CONGRESSMAN BART STUPAK 1ST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
************************* Stupak reintroduces Second Amendment Restoration Act
Bill has earned the endorsement of the NRA
WASHINGTON - U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) has introduced legislation to restore the gun rights of individuals convicted of minor, non-violent crimes.
H.R. 2153, the Second Amendment Restoration Act, ensures states have the discretion to restore individuals’ gun rights after conviction of minor crimes.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has endorsed the legislation.
“The Second Amendment provides for the right to bear arms and individuals should not forfeit that right due to convictions for minor crimes,” Stupak said. “I appreciate the support of the NRA as I attempt to clarify that individuals convicted of minor crimes decades ago should not be subject to lifetime bans on gun ownership.”
Federal law prohibits individuals convicted of felonies from owning guns.
Federal law also gives states the discretion to determine which state crimes are treated as felonies.
Due to the way the courts have interpreted some of the most antiquated state laws, some individuals who were convicted of minor misdemeanors at the state level are treated as felons for the purposes of gun ownership, prohibiting them from owning a gun.
The Second Amendment Restoration Act would make it clear that a person with a conviction for a minor, non-violent crime, whose civil rights were never taken away, should not be treated any more harshly than a convicted felon whose rights were restored.
It would also allow states to give individuals limited restoration of rights.
Federal law currently allows for states to restore all or none of an individual’s gun rights but nothing in between.
The issue was brought to Stupak’s attention by a constituent who, now in his mid-50s, was convicted in 1971 of entering a non-occupied building.
He was 18 at the time and the building was a deer camp.
He completed his probation in 1972.
In 2003, he applied to the county gun board to have his right to own a firearm restored.
But because the 1971 crime he was convicted of was a minor, non-violent crime, he is still denied the right to own a handgun under Michigan law and therefore no gun rights can be afforded to him.
“To be absolutely clear, the NRA believes it is both constitutional and appropriate to disarm convicted felons,” NRA Director of Federal Affairs Chuck Cunningham wrote in a letter of support for the bill. “However, we also believe that no person should lose the right to arms due to convictions for minor, non-violent crimes, especially those that occurred many years in the past.”
“I am a strong supporter of our Second Amendment rights,” Stupak said. “The vast majority of gun owners are responsible sportsmen and women who like to hunt and shoot for sport. These activities are essential parts of our economy and our cultural heritage. I have consistently urged my colleagues to work for effective ways to curtail violent crime in America, but not by simply passing gun laws that unfairly penalize responsible gun owners.”
The NRA’s letter of support is available here.