Saturday, November 29, 2008

WSJ on Bush Guns and Bush Pardons

Amir Efrati of the Wall Street Journal has written an interesting piece on George W. Bush's use of the pardon power. It notes:
On the surface, the list of the 14 people pardoned by the president this week shows few common denominators in terms of time served, geographic location or even type of crime, except that the felonies were non-violent. But a closer look at some of the newly pardoned shows many of them are church-going, blue-collar workers from rural areas (and ardent Bush supporters) who had little trouble finding jobs after their convictions. There is another common thread: the important role firearms once played in their lives.
These patterns are significant because:
Convicted felons lose a host of civil rights, including the right to vote, seek political office or bear arms. A presidential pardon forgives federal crimes and restores basic rights. Many felons can win back some rights from their states after they complete their punishment. But the right to possess guns can be restored only by the president, says Margaret Love, a former pardon attorney under the first President Bush and the first term of President Clinton, who pardoned 396, mostly during his second term. (Felons are allowed to possess certain antique guns, she says.) ... Coincidentally or not, at least seven of the 14 pardoned on Monday are former hunters or shooting enthusiasts. In interviews, five of them said they wrote in their petitions to the government that a desire to win back the right to bear arms was a chief reason for wanting a pardon.
See full article here.

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