Thursday, June 6, 2013

Pardoned N.C. Felon Has Right to Own Guns


News and Record


North Carolina's law banning convicted felons from possessing firearms doesn't apply to a convicted kidnapper who served his time in prison and was later pardoned, the state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

"The plain and unambiguous language" of the law is that it "does not apply to individuals who have been pardoned," Judge Donna Stroud wrote for the three-judge appeals panel.
Lee Franklin Booth's gun rights were restored with his pardon by former Gov. Jim Hunt in 2001, the court said. Booth had been convicted of second-degree kidnapping in Craven County in 1981 and released on parole four years later.

Booth, 54, tried to start a gun-making business in 2007, but was blocked from getting the needed federal license because regulators interpreted North Carolina's felony firearms law to mean he couldn't own a weapon.

The law doesn't specify any type of pardon, so all of the types North Carolina governors can issue apply, the court ruled. That countered an argument by state attorneys defending the North Carolina law and arguing Booth was barred from gun ownership.

"We note that in various other statutes our legislature does specify that particular types of pardons have different consequences, but here the legislature chose not to modify the word 'pardon' but instead spoke to pardons in general," Stroud wrote.

I'm not sure what "pardon" really means.  Doesn't the governor or the president give those away as gifts? Don't they have little to do with the person's innocense?

On the other hand when a person is exculpated, for example, based on DNA analysis, the action speaks directly to their innocense.

I would have to say that, unless a person's innocense is restored, they should not regain their gun rights. 

And I reject outright the simplistic view that convicted felons who are deemed fit to return to society after having served a prison sentence are also fit to own guns safely. The folks who say that also say, if a person can't be trusted with a gun they can't be trusted to be released from prison.  This is obviously pro-gun nonsense.

What's your opinion?   Please leave a comment.


20 comments:

  1. I tend to agree if we're talking about violent felons, which kidnapping certainly is. I also agree that if innocence is established, then they were never guilty in the first place and should get all of their rights restored.

    Non violent felonies, though, are a different matter. Can anyone really say that someone like, say, Martha Stewart poses a threat to society (well, maybe from boring us to death)? She is a convicted felon, after all. I believe that those who commit non violent felonies should get their rights restored once they've paid their debt to society.

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    1. Non-violent felons, I agree. In fact, I don't think they should lose their rights in the first place and they certainly shouldn't be taking up space in prison, unless they're repeat offenders of a very serious nature.

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    2. non aggravated means "no violence"

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    3. What are you talking about?

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    4. the guy was convicted of "second degree non aggravated kidnapping" according to the records and his Pardon, in 1981 and released from Prison in 1983, the off Parole in 1985. His rights were automatically restored in 1991, then taken away in 2000, then he sued the state and won.

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    5. Convicted for kidnapping is a non-violent offense? I call non-violent offenses things like embezzling the company's money, or lying on your tax return.

      Any kind of kidnapping should disqualify a person for gun ownership for ever.

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    6. Well Ignorance of the Law is an expensive lesson. You may call it whatever but the Law defines it clearly. Non Violent is Non Violent.
      I think anyone who ever had any type substance abuse, convicted or not, prescribed or not should never have a gun. But my opinion is just like your's an opinion.

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  2. Felons should have to go through a probationary period--less for non-violent felons, more for violent ones--during with the ex-con will show readiness to return to full participation, but once that is up, all rights must be restored. We've demonstrated in this country that having second-class citizens doesn't work well.

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  3. Mike,

    The general idea of pardons was to either declare someone innocent of the accused crime, or otherwise declare that they were being forgiven and would bear no punishment, or no more punishment--hence, the pardons don't just remove any remaining sentence, but they remove the infamy that attaches with the crime. It is the legal declaration of infamy that renders one unable to vote, hold a public office of trust, or own firearms.

    This is why full pardons should restore firearms rights as well as voting rights, etc. This (the full removal of infamy, not just the firearms issue) is also why the reality of how pardons are granted today, as reflected in your opening paragraph, is a travesty, and presidents and governors who hand out pardons based only on gifting contributors and other supporters should be held accountable.

    This was why people were so upset by Clinton and Bush's eleventh hour pardons: they were given as gifts to supporters--just another instance of the abuse of executive authority.

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    1. All Pardons have a "warrant" attached to them. The warrant lists any and all conditions, such as firearms rights. If there are no conditions on the warrant it is a Full Pardon. Gov Jim Hunt Jr did not give many Pardons and no one ever bought one from him. He was very hard on crime since his father was killed in an armed robbery.

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  4. As for the prohibition on felons owning guns and other forms of infamy, my understanding is that these laws originated as we moved out of a period where just about every felony was punishable by death, so the general idea was that since we could kill you for what you did, if we were merciful enough to let you live, we could attach whatever limitations to your rights we wanted to.

    Of course, in the modern day this rationale doesn't apply anymore, and it seems kind of silly to declare someone infamous for the rest of their life based on some of our modern felonies, for instance, depositing a large cash payment in a couple $9,000 increments which can get you convicted of money laundering even if you aren't laundering money from organized crime.

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  5. If they don't want to restore rights, they can commune a sentence to "time served" rather than pardon, which is intended as a forgiveness. Both are entirely different than discovering the party was innocent (which should include reprimations).

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  6. Mr. Booth has had a very interesting history. After his release from prison, he seems to have specialized in aquiring companies and running them into the ground. One of these companies was Hooters Air which cost over 400 people their jobs. After being pardoned by Democratic Governor Jim Hunt in 2001, he seems to have moved into the firearms industry.
    Mr. Booth has been written about in firearms blogs back in 2010 and earlier. The articles werent exactly complimentary of Mr. Booth.
    http://pjmedia.com/blog/felons-cant-own-guns-so-how-did-this-guy-acquire-three-gun-companies/

    Then I found this interesting article, http://guncounter.bob-owens.com/2011/06/lee-booth-informant/

    I wasnt able to find any information on why he was pardoned, so my guess it was political in nature. I'm guessing that if it was to right a wrongful conviction, it would have been publicized better. But that is part of the power of those offices who have pardon powers.


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    1. ssgmarkcr, why don't you do some research before engaging your mouth. the guy never owned Pace where 400 people lost their jobs. He proved that in federal court. the gun blog was also not true. in fact the blog was shut down when lawyers started calling the writer. The guy never owned 3 gun company's. You are an idiot. No wonder our Military is in such a mess.

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    2. Ssgmarkcr why don't you look into the true facts before writing such nonsense. Hooters was owned by a man named brooks and closed. Pace is what you think you are writing about and Booth never owned it, never ran it or any other biz into the ground and the 400 people, including myself, were gone before he ever came into the picture. There is a stack of legal proof 40 feet thick to prove what I am saying. It should be illegal for people like you to have a computer.

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    3. Anon,
      Which blog are you referring to? Both seem to be up and running. In fact here is an update that mentions that the author posted a correction for some items in his article.
      http://www.bob-owens.com/2012/09/vague-threat-or-opportunity-for-patriotism-you-decide/

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    4. Anon,
      It sounds like things are still working its way through the courts. It seems that someone out there thinks that Booth owned some of the airline. Because he seems to have been named in these legal proceedings.
      Can you tell me if you wrote both responses? Or are there two Anons out there who commented on a fairly old post within three minutes of each other?

      "Even though attorney fees are likely to eat into any money that comes from the lawsuit, the amount in dispute still could be pivotal to the 423 employees whose jobs were eliminated when Pace collapsed in September 2009. Pace was once the biggest tenant of Smith Reynolds Airport in Winston-Salem.
      The N.C. Labor Department has filed a claim with the bankruptcy court for more than $1.5 million in back wages."

      "Allman also said in the April filing that he was evaluating "potential adversarial prosecution" against Pace's co-owners, Rodgers and Lee Booth."

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    5. Booth counter sued the Pace Trustee. It was proven in Court he was not an owner. The employees were already let go before he purchased the Equipment from Rogers. Rogers Insurance paid all the claims. The records are all available to the public.
      It isn't uncommon for trustees to go after anyone and everyone they think they can get cash from right or wrong. Booth fought back and he won. He was not an owner of Pace and he had nothing to do with any of the employees and that is all a matter of court records and orders.

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    6. If you check Mr Bob owens article for facts like I did, you can easily see The guy never "owned" any of the three gun company's mentioned (all public records), and the very statement that he was not allowed to own a gun or gun company in itself has been proven false in the NC Courts (public records). I think Mr owens is in for a bad time in Federal Court soon.

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  7. Yes, Booth was named in the proceedings and we all researched this guy to hell and back, including the Bull shi* story written about him by Bob owens. There are many many non truths and false allegations on this guy. He never owned Pace, we were all gone before he got involved and there were never any "Marshals" that searched his place of business, as written about by Bob owens. Bill Rogers was the owner of Pace, he legally sold the maintenance assets of Pace to Booth and Booth's attorney gave proof of payment and contracts to the Bankruptcy Court, all a matter of the record.

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