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Restore felon's rights--should I?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Monkeyleg, Dec 24, 2005.

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  1. Monkeyleg

    Monkeyleg Member

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    I have a relative who never drank and drove, except once. And that one time was maybe fifteen years ago, and the accident was very bad. He and the friend who asked him for a ride home were in the hospital for days.

    My relative was convicted of felony drunk driving. He got his license back a couple of years ago, but he's still a felon.

    He'd like to be able to go hunting with the guys from work, and get a gun of his own.

    He's never asked me to help him restore his rights, but I know I can help him do so. There are a few senators and representatives I could ask to speak on his behalf.

    The problem is that he still goes out and gets drunk, although he only goes to bars within walking distance. He does not drink and drive (I know this for a fact).

    Part of me is nervous about asking a legislator for a favor, and taking a chance that my relative will repeat his past mistake, which would embarrass the legislator. Another part of me would like to bring this relative into the gun community, particularly since he leans Democrat.

    Another part of me says, "why bother?"

    Your thoughts?
     
  2. Firethorn

    Firethorn Member

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    Well, the fact that he still drinks heavily is a problem.

    What state was the conviction in? There is no federal restoral process for rights, it has to be a state level thing. Some states have it, some don't.

    What about bowhunting?
     
  3. Monkeyleg

    Monkeyleg Member

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    Firethorn, he doesn't go out every night, usually just on Friday or Saturday nights.

    The state is Wisconsin, and the process involves having someone of stature--a mayor, a senator, an assemblyman, or some other person at that level--speak in favor of the person before the court.
     
  4. kel

    kel Member

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    I can't give you an objective answer

    I would say no. Drinking and driving shows bad judgement. Continuing to get drunk shows more bad judgement. What if he makes a mistake involving a firearm while drunk? What if he makes another mistake while drunk in some other way? It has impaired his judgement before, not just in the accident, but in driving drunk in the first place. What if he does not exercise good judgment while carrying or operating a firearm?

    The problem is that I am somewhat arbitrarily biased against getting drunk on regular basis and it isn't necessarily a bad thing for all people. Do you trust his judgement? Has he changed since the day he chose to drive under the influence? I couldn't really make the call myself without knowing this.
     
  5. BigRobT

    BigRobT Member

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    IMHO, if he is STILL getting drunk, I'd have to think a lot on that. Just because he can walk home instead or drive, it seems as if he might have enabled himself to remain a drunk. Now, imagine him drunk and possibly armed ?? Even though Minnesota allows someone carrying to have a drink or two, alcohol & firearms just ain't a good combination. How would you feel were he to become suicidal during one of his drinking bouts and you were the one to enable him to have a gun??

    On the other hand, he COULD get a gun should he want, albeit illegally.

    Tough decision.
     
  6. Crosshair

    Crosshair Member

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    I don't know. He is still a drunk, but he is responsible enough to NOT drink and drive. Tough call.
     
  7. Flyboy

    Flyboy Member

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    I can't believe what I'm reading here. Three respected posters here on THR, all debating on whether we should allow somebody to regain his God-given rights. Don't you all think it's kind of arrogant that you're trying to decide the fate of another?

    Yes. Yes, you should help your friend--and everybody else--regain his rights. If he does something dumb later, that's his problem; it's not your place to say "well, I don't think you can handle this." That sounds an awful lot like what Ted Kennedy and Dianne Feinstein say.
     
  8. HighVelocity

    HighVelocity Member

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    Ask him to stay 100% sober for 1 full year. If he can/will do it then he is in control of his vices. If he cannot or will not do it then I wouldn't help him.

    My .02

    edited to add: A childhood friend grew up and killed himself and another friend of mine when he got drunk and flipped his car into a river.
    He had never been in trouble in his whole life. Drinking and driving is a hot button for me. :mad:
     
  9. georgeduz

    georgeduz Member

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    drunks should own or be around guns,felony or not.
     
  10. rock jock

    rock jock Member

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    No, I don't. He showed a complete lack of judgement, and as a result put society in danger. The fact that he still drinks heavily may not disqualify him now, but it should be taken into account.
     
  11. taliv

    taliv Moderator

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    good advice is to never do something like that.

    reality is, that some of us are just nice guys and we stick our necks out for others.

    case in point, i just co-signed on a loan for somebody. even though he's still making incredibly foolish financial decisions. (he's getting better though)

    the reason i did it, was because i objectively looked at it by assuming he's going to default, rather than treating it as a risk. i.e. asking would i still co-sign knowing he's going to default? the answer was yes, so i did it.

    if i were in your shoes, i'd ask myself, "would i still help this guy clear his record if I KNEW he was going to get drunk, pop a few rounds off inside his house, have the police show up and arrest him?"
     
  12. taliv

    taliv Moderator

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    btw, the question at hand isn't whether felons should have their rights back or not, or even whether we drinking and shooting mix...

    it's whether or not monkeyleg should put his personal rep and friendships on the line to help somebody out who doesn't appear to want help.
     
  13. Firethorn

    Firethorn Member

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    Am I considered a "respected poster"? I'm flattered.

    My comment about the drinking being a problem was more thinking of a judicial process of restoration where the question might be brought up. I'd have to be honest in that situation. Considering his felony involved alchohol, any judge looking at a restoration will likely bring any continued usage into question.

    Monkeyleg, I consider 'drinking heavily' as getting drunk. If you do it regularly, you drink heavily. It's just my definition. I've been drunk once in my life. That was enough. Since then one drink in a day is a special occasion. Getting drunk every weekend can be a sign of problematic behavior.

    If all that's required is somebody of 'stature' testifying, then it's relativly easy. Do you qualify, or are you putting your reputation on the line, potentially burning bridges?

    People, it looks like the guy wants to go hunting, not CCW. I'd recommend that he cut back on the booze though. Of course, that'd be my recommendation regardless.

    In the end, it's your choice. I'd tend to say 'go for it'.
     
  14. Gunsnrovers

    Gunsnrovers Member

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    ding ding ding. I think we have a winner.
     
  15. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    I doubt I'd do personal favors for someone who gets drunk on a regular and frequent basis: it's an affliction that usually gets worse rather than better.
     
  16. Flyboy

    Flyboy Member

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    I've always respected you and your opinions.

    I guess my problem here is in the vast disconnect between the "personal responsibility" and "individual rights" that everybody always talks about, and then I see people saying that they, personally, wouldn't allow the guy to have a gun. It smacks of ivory-tower elitism: "the fact that he still drinks is a problem." Translation: I can be trusted with a gun, but he can't. It's interesting to note that England, at one time, banned gin, but not whisk(e)y. Why? Because it was the lower classes that drank gin; the ruling elite said that "they" couldn't be trusted with liquor, but "we" (the elite) can.

    Put this another way: what are we all going to say when certain politicians decide any misdemeanor involving alcohol shows "bad judgement," and is disqualifying for firearms ownership? My dad has a misdemeanor conviction for posession in a dry county (driving through), and he's now an attorney for the Feds. Youthful indiscretion, but an alcohol-related incident. Actually, you could easily argue that any violation of law shows bad judgement.

    If he's out of jail, he's a citizen and a free man, and entitled to all the rights and privileges thereof. Would you say his "bad judgement" also extends to voting? In many jurisdictions, felony convictions are also disqualifying for voting. Afraid he'll have an accident in the voting booth and mark the wrong box?

    Help the man get his rights back. If he screws up, he's an adult, he can deal with his own mistakes.
     
  17. jefnvk

    jefnvk Member

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    A few of my shooting/hunting/fishign buddies can be guaranteed to be drunk about every friday night. Doesn't mean I don't trust them.

    It sounds like he is at least not going to make the drinking and driving mistake again. To me, geting drunk is not enough of a guarantee that someone is going ot go out and shoot up the place, or drive drunk.

    The only way I would consider saying no is if he were an alcoholic (I'm assuming he is not), who was displaying destructive behavior.

    Another option, do you need the word from one of them to get your rights restored? Maybe if you can just help him do what needs to happen, but not ask them to testify for him?
     
  18. Firethorn

    Firethorn Member

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    Thanks, I appreciate that.

    I was hoping that my second post cleared that up. I was looking at it as a contest where you have to convince a judge of unknown properties that the guy isn't a risk anymore. You have to sway his opinion. Being able to say 'He's been dry for X years' is better than 'Well, he get's smashed every weekend, but he walks home'. It might not matter, but, like I said, especially given that his conviction involved alchohol, his continued use is probably going to be a problem.

    As for the disconnect, I don't see that great of a one, seeing as how this guy is suffering the consequences of his actions. This isn't something imposed on citizens as a whole, this is a specific consequence to him driving while drunk and getting into a 'serious accident'. Getting out of the hospital after only a few days is actually very lucky for him and the passanger.

    And yes, drug wars seem to always trace back to class/race warfare.

    Oh, I agree. But this is a guy who already has one strike against him. I may feel that our DUI standards and penalties are often messed up, but he got into an accient while intoxicated. So he's going to bat with one strike already against him. He now has to prove his case to the court, not have the court prove it against him.

    Oh, and if you look at the other thread about the businessman who shot the burglar, you'll find that I feel that mere possession is minor in most cases, though I feel that restrictions and increased monitoring is reasonable after reelase from prison. I just feel that you should be able to escape these restrictions with good behavior.

    That's ultimately Monkeyleg's decision. He's the one who'll have to wrestle with his consience if his friend messes up. From the stated situation, this seems unlikely, so I say help him as well.
     
  19. AJ Dual

    AJ Dual member

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    I can't give you a straight answer, but If I were in your shoes, I would break the decision making process down into three categories:

    1. General RKBA.

    As a self-described right-libertarian (little "L"), I normally follow the basic line of reasoning "If he's not allowed a gun, he shouldn't be allowed in public." I don't believe a felon who's "paid his debt" should be sentenced to defenslessness for the rest of his life. I also sincerely doubt your relative got his friend into the car that night under false pretenses of sobriety. They both made an equaly bad judgment, he was just the one behind the wheel.

    On basis #1, I'd say yes. Help him get his rights restored.

    2. Your own concience.

    Essentialy, if you've got doubts, and need to be talked into helping him get his rights restored, that would be a "no" in my book. Go with your gut. OTOH, if your gut says yes, and you want to help him, and you just don't intelectualy trust your instincts. I'd say yes.

    I'd also add that there is a "Wisconsin attitude" about drinking that other posters around the country may not understand. I've come to realize that other states and regions have very different attitudes. Of course there's all opinions here, but if you average out the overall attitude in WI, alcohol is considered much more a "food" than it is a "drug", while other states in the east or south treat alcohol like it's the last day before Prohibition went into effect.

    The WI attitude probably originates from the predominant Germanic, Polish, and Scandinavian background of the state's European heritage. Namely, that drinking to some level of intoxication is okay if it's social, only occasional on weekends or holidays, and you do nothing else that's otherwise irresponsible, dangerous, or illegal. Someone from WI who drinks to the point of legal intoxication once every weekend with friends, but does not drive, fight, drink the rest of the week, or do anything else unseemly is widely considered as "not having a problem".

    You've got to understand, that in WI, in the larger cities, every neighborhood has 3-4 local taverns, and it's not uncommon for small rural towns with populations in the hundredsto have just as many either.

    So on the basis of #2, Dick, go with your gut. If you have any real doubts, you probably shouldn't help him. If your gut tells you to help him, and you're just second-guessing yourself, help him.

    3. CCW in WI/the WCCA

    Look at it from the standpoint of your position of leadership in the Wisconsin pro-carry movment. Whether or not he'll slip and screw up is irrelavant. For the sake of argument, assume that he will. Should you help your relative get his rights restored, and he then do something stupid, what are the odds it could be used by anti-gun forces to discredit you, the WCCA, or the passage of the PPA?

    You have your equals, but no one knows better than you what kind of dirty tricks the anti's have and will play against us.

    On that basis, use #1 and #2 to decide if you'll help him. Then if you do decide to help him, wait until it's not a sensitive time for the passage of the PPA bill, or something drastic (God forbid,) happens that would deep-six any consideration of the PPA for several years.
     
  20. Molon Labe

    Molon Labe Member

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    Listen to you'all.

    I don't care if he drinks. He has the right to keep and bear arms.

    You should all be ashamed of yourselves. The elitism in this message boar is making me sick. :scrutiny: :banghead:
     
  21. Waitone

    Waitone Member

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    No. Nothing in it but risk for you.
    Gun movement gains (maybe) someone who binge drinks on the weekend.
    Hauls in an ostensibly friendly bigwig using your reputation as a go-by to vouche for someone who has not forsaken the same social behavior that got him into dutch in the first place.

    All risk, no return. Bad investment.
     
  22. The_Antibubba

    The_Antibubba Member

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    Monkeyleg, my vote is to help him.

    He wants to be able to go hunting again. Maybe if he had more weekends to go hunting, he'd drink less? I'd imagine leaving the house at 4 am to get to the blind would be impossible if he stumbled home at 2 am. Not being able to hunt must leave a pretty big void in his life.

    (For the record, I'm not a hunter, and I never will be, but I've wistfully read about some of the spiritual experiences that hunters can have stalking and luring that buck of a lifetime.)

    As for CCW or such, he's not even talking about that. A deer rifle, maybe a shotgun. I'd feel hesitant to recommend him for CCW, but if aside from walking home drunk he's an upstanding fellow, then I wouldn't hesitate to help him regain full citizenship.
     
  23. gremlin_bros

    gremlin_bros Member

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    personal thoughts

    from what i am seeing its not about whether or not he has the right or even should he be allowed to get a fire arm. what i am seeing is how far are you willing to stick you neck out for a friend. and hey man its your call there i am sure somebody would be willing to vouch for him so that he may regain the right to purchase a firearm legally but is that somebody you?

    am i right or just reading this wrong?
     
  24. Monkeyleg

    Monkeyleg Member

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    Thanks for all the replies.

    If my relative had given up drinking, or just drank responsibly (instead of getting blasted), this would be a no-brainer.

    Every legislator I know I could ask is already being pilloried by the press. If one were to vouch for him, and then my relative did something really stupid, it would just be more ammo for the media.

    I think I need to sit down with my relative, ask him how serious he is about wanting his rights restored, and what sort of guarantee he will give me that he won't embarrass a stranger who's willing to go out on a limb for him.
     
  25. ka50

    ka50 Member

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    lol...

    like you never drink and have a gun at arm's reach

    another prohibitionalist :rolleyes:

    and about that guy: he should've never lost his rights in the first place. He didn't comit a violent felony.
     
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