Felons Can't Vote but Can Have Gun Rights Restored in Some States
New York Times investigates states with easy gun laws for felons
In the state of Virginia, if you have a criminal felony conviction, you automatically lose your right to vote, but can keep their rights to carry guns. In fact, you can be convicted of a violent felony in Virginia and still have your gun rights restored, but not your voting rights.
In a report from the New York Times today about a growing movement in many states to restore the right to bear arms to people who've been convicted of felony crimes, reporters found that there are currently eleven states where felons can have their gun rights restored after they've served their prison sentences. There are eleven states, including Virginia and Ohio, you can be a violent felon and apply to have your gun license restored. Georgia and Nebraska also award "scores" of pardons to felons so that they can get their guns back as well.
Just to juxtapose against states with restrictive voting laws, there are four states, including Virginia, where all people with felony convictions are permanently disenfranchised from voting, and seven states where only some felons can vote.
Right now, federal laws prohibit felons from carrying guns. However, as the New York Times reports, thousands of felons across the country -- including those with murder and manslaughter convictions --end up with guns anyway because of state laws that grant them licenses "often with little or no review," of their pasts.
D.C. lawyer and gun rights restoration researcher Margaret C. Love estimates that felons have a reasonable chance of having their gun rights restored in more than half the states.
In Tennessee, where many ex-felons can't vote, there are pro-gun groups lobbying to have gun rights restored for felons.