One feels sorry for Susan Du, a young reporter at City Pages. The headline on her article offers what seems like the perfect angle: Minnesota's Ex-felons Can Have Guns with Silencers, But They Can't Vote.
Someone in the Restore the Vote movement--which aims to restore voting rights to felons who are on parole or Probation--must have thought this was a winning argument, and found Du three sources for her Blotter post. Du writes:
Thanks to the Minnesota Legislature, everyone can now own guns with silencers -- ex-felons are no exception -- but many still can't vote.
Minnesota had a clear shot this session at finally restoring voting rights for 47,000 people on parole or probation. But the Republican House leadership edited the measure out of a judiciary bill. When that bill eventually passed in late April, it legalized silencers to great cheers from the gun lobby. . . .
Unfortunately, for the reporter--who does not appear to have researched Minnesota statutes on felon rights, it simply isn't true that "everyone can now own guns with silencers -- ex-felons are no exception."
People who are convicted of "crimes of violence" (the list is long and includes crimes that might not seem terribly violent to laypeople) are not able to own or possess guns. The new law allowing suppressors (silencers) doesn't change that.
From the Minnesota Judicial Branch's Fourth District, Hennepin County Webpage:
Can I own or possess a gun even if I have a felony on my record?
When a person is convicted of a felony, he or she loses some civil rights for a while, including the right to own or possess a gun (firearm). The person automatically gets those rights back when they have completed their sentence. But, if a person was convicted of a felony “crime of violence” as described in MN Statutes § 624.713, subd. 5, he or she loses the right to own or possess a gun for life.[emphasis added] The only way to get that right back is to file a petition with the court asking for a special order. Read the law at MN Statutes § 609.165. NOTE: The court does not publish forms or instructions for that petition, so you should get help from a lawyer.
We're all for Restoring the Vote, as the measure makes sense.
But those who brought this malarky to City Page should contemplate why they're pushing an argument that's as divisive as it is false. Some of the "crimes of violence" are relics of the War on Drugs--and the arrest and convictions rates for the drug related offenses hit harder on communities of color than for white offenders.
But if alienating potential allies in the gun rights community is the goal--Bluestem is told that Public Safety Committee Chair Cornish (R-Vernon Center) smiles on restoring the vote among other civil liberties like gun rights--we think this nonsense can't be beat.
Ms. Du will have to consult her own guidelines for what happens when she's burned by a source.
Photo: We agree with the NRA on suppressors. We also support restoring the vote as a public safety and crime prevention measure, as "some research that suggests a correlation between voting and lower reoffense rates."
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