Gun rights in criminal law, securing rights after conviction - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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Crime and prevention thereof. Loopholes, grey areas and the letter of the law.
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#15122840
Gun use is traditionally seen as an individual right in the United States, as well as generally in the philosophy of natural rights (a major philosophy on which the US was founded). That is, gun use is a human right, along with and up there with the right to life, property, liberty, the right to vote.

However, over the years, increasing laws have been passed curtailing this right. Not on just a state level but on a national level.

In the US right now an individual can have their gun rights taken away from them permanently because of an object being found among their property, and no other cause than that. This object could be something deemed itself illegal, or it could constitute evidence of something else illegal. Or it might not actually be a physical object itself, it could simply be a bit of information somewhere in an electronic device, which is so common in normal life these days. The point is, there might be no evidence of the alleged crime other than the object itself and nothing else. This is not that uncommon.

Now, if we are talking about taking away an individual's rights temporarily, that is one thing. The individual might be put in prison for one year, as the most obvious example.
But what we are talking about in this discussion is the individual's right being taken away permanently, for the rest of their life.

Now, it is always possible for an individual who has been convicted and sentenced, and served their time in prison, to later apply for restoration of their rights. But that is not a given and is far from guaranteed. That is, it is not secured in law as a right that that will happen.

We should also not forget that plea bargaining is, not only an extremely common part of, but an integral part of the court / justice system. An individual might be held in jail based on not the strongest evidence, and then released a very short time later after they agree to plead guilty to a felony. Very often, agreeing to plead guilty results in them spending less time in jail. In this situation, the individual may be basically trading their physical freedom for their gun rights.

I would propose a modification to the current law:
No individual would automatically have their gun rights permanently taken away when the only evidence are objects found, and there are no victims and no witnesses to the alleged crime, and except in the case of alleged crimes of rape, robbery, murder.

This would seem like a very reasonable and limited modification. Can you think of a crime that does not fall into one of these categories where the individual should not have their rights completely restored after prison?

In addition to that, if anyone was still concerned this might somehow open some sort of unforeseen loophole, there could be some sort of automatic time limit based into the law. Where, for example, the individual would lose their gun rights following release for a period constituting half the time they spent in prison, but being at least one year but not exceeding 7 years. Or something like that.

This would be something clearly written into law expressing automatic restoration of full rights.

Special trials for special situations

Just to further address any possible additional loopholes, there could be an additional part of the law addressing severe child abuse, inflicting severe injury, "serious and severe" criminal threats of using a gun when a gun is actually brandished, kidnapping involving a gun, and burglary while carrying a gun, where automatic future restoration of gun rights would not automatically be guaranteed, but the jury would have to come to a separate and specific decision about whether gun rights should be taken away in such a situation. And in addition to that, there would be a clear law that any plea bargains would not be subject or dependent on the defendant waving their right to one of these special "trials". (Because that's the type of coercion that cause many to lose their rights in the first place)

This might impose an additional burden on the court / criminal justice system. However, the jury in this case, where there is not an ordinary jury already convening for a criminal trial, could be smaller (maybe 5 or 6 people), and they could use the same jury to go through and listen to several cases that day, and the "trial" could be shorter and more informal because less would be at stake. There would also likely be no rush with these sort of trials anyway, so they could be easier scheduled at the court's convenience. (If for example a person has plead guilty to a crime and is going to be sentenced to two years, then this "trial" concerning restoration of additional civil rights after release doesn't have to take place immediately, or can take place after they they have been released) In many cases the prosecutor might decide it is not even worth pressing the matter, since it is not worth the court's time of having to hold such a hearing. So in that case, the full restoration of civil rights would kick in automatically by itself, perhaps based on the timeline written into the law.

The number of cases where there would actually have to be one of these special "trials" would probably be only a very small percentage of the total cases. Remember, we are only talking about a certain limited number of special categories of crimes here, and even for many of these situations, the prosecutor will likely decide that permanently taking away gun rights is not needed. These rights might be automatically taken away for a temporary period of time anyway, and the individual will still have the normal avenue of restoration of rights open to them, so these "trials" will only be necessary in a smaller number of cases. Many of these defendants won't even bother contesting full restoration of their rights at a trial, knowing they will not be granted.
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