to the felon receiving the permit.

"Once a felon, always a felon," Ockenfels said. "It's a scarlet letter."

He said he has had six requests for weapon permits and that was six too many. He said the firearm prohibition serves as a deterrent to would-be felons. He said he will be asking the state Legislature to revisit the issue in hopes that the permit process will be abolished.

Ockenfels added that he is a gun enthusiast, a hunter, a hunter safety instructor and a member of the National Rifle Association.

"I'm certainly no shrinking violet when it comes to legal firearm ownership," he said, but added, "If you want to hunt or own a firearm, you need to be a lawful citizen."

Thomaston Police Chief Kevin Haj said the permit process is probably a good system if it is not abused, but he still has some reservations about it. He said some felons are just people who made a stupid decision when they were 17 or 18 years old.

Dyer said the only other way a felon can receive the right to carry firearms is if the felon receives a pardon from the governor. He said one felon who received such a pardon in the past later used a gun to kill his wife.


http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=7659406&BRD=1464&PAG=461&dept_id=179644&rfi=6

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Standing Wolf
April 11, 2003, 11:08 PM
He said he has had six requests for weapon permits and that was six too many. He said the firearm prohibition serves as a deterrent to would-be felons.

I'm sure the loss of their Second Amendment civil rights does not deter prospective felons. If they were smart enough to think about things like that ahead of time, they'd be bright enough to realize crime hardly ever pays.

That saidâ„¢, I'm not sure the loss of Second Amendment civil rights is too great a penalty to pay for violent felonies. I could be persuaded to give non-violent felons a second chance, but only if lots of conditions were met, including full restitution, becoming a tax payer, et cetera.

Sir Galahad
April 11, 2003, 11:23 PM
The BATF does not consider muzzleloaders to be firearms under the need for regulation. Which is why you can order a replica 1860 Colt Army revolver through the mail with no paperwork involved in most U.S. states. And that is why you can order a Sharps 1859 breechloader (A "Beecher's Bible") that takes pre-made paper cartridges as well as a replica Brown Bess musket on to a Knight inline muzzleloader through the mail because they are all blackpowder/muzzleloading weapons. Are they effective as weapons? Of course they are. I think the Civil War proved that quite well. But are they in the same class as an AR-15 or a Glock? Of course not. And that is why blackpowder weapons are not "loopholes" any more than high-powered crossbows are "loopholes" (crossbows being as close to a firearm as one can get after a muzzleloader.) Yes, there have been murders recently commited with blackpowder arms (one here recently with a replica 1860 Colt Army). But one can say the same for crossbows, knives, and baseball bats. Are they loopholes, too? Just this week, a massacre in the Congo of 1,000 people as committed by people armed with guns AND machetes, spears, and bows. One or two murders does not a loophole make. Or else a bridge at Chappaquiddick is one heck of a loophole that should be banned.

mercedesrules
April 11, 2003, 11:34 PM
Any law about who can or cannot possess firearms is still gun control. I am against all gun control.

MR

Tommy Gunn
April 12, 2003, 12:25 AM
Its highly doubtfull that someone is going to use a flintlock muzzle-loader to rob a bank.

I think a reformed ex-felon should be able to have these archaic, but useful weapons.

Beorn
April 12, 2003, 01:44 AM
Any law about who can or cannot possess firearms is still gun control. I am against all gun control. I believe that. well, for the most part. The exception is this IMO...

If you violate the rights of others, you give up your rights. If someone murders, then they no longer have rights. Since you took that victim's life (and their rights to do anything: breathe, procreate, etc.), you forfeit your rights as well.

This is not saying death penalty (even though I support the DP 100%), and this is not saying life in prison. This is saying as long as you deem the rights of others as not worthy of consideration, then the Govt. should cancel your rights.

When they actually start targeting the BAD PEOPLE and start leaving the GOOD PEOPLE alone, then I think the lawful gun owners would have less to worry about. Now, exactly how we do that, I don't know...:confused:

beemerb
April 12, 2003, 02:44 AM
I think a lot of so called felons should have their rights to own guns restored automaticaly upon completion of sentence.

.In AZ just having a joint is a felony and you will loose your gun rights. A non violent crime should not remove your gun rights.Person has served the time so lets not punish a second time.
Crimes of a violent nature should be assed on a case basis not a blanket revocation of rights.
Bob

mercedesrules
April 12, 2003, 11:21 AM
Beorn said: Now, exactly how we do that, I don't know.

Maybe we could keep murderers in jail until we think they are ready to get all of their rights back? Hoping that they won't be able to get a gun when free is utopian, IMO.

MR

Sir Galahad
April 12, 2003, 01:16 PM
How about they execute murderers, rapists, and child molestors and that'll make the process of restoring rights somewhat easier.

Nightfall
April 12, 2003, 05:43 PM
Sounds good to me, Sir Galahad.

BogBabe
April 13, 2003, 12:32 PM
Mmmmmkay.... so the felon can pony up his $25 and apply for a permit for a black-powder gun -- which will probably be denied anyway -- or he can buy whatever he wants on a street corner with no paperwork and no hassle.

I'm sure this law will be extremely effective at preventing murders, assaults and robberies by felons using black-powder guns.

TheOtherOne
April 13, 2003, 05:51 PM
Mmmmmkay.... so the felon can pony up his $25 and apply for a permit for a black-powder gun -- which will probably be denied anyway -- or he can buy whatever he wants on a street corner with no paperwork and no hassle.

Exactly! And going with what mercedesrules said, if we really feel that a felon is reformed enough to be out of prison and "back on the street" then why not restore their rights?

I heard someone on here once say something like this, "Why even let someone back up to the table if you're not going to give them a knife and fork?"

TarpleyG
April 13, 2003, 06:00 PM
The state has given permits to 11 local felons since the early 1980s
Holy *****!!! :what:

We'd better be on the lookout!

GT

Beorn
April 13, 2003, 06:19 PM
I think Sir Galahad has hit it right on the head.

Kill 'em all, let God sort them out sort of has a more meaningful ring to it now...

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