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When may a felon, who is generally barred from possessing a gun, get it to break up a fight?
The Volokh Conspiracy ^ | July 23, 2014 | Eugene Volokh

Posted on 07/28/2014 3:46:08 AM PDT by right-wing agnostic

From yesterday’s United States v. Cooney (8th Cir. July 22, 2014):

As a convicted felon, [Larry] Cooney is prohibited from possessing firearms. In 2011, Cooney lived in a duplex with his fifty-year-old brother Warren Cooney (Warren) and his brother’s family. Warren had a long history of health problems, including two heart attacks.

On October 27, 2011, Warren and nineteen-year-old Dwight Avance began to argue in the Cooney duplex. As the argument escalated and became physical, the two men took the fight outside, while Cooney remained within the residence. Once outside, Warren and Avance wrestled on muddy ground, near which several loose bricks were lying. Several onlookers had gathered, and some were concerned that Avance might strike Warren with one of the nearby bricks. Avance had gained the upper hand in the fight and had pinned Warren to the ground. After attempts to quell the fight proved unsuccessful, Warren’s wife, Ressie, sent an onlooker into the duplex with instructions to tell Cooney to retrieve Ressie’s gun from Warren’s bedroom and to come outside to break up the fight. Moments later, Cooney exited the duplex, carrying the gun and yelling at the men to stop fighting. The men ignored the commands, whereupon Cooney ended the fight by firing a single gunshot into the air or into the ground. Warren’s injuries from the fight consisted of a cut lip and a few scratches on his arms and hands.

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: felonyconvictions; righttobeararms; secondamendment
I know many FReepers will defend a felons still having the right to keep and bear arms, but I think the argument is completely ludicrous. I still believe felons should be attainted, meaning they lose all civil rights. As a rule of thumb, I have absolutely no sympathy for convicted felons--especially violent felons. (Though I wholeheartedly hope that Dinesh D'Sousa's unjust felony conviction for campaign-finance violations is overturned or that he is pardoned.) I concur with the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals' decision in the case of United States v. Cooney. I would appreciate other FReepers' input./rwa
1 posted on 07/28/2014 3:46:08 AM PDT by right-wing agnostic
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To: right-wing agnostic

I think you probably shouldn’t have a gun if you aren’t smart enough to see what’s wrong with your argument.


2 posted on 07/28/2014 3:52:39 AM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin.)
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To: right-wing agnostic
I, for one, generally believe that a convicted felon should have their 2nd Amendment rights restored, as well as their voting rights, once their full sentence has been served, including any probationary period.

Exceptions could be carved out for violent offenders or repeat offenders.

But in the case you posted, the convicted felon not only possessed the weapon, he unlawfully discharged it. Not only did he violate the Federal prohibition against possession, he violated state and local ordinances against discharge of a weapon.

Not a compelling case for leniency.

3 posted on 07/28/2014 3:54:59 AM PDT by Yo-Yo (Is the /sarc tag really necessary?)
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To: right-wing agnostic

Though well-meaning, you managed to gut your own argument. We live in a time when every single one of us can be adjudged a felon for virtually any reason. The Left has managed to pack the books with so many ridiculous laws...the same strategy used by the Nazis in the ‘30’s...that the government can find a reason to lock any of us away for years. Your own example of D’Sousa is an excellent case in point.


4 posted on 07/28/2014 4:03:34 AM PDT by RightOnline (I am Andrew Breitbart!)
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To: right-wing agnostic

Did the felon complete the terms of his sentence? If so then ALL his rights should be restored.

If he is not to be restored as a full citizen after serving his sentence then he should have been executed for the crime (or banished from this country entirely).

We do not have two classes of citizens in thic country. Either you are a citizen with all the same rights or you are not.


5 posted on 07/28/2014 4:04:45 AM PDT by John O (God Save America (Please))
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To: right-wing agnostic

Since you asked, I sincerely hope you don’t own a gun—I doubt you are smart enough to operate it.


6 posted on 07/28/2014 4:11:04 AM PDT by dinodino
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To: Yo-Yo
I agree with you. If the sentence for a felony crime is served and fulfilled, it's over, all rights should be restored and the person should be allowed to move on with their life. In a perfect world, an argument shouldn't need to be made for violent repeat offenders as they SHOULD be held in custody for natural life. Alas, this is not the case, so repeats (more than 1 felony conviction of any type) should have their rights permanently stripped.
7 posted on 07/28/2014 4:11:55 AM PDT by Mathews (Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV), Luke 22:36 (NIV))
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To: right-wing agnostic
I do not understand how calling the police would have solved the imminent problem

You got to love that phrase right there.

8 posted on 07/28/2014 4:15:28 AM PDT by PistolPaknMama
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To: Yo-Yo

The felon did not possess the gun as in own it, it belonged to his brother. He was asked to get his brother’s gun by the wife of his brother, all to stop a fight that could have resulted in the owner of the gun’s death, because he had previously had 2 heart attacks.

I agree with your first idea that non-violent offenders should have their voting rights restored and 2nd amendment rights restored. In this case common sense is thrown out the window and justice was not served because he was stopping what could have been a fight to the death. He shot into the air or ground it is stated, no harm no foul comes to my mind.

This is just another case of the law being used to the farthest degree to convict a man of something common sense would tell you was necessary and served to protect someone else. Think of returning vets not allowed to have a weapon after consulting a headshrinker for problems caused by defending this country. Seems to me to be the same shit different situation.

The constitution says, “shall not be infringed” not except when the humidity is high or some overzealous prosecutor or cop wants to put a notch in their resume. Cutting the tags off your mattress is a felony, I do believe, though I have no idea why it would be, and the idea that altering a piece of furniture you own strikes me as one more legal trap. Actually it might be easier to list the things that are not illegal than all the things that are. Wasn’t there a book written recently called, “Three Felonies a Day”? It probably could have been called, “Farting on an Elevator Can Put You Away”. Kind of gets ridiculous, don’t it?


9 posted on 07/28/2014 4:37:08 AM PDT by Foundahardheadedwoman (God don't have a statute of limitations)
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To: right-wing agnostic
You're a liar, a thief and a provocateur>

See ... all you have to tell is one lie, or snitch a piece of candy from your neighbor's house as you go out the door ... and if you induce argument .. ?

All it takes is one

But are you REALLY a liar and a thief ?

10 posted on 07/28/2014 4:44:22 AM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true .. I have no proof .. but they're true.)
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To: right-wing agnostic

When did such disenfranchisement become law?

Does anyone know?

Have all convicts lose all of their 2A rights ( and many of the related preceding natural rights)from day one or did some legislation passed by the fedgov make that so?

I hope someone on this forum researches this question and enlightens us all.

(hint- may be a certain act passed in 1968).


11 posted on 07/28/2014 5:04:19 AM PDT by Manly Warrior (US ARMY (Ret), "No Free Lunches for the Dogs of War")
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To: right-wing agnostic

Simple answer: there is no exception within the 2nd authorizing the prohibition of arms by felons. The only way to change that is by amending the Constitution. Thus, by a plain reading, there exist no Constitutional authority to prohibit the felon class from keeping and bearing arms - no matter the emotional appeal of it.

If a criminal is determined to still be a danger to society they should not be released back out into society.


12 posted on 07/28/2014 5:37:15 AM PDT by Mechanicos (When did we amend the Constitution for a 2nd Federal Prohibition?)
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To: right-wing agnostic

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13 posted on 07/28/2014 5:49:12 AM PDT by KeyLargo
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To: right-wing agnostic

Show me the part of the Constitution that says felons can be denied ANY right. You cannot. Standing on American soil we have inalienable rights. God gave us these rights, only God can take them away. Even if you do not feel safe around guns.


14 posted on 07/28/2014 6:12:42 AM PDT by SpeakerToAnimals (I hope to earn a name in battle)
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To: Mechanicos
Unfortunately, too many of the legal system obey the un-Constitutional GCA of 1968.

Prior to that time, you could go away for 10 years for murder (or whatever), get out, plunk down $79.95 and walk out of Western Auto or Sears with an AK47

15 posted on 07/28/2014 6:15:09 AM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true .. I have no proof .. but they're true.)
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To: right-wing agnostic

If you can’t be trusted in polite society with the means to defend yourself if attacked,

you shouldn’t have been released into polite society.


16 posted on 07/28/2014 6:16:51 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: Yo-Yo
I, for one, generally believe that a convicted felon should have their 2nd Amendment rights restored, as well as their voting rights, once their full sentence has been served, including any probationary period.

A lot of states allow convicted felons to petition to have their rights restored after they've served the complete sentence. It allows a judge to determine if the individual is still a threat. Maybe it's not a perfect solution, but it's better than banning someone for life because they forged a check when they were 20 years old.

17 posted on 07/28/2014 6:36:27 AM PDT by Rhinoman (SMSgt, USAF (Ret))
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To: right-wing agnostic

Before 1968, a felon or anyone could buy a handgun with no questions asked.

The crime rate back then was very low. Then came the 1968 Gun Control Law.
We can thank Oswald and Sirhan Sirhan for that, along with a very anti-gun media.


18 posted on 07/28/2014 6:59:44 AM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Sometimes you need more than seven rounds, Much more.)
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To: right-wing agnostic
I know many FReepers will defend a felons still having the right to keep and bear arms, but I think the argument is completely ludicrous.

You have either paid for your crime, or you haven't. There should be no second class to be held to different standards.

If a person cannot be trusted to regain all rights upon completion of all time, probation and parole, then why are they trusted to be on the streets at all? There are some who should never breathe free air again, but many who have righted themselves, and become productive members of society who are denied the most basic fundamental right of self-defense.

19 posted on 07/28/2014 8:13:10 AM PDT by IYAS9YAS (Has anyone seen my tagline? It was here yesterday. I seem to have misplaced it.)
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To: right-wing agnostic

1. The answer to the lead question is the legal doctrine of “competing harms”: there is a legal defense to committing a crime when _not_ committing that crime _will_ result in greater harm under the circumstances.

2. This scenario does _not_ satisfy the “competing harms” requirement. The fight underway was solely a matter between two antagonists who, AFAIK, voluntarily engaged in “unlawful combat” and while violent did not, AFAIK, show a lethal risk (a nuanced evaluation which only those present could decide). The fact that the shot fired was a “warning” shows the actor/felon in question believed the situation was NOT lethal, and thus itself becomes the crime of discharging a lethal weapon without due cause. (There exists a long list of grave injuries & deaths from “warning shots”.)

Ergo the felon, unable to articulate any viable concern of actual “greater harm” (neither combatant was at apparent risk of being beaten to death in otherwise voluntary illegal combat), is not excused from the crime of “felon in possession of a lethal weapon”.


20 posted on 07/28/2014 8:18:45 AM PDT by ctdonath2 ("If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun" - Obama, setting RoE with his opposition)
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To: IYAS9YAS

The reasoning amounts to: we’ll let an otherwise rehabilitated felon out if he adheres to certain restrictions; if he won’t, then back in the slammer he goes. Otherwise we have to keep ‘em incarcerated until there is no question of social trustworthiness, which is nigh unto impossible and very costly. Yes, they’re denied basic right of self-defense - they may either accept that denial and otherwise be freed, or remain incarcerated.


21 posted on 07/28/2014 8:25:14 AM PDT by ctdonath2 ("If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun" - Obama, setting RoE with his opposition)
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To: right-wing agnostic

Most of these posters live in rainbow and unicorn land when it comes to knowing and socializing and associating with felons, so in their fantasy, felons are mostly just railroaded gentle folk who don’t live the lifestyle.


22 posted on 07/28/2014 12:15:15 PM PDT by ansel12 (LEGAL immigrants, 30 million 1980-2012, continues to remake the nation's electorate for democrats)
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To: right-wing agnostic

I do not believe a felon who has never used a firearm in the commission of a crime should lose their 2A rights.

People get slapped with felonies left and right in this Country, often for doctor shopping or larceny.
Their right to defend themselves after their punishment has been served shouldn’t be on the table. IMHO


23 posted on 07/28/2014 12:26:19 PM PDT by eyedigress ((zOld storarned m chaser from the west)/?s)
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To: ctdonath2

that’s so smart it’s dumb.


24 posted on 07/28/2014 4:56:05 PM PDT by nixonsnose (you never know how much pee splatters until you are standing at the urinal in flip flops.)
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To: nixonsnose

It’s established law. Cope.


25 posted on 07/28/2014 5:44:02 PM PDT by ctdonath2 ("If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun" - Obama, setting RoE with his opposition)
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