AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File

Tennessee Requires Gun Rights Restoration For Felons to Vote

I’m always amazed at how many people are anti-gun will also trip over themselves to try and get convicted felons the right to vote. They don’t trust them with a firearm but will trust them with helping to decide our leaders.

Now, I think gun rights should be restored when someone is finished with their sentence. If they’re still a danger to society, they should still be in prison and not walking the streets. If they’ve paid their debt, though, then it should be paid in full.

Obviously, many of those who favor voting rights for felons disagree.

In Tennessee, though, they’re taking a slightly different stance. Gun rights aren’t immediately restored, but no one gets their voting rights back without them.

The state’s toughened voting rights restoration policy requires people convicted of a felony to get their gun rights restored before they can become eligible to cast a ballot again, Tennessee’s elections office said Tuesday, confirming a mandate that officials had been debating internally.
Last summer, election officials interpreted a state Supreme Court ruling as requiring that all convicted felons applying for reinstated voting rights first get their full citizenship rights restored by a judge or show they were pardoned. Voting rights advocates have argued the legal interpretation was way off-base.
The change, instituted by elections officials in July, has since halted almost all voting rights restorations: More than 60 people were denied and just one person approved. In the nearly seven months before it was implemented, about 200 people were approved and 120 denied, according to data from the secretary of state’s office.
State Elections Coordinator Mark Goins revealed the gun rights decision Tuesday when asked about it by The Associated Press. Pointing to the court’s ruling, he reiterated that someone’s full citizenship rights must be restored before they can regain the right to vote, and added, “Under the Tennessee Constitution, the right to bear arms is a right of citizenship.”

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t have a problem with this.

Now, I think restoring gun rights should be pretty straightforward, but if someone can’t be trusted with a gun, why would we trust them with a vote?

Take a look out our presidents in recent years. No matter what side you’re on, you may well view the other sides’ presidents as outright evil. Voting has consequences, after all, so if someone is considered dangerous, why would you want them casting a ballot?

Our gun rights matter, and while some felons are probably not worthy of being trusted with those rights, a lot of other people who have such a conviction that learned their lesson.

If you’re going to restrict gun rights for those with a past criminal history, then so be it. I may not agree with it, especially in the case of non-violent felons, but again, so be it.

But if they’re not entitled to their gun rights then voting rights shouldn’t be restored either. If making sure felons can vote is that important, then restore their gun rights as well. It’s just that simple.

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