Judge Rules Felons Have Right to Guns!!

Talk about bad repercussions that terrible bills passed by the LA legislature and signed by the governor can have. Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Judge Darryl Derbigny dismissed the gun charge against a felon and ruled that the entire statute was unconstitutional.  We are talking about the statute banning most felons from owning guns.

How could this happen? Even though I didn’t vote for it, and most of my circle of friends and family didn’t, a constitutional amendment passed last year that made the right to bear arms a fundamental one in Louisiana, equal to freedom of speech and religion.

The Louisiana Supreme Court will now decide the whether the law banning many felons from owning guns is voided by the new fundamental right to bear arms.

Felon with Gun

Felon with Gun

Our esteemed governor chimed in on this issue rather quickly, saying the gun rights amendment should not put guns in the hand of felons. Jindal stated, We disagree with the judge’s ruling. The amendment passed last session is not in conflict with the Louisiana or federal law barring felons from owning guns.

The Governor is having a lot of problems with the constitutionality of several of the showcase bills passed in the last session. His school voucher program was declared unconstitutional by State District Judge Tim Kelley since it took money from other educational funds instead of the general fund, and District Judge William Morvant found that the retirement plan to shift future rank-and-file state workers to a 401(k)-style retirement plan needed a two-thirds majority rather than the simple majorities it got in both House and Senate.

Gun Felon Illustration

Gun Felon Illustration by Tim Brinton, Philly.com

District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro has chimed in on this issue, stating that his office will continue prosecuting felons who possess firearms. It turns out Cannizzaro saw this coming when the legislature and governor were passing this bill. He realized that legal challenges would materialize quickly when gun ownership became a ‘fundamental’ right like freedom of speech. Kudos to the D.A., the legislature and the governor thought the gun bill was a great idea. I don’t know who vets these bills for the governor and the legislature, but they cannot be very good at their job.

Judge Frank Marullo has already ruled in favor of defendants in similar cases. He hasn’t declared the statute unconstitutional, stating his rulings pertained to specific cases and their unique circumstances.

Judge Arthur Hunter is scheduled to hear a similar case later this month.

The Orleans Parish public defenders’ office challenged the constitutional of the statute for a half dozen clients, all charged with being a felon in possession of a gun. If you are an armed person committing a violent crime with a gun, that’s not good. If you are charged with a nonviolent crime like simple burglary,  should you be able to own a gun? That’s a different question and situation. Either way, anyone arrested for a gun charge and defended by the public defender’s office will find the gun charge being challenged on constitutional grounds.

~ by neworleansmusicman on March 24, 2013.

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