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February 12th, 2014
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Eric Holder Urges States to Let Felons Vote
Courtesy of Matt Apuzzo, the New York Times, February 11th 2014:

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. called Tuesday for the repeal of laws that prohibit millions of felons from voting, underscoring the Obama administration’s determination to elevate issues of criminal justice and race in the president’s second term and create a lasting civil rights legacy.

The liberal spin Apuzzo puts on this is hilarious:  "elevate issues of criminal justice and race" and "create a lasting civil rights legacy."  In fact, the reason why Holder wants to do this is that there are around 5.9 million persons who would be affected, most black, and criminals tend to vote Democrat. Note however, that the laws against felons voting are race-neutral in their application:  white, Hispanic, Asian or Martian felons don't get to vote either..

“Those swept up in this system too often had their rights rescinded, their dignity diminished, and the full measure of their citizenship revoked for the rest of their lives,” Mr. Holder said. “They could not vote.”

Wow -- it's almost as if they've been punished or something!

They can't bear arms, either, but Holder doesn't seem to care about that.  He thinks that firearms should be used by the military, police, and Mexican drug gangs, not by ordinary citizens.

If the law were to apply to Holder himself for the crimes he's already committed, he wouldn't be able to vote or bear arms either.  Now that would truly be an injustice.

Thankfully, Holder has no power to put his proposed legal changes into effect, as these are state, not Federal laws.

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From:prester_scott
Date:February 12th, 2014 05:34 pm (UTC)
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I actually don't think that felons, as a whole, should be barred from bearing arms. Many acts that are classified as felonies are not violent crimes; some are quite arbitrary and/or obscure. If you're the sort of person who can't be trusted with weapons, then frankly, you shouldn't be out of jail to begin with.
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From:luagha
Date:February 12th, 2014 06:13 pm (UTC)
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And if so, the felon can apply to have his right to bear arms restored with a form.

In the case of violent felonies, it generally requires a long time of being a law-abiding citizen to be considered. In the case of non-violent or technical offenses, not nearly so much.

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From:pathia
Date:February 12th, 2014 07:09 pm (UTC)
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I need to investigate that process, though it might be even more difficult when it's a mental health exclusion. I suspect either is extremely involved and probably expensive though, because, well. Lawyers.
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From:gothelittle
Date:February 13th, 2014 07:44 pm (UTC)
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I'm afraid you can expect that to be a steep uphill battle in any "blue state" thanks to the Connecticut Newtown shooting. Good luck in your endeavor.
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From:pathia
Date:February 13th, 2014 08:15 pm (UTC)
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I'm in a national register thanks to GW Bush from what I understand.
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From:gothelittle
Date:February 13th, 2014 08:34 pm (UTC)
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I googled "national registry", "mental health", and "firearms", and came up with a ton of articles from 2012 stating that there was no such thing and that some groups are recommending it.

State registries, on the other hand, do exist. Here's one source describing them:
http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/stories/2013/march/21/stateline-states-mental-illness-gun-ownership.aspx

Most states have laws that remove ownership rights from those a court has involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital. But the New York law makes a court determination unnecessary.

Instead, it requires mental health professionals to tell local officials if they believe a patient is likely to hurt himself or herself or someone else. Police officials would then be authorized to seize guns that person might own. The name of the patient would also be entered into state and national registries to prevent future firearm purchases.

"People who have mental health issues should not have guns," Cuomo said upon passage of the bill in January. "They could hurt themselves. They could hurt other people."
**********

A search of "bush mental registry" got me a wee bit more.

http://www.propublica.org/article/how-the-nra-gained-the-last-time-congress-strengthened-gun-laws

After a Virginia Tech student killed 32 students and faculty in April 2007, the Bush administration proposed legislation that would require all states to share the names of residents involuntarily committed to mental health facilities. The information would be provided to a Federal Bureau of Investigation database.

The idea, in part, was to help gun dealers get important information about whether potential customers were mentally ill.

In order to get the support of the NRA, Congress agreed to two concessions that had long been on the agenda of gun rights advocates — concessions that later proved to hamstring the database.
...

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who once joked he'd like to bring a gun with him to the Senate floor, blocked the legislation, citing concerns about privacy and spending.

He negotiated language that, among other things, would allow a person's application for gun restoration rights to be granted automatically if an agency didn't respond within 365 days of the application and allowed people to have their attorney's fees reimbursed if they were forced to go to court to restore their rights.
...

A July 2012 report by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, found that while the overall number of records increased exponentially since the law passed, the rise is largely due to cooperation from just 12 states.

The non-profit group Mayors Against Illegal Guns also released a report in 2011 showing that many states have failed to fulfill their obligations to report data on the mentally ill to the federal government. While Virginia and a few others have disclosed tens of thousands of records, 23 others and the District of Columbia reported fewer than 100 records. Seventeen states reported fewer than 10 records and four submitted no data at all.
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From:pathia
Date:February 13th, 2014 09:03 pm (UTC)
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NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007
https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/110/hr2640

Key thing being Virginia disclosed 'tens of thousands of records' That's where my involuntary commitment occurred.

Edited at 2014-02-13 09:05 pm (UTC)
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From:gothelittle
Date:February 13th, 2014 09:07 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, that's the same one the second link was talking about, the one that is next to useless because most of the states haven't even complied and its language is so broad that, in the *worst case possible*, you can get the state to pay for your attorney if you need to use one, and if they don't respond to your request quickly enough, you automatically get off the list.

And the list doesn't prohibit anyone from selling you a gun and doesn't prohibit you from owning a gun. It just gives sellers that information *if* you're even on it, and leaves the decision up to them.

Unless, of course, your state enacted a law prohibiting anybody on the list from ever owning a firearm, in which case you'll have to take it up with the state.
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From:lonewolf545
Date:February 12th, 2014 07:50 pm (UTC)
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Except, while there is a provision by which people convicted of Federal felonies can apply to have their rights restored, Congress has persistently denied funds to the office that would handle doing so.
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From:jordan179
Date:February 12th, 2014 07:11 pm (UTC)
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Perhaps, but Eric Holder thinks that everyone not a public official or a member of a Mexican narcoterrorist gang should be barred from bearing arms. He's not noticeably more willing to let felons bear arms either. Only vote, and only because he figures the felons will vote Democratic, and thus help keep himself from joining their ranks.
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From:prester_scott
Date:February 12th, 2014 07:13 pm (UTC)
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Pfft. Eric Holder will never even be tried, let alone convicted, for anything he's done while in office. Who's gonna charge him? Republicans in Congress? It's far more likely to be the other way around.
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From:xiphias
Date:February 12th, 2014 07:43 pm (UTC)
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Do you honestly think that felons should be barred from voting after they've served their sentences? So, if you're a criminal once, you're never again a citizen?

In Massachusetts, and in most of the world, criminals can vote WHILE incarcerated. Because you don't stop being a citizen because you committed a crime.
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From:ford_prefect42
Date:February 13th, 2014 02:59 am (UTC)
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I think it's the very definition of something that should be "left to the states".

For myself, I would think that there should be *some* way to earn back full citizenship, however, not something automatic, or easy. Suggested alternatives would be community service, military service, compensation to your victims, or other means.

But I do think that getting caught and convicted committing felonies definitely removes the *presumption* that this is an "okay" person.
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From:jordan179
Date:February 13th, 2014 07:43 am (UTC)
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I agree. This is something that should be left on the State level.
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From:ford_prefect42
Date:February 13th, 2014 07:52 am (UTC)

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Yeah, but I am of the opinion that a LOT of things should be left to the states.... Almost as though there actually WERE a 10th amendment.

Edited at 2014-02-13 07:52 am (UTC)
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From:schpydurx
Date:February 13th, 2014 03:39 am (UTC)
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Give him time. He'll find a way to repeal even state laws.
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From:ford_prefect42
Date:February 13th, 2014 04:07 am (UTC)
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schpydurx has a point, this administration has quite a history of trampling states rights.
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From:benschachar_77
Date:February 13th, 2014 07:12 am (UTC)
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You know every time someone says "Republicans are the party of the rich" you should respond by saying "Democrats are party of felons and trial lawyers".
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