Many gun rights advocates will open their discussion about gun rights by pointing out that they don’t believe convicted felons should have guns, a position I have some issues with. Most will also say that those who are found to have guns in their possession should go to jail. The question is, what about those who are imprisoned for being felons with guns but weren’t really felons?
USA Today had the story yesterday.
A USA TODAY investigation, based on court records and interviews with government officials and attorneys, found more than 60 men who went to prison for violating federal gun possession laws, even though courts have since determined that it was not a federal crime for them to have a gun.
Many of them don’t even know they’re innocent.
The legal issues underlying their situation are complicated, and are unique to North Carolina. But the bottom line is that each of them went to prison for breaking a law that makes it a federal crime for convicted felons to possess a gun. The problem is that none of them had criminal records serious enough to make them felons under federal law.
Still, the Justice Department has not attempted to identify the men, has made no effort to notify them, and, in a few cases in which the men have come forward on their own, has argued in court that they should not be released.