Felons and Gun Control Essay

3270 Words Feb 6th, 2013 14 Pages

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Convicted Felons Should Lose Their Right to Vote or Possess a Firearm

Reed Flierl

A felony is a conviction of a crime punishable in the United States by imprisonment of more than a year. Once you are convicted of a felony you lose certain rights, regardless of whether it’s a violent crime such as, murder, or if you were convicted of a non-violent crime such as, felony possession. The loss of certain citizenship rights, due to criminal activity, goes back as far as 1100BC – through today. In the eyes of the law a felony is a felony. After a conviction of a felony your right to vote is lost as well as the right to possess a fire arm or ammunition. Some states also hold foreign felony convictions
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Election laws in most states bar felons and some ex-felons from voting, and “it has been estimated that between 4.1 and 4.7 million Americans are currently disenfranchised due to a past or current felony conviction” (Manza, 2004). Civil rights movements across the country have encouraged many states to amend their voting right laws and expand felon voting rights. In February of 2002, the expansion of felony voting rights, and banning states from placing restrictions on ex-felons went to the U.S. Senate, but was shot down by a 63-31 vote. Although, at the federal level ex-felons can have their rights restored, there is no policy restricting individual states from having their own disenfranchisement laws. Congress has left it up to each state to make and determine their own disenfranchisement laws. Also, the process of having their rights restored can be a lengthy and complex process which most people give up on, don’t have the time, or even want to deal with the long process. Many of these ex-felons are also unaware that they can have their voting rights restored.
Congress allows each state to make their own laws in regards to felony voting rights. In forty-eight states, a felony conviction and sentence to prison results in a loss of voting rights. In thirty-five of those states, felons on parole cannot vote, and thirty states prohibit felons on probation from voting as well. Also, in

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