Saturday, July 30, 2011

Like you and me, only famouser.

Apparently some cops in North Cackalacky had a "Take A Hair Band To The Range Day" recently. When the video footage of over-the-hill rockers shooting up the scenery hit the local news as a human interest story, wedged between the adorable puppies up for adoption at the pound and Mrs. Johnson's prize-winning gardenias, some viewers must have had their memories jogged by the sight of needle tracks amidst the tattoos and thought "Hey, don't a couple of those guys have felony records?"

Why, yes. Yes they do.

Having violated the first rule of committing federal felonies, which is "Don't have them videotaped and broadcast on television," Tommy Lee and Brett Michaels found themselves the subject of BATFEIEIO scrutiny*. (Unlike Marky Mark, who handles guns on camera all the time without the Funky Bunch of Investigation ever showing up on set and disrupting filming...)

The websites where people go drool and blather over celebrities are apoplectic. How dare this silly law be applied to rock stars? These are the very same kind of people, mind you, who were aghast that that Loughner weirdo got his hands on a gun. Now, had the police dragged J. Random Crackhead out there and let him play with M4s and AKs, what do you bet we'd be hearing a different tune?

Laws, even dumb ones**, are apparently for the little people.

_______________________
* Which is kind of funny. Apparently they committed the wrong kind of felonies. If they'd been committing the right kind of felonies, the BATFE would have given them guns.

**...and yes, I think felon-in-possession laws are stupid. If the guy can't be trusted with a gun, then he can't be trusted with cars or gasoline or chainsaws or kids or oxygen and needs to be locked away from decent people. If he's safe to walk the streets, he's safe to own a gun.

43 comments:

.45ACP+P said...

Gee, imagine that. Stupid laws actually might apply to everyone. Do not look for excuses for your favoite people. Get rid of the stupid laws instead. I seem to recall a Thomas Jefferson quote: "Let no free man be debarred the use of arms." Works for me. If a persons behavior make them a hazard to society, do not let them out of prison. If their debt is paid, then call it fully paid. Those on parole, may continue in pergatory. Most felon possession laws are for "gotcha" purposes anyway.

God, Gals, Guns, Grub said...

**... I have an acquaintance who had a felony conviction for destruction of government property during a protest at the age of 19 in 1969 after an honorable discharge from the army (he didn't like the war he had just served in during a 13-month tour overseas and helped wreck some municipal items during the protest).

Now in his early 60s, he only bow hunts as he can not possess a firearm by law.

On the other hand, he is father of three college graduates and a life-long truck driver who delivers tank-trucks of... GASOLINE to gas stations throughout SW Ohio.

Thank God we don't let him have a shotgun for duck hunting!

Most who know him would agree he's been rehabilitated and the government has willingly accepted his taxes for the last 40-plus years.

Dann in Ohio

Tam said...

Dann,

Yup. In Tamaraland, the law will be simple: "If you're in jail, you can't have guns."

Guffaw in AZ said...

Hell, Tam...
In some circles, 'they' want felons to VOTE!
(captive audience?)

GuardDuck said...

Nearby we have a Clackamas county. Every time I read your North Cackalacky I start to wonder what those bufoons have done this time.

Although you could easily be talking about them as well....

Jeffrey Quick said...

In answer to the links's question, I think the COPS ought to be investigated, for not doing their job. Not, mind you, that the job is worth doing. But the law is the law.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Well, I mean if Elvis could keep breaking the "Illegal Discharge of a Firearm" Ordinance by shooting up all those TeeWees Back in the Day.....

.45ACP+P said...

You got my curiosity up about Marky Mark. It seems he only got tagged with Assault which in my 5 minute exploration of Massachusets law, appears to be a serious misdemeanor not a felony in their system. Could that be his "out"?

Tam said...

With Marky Mark, it's a definite maybe.

Hobie said...

There you go again, making sense...

Standard Mischief said...

>In some circles, 'they' want felons to VOTE!

In Maryland, you automatically get your voting rights restored at the end of sentence. LINK This of course means that convicted sex offenders could be at the blackbox voting machine right next to you! Think of the children!

Of course, Maryland does not recognize the RKBA as an actual right. I'll have to look up the actual statute and see exactly how the "get to vote again" works. What happens when we force Maryland to recognize all of our rights?

Anonymous said...

I have to respectfully disagree with you Tam.

If you are so stupid as to commit, get caught, convicted, sentenced and can’t get your crime expunged or pardoned, then you really are too stupid to have a gun or run a chainsaw.

Even Sean Penn got that done.

Gerry

Tam said...

Gerry,

I'm sorry, I've read the 2nd Amendment a blue million times and still can't find the "except for convicted felons" part in there.

(Of course, if you had told the Founding Fathers that somebody could be a "felon" from filling in a wetland in their back yard or kicking their dog, they'd have laughed in your face. After they beat you with their canes...)

kishnevi said...

Tam, the reason the FFs didn't mention felons is because in their day the context was rather different. Nowadays, a felony is simply a crime for which you can be sentenced to a year or more in jail, and a misdemeanor is one which you can only be sentenced to 364 days or less.

Back then, a felony was a crime for which you could lose both your life (ie, the death penalty) and your property (forfeited to the King and/or the liege lord in the classic English version), and it was the height of magnaminity you were transported to the colonies or Austrailia. Felons, if they were allowed to live, were without any civil rights. Worrying over whether or not you could keep a musket under the bed was a relatively minor concern if you were a convicted felon back then.

John B said...

.... If he's safe to walk the streets, he's safe to own a gun.

Tam...
Marry Me?

(running rapidly from my girlfriend)

Lanius said...

Huh,

It's not 'possession' if the gun's rented and an range officer's watching you shoot the gun.

At least, around here I think.

Matt G said...

Hey, looky there!-- Tam and I do disagree on something... sorta.

I disagree with you that felons shouldn't possess firearms away from their home (the TX standard, after 5 years), but I believe 75% or more of our felonies are bogus, and should be returned to misdemeanors.

An Ordinary American said...

So a convicted felon, on parole for aggravated rape, should be allowed to own and carry a gun?

You gotta be kidding me. . .

With rights come responsibilities and accountability. When an individual proves, especially repeatedly, that they cannot and WILL NOT follow the rules of our society, then I have zero problem relieving them of some of their rights.

In AOA land, I'd have these people stacked in like firewood in prisons. But, too many Democrats rely upon the felon vote and felon support, so it ain't gonna happen.

--AOA

ASM826 said...

I do not think that allowing someone to shoot a weapon under supervision constitutes possession. If I take a minor to the range, the weapon is considered to be in my possession, even if the minor is holding and firing it.

When we have "open to the ladies" range days, we aren't doing criminal background checks, we're maintaining control of the weapons.

staghounds said...

I'm of four minds about this.

It's the individual's responsibility to obey the law. If you are offered an opportunity to commit a crime, you ought to say no. If you don't, you are responsible for that decision. So I have no sympathy for the felons.

The fact that police officers handed them the guns makes a difference to their legal defence. This is, arguably, entrapment. Even though it was unintentional entrapment, a jury might well find that it meets the requirements.

And third, the way to get a bad law changed is to enforce it so the people get disgusted.

And fourth, their reaction helps expose the dishonesty of those who would limit our liberty.

Wolfwood said...

I thought I'd read that Marky Mark only uses special prop non-guns in his movies precisely because he is a convicted felon.

Phillip said...

Nice thing is, between Tommy Lee and Bret Michaels, they might actually have enough money to hire an attorney that will fight the whole thing on 2nd Amendment grounds, or somehow otherwise make the case that the felon-in-possession laws are not in the service of Justice.

What? A guy can hope, right? I know a few people who made stupid decisions twenty-plus years ago and have been model citizens ever since that I think it's stupid and useless.

Glenn Kelley said...

So did they violate state law as well as federal law?The OP provided a ink to a source that said state law but that "source "was the National Enquirer.

Glenn

Tam said...

Glenn Kelley,

"So did they violate state law as well as federal law?The OP provided a ink to a source that said state law but that "source "was the National Enquirer."

They violated both state and federal law.

Tam said...

An Ordinary American,

"So a convicted felon, on parole for aggravated rape, should be allowed to own and carry a gun?"

Let me throw that one back in a different form: If he's so dangerous that he can't be trusted with a 10/22, what in the $#%& is he doing out of prison in the first place?

Further, assuming a felon has done their time, how heinous of a crime does it have to be before a person loses their right to self-defense? Assault? Manslaughter? Rape? Murder? Tax Evasion? Filling In Federally-Protected Wetlands Without A Proper Permit?


ASM826,

"I do not think that allowing someone to shoot a weapon under supervision constitutes possession."

If I am not mistaken, courts have construed "felon-in-possession" to include merely being in the same room with and having access to firearms.

Kristopher said...

Yup ... they did it to prevent a felon's spouse from being the official gun owner in a household.

In a slightly unrelated note from Mad Ogre ... I Just Fucking Shot Myself, The Musical.

staghounds said...

Yes, it's definitely possession. Plenty of gun in the defendant's house cases. There's no legal defense.

I think in this case a jury wouldn't convict because of the police involvement.

John A said...

"...and yes, I think felon-in-possession laws are stupid."

For many reasons. My favorite is the store clerk who took a gun from a robber, used it to subdue an also-armed partner - and was jailed for violating his parole by "possessing" a firearm.

Phssthpok said...

If they ARE charged with 'FIP', it'll be interesting to see if the cops will be pursued just as voraciously by the prosecutor for providing the firearms in the first place.

I say give the entire chain of command the Olafson treatment.

genedunn said...

Sadly I think this happened at my (I am a member) range... .

An Ordinary American said...

Tam,

Agree about "what are they doing out of prison or jail," but you made no such inferences to "exceptions."

Fact is, a felon convicted of a violent crime has no business owning or being in possession of a firearm.

There are procedures one can take to have their rights restored, and I would suggest they take those. If they don't, they once again THEY ARE BREAKING THE LAW AND HAVE NO BUSINESS OWNING A GUN.

You do not reward people for breaking or ignoring rules. You hold them accountable.

As for as possession as it pertains to firearms, you have "direct" possession and "constructive" possession.

"Direct" is just that--you have the firearm on or about your person (such as in your car or in your desk at work, etc). "Constructive" means that you have easy, uninhibited access to it at any time you wish.

The "constructive" possession is a slippery slope that I often found myself at odds with during my LE days.

A person gets paroled, they normally head home for their first stop. That means mom and dad have to clear out their guns so that Junior doesn't have "constructive" possession of a firearm.

On one hand, THAT can be seen as violating mom and dad's Second Amendment rights, but on the other, Junior is the felon and mom and dad can give him money for a hotel room or tell Junior to go live somewhere else.

It's a tough one and can be argued easily from both sides.

But Direct possession? I have zero problem tossing a felon's ass back in jail for Felon-In-Possession of a Firearm. They know the rules. They broke the rules.

Their breaking the rules jeopardizes OUR (the law-abiding) rights.

No sympathy.

--AOA

Chris said...

AOA,

There are thousands of people in the US that were convicted of felony assault 20, 30, 40+ years ago that have had no criminal record since. In most states, you can even be convicted of such and serve no jail time.

And keep in mind that they have no recourse to getting their rights back short of a pardon... The federal mechanism for restoring rights was defunded years ago.

Bottom line, if someone is so dangerous that they should not be trusted with arms, then they are too dangerous to own an axe, machete, baseball bat, car, can of gasoline, etc... If they are so dangerous that we cant trust them with a firearm, then they should be locked up so they are not able to harm a free and peacable society.

Matt G said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt G said...

As a practical mattter, parole is here to stay. Parole is a way to encourage prisoners not to kill or hurt other prisoners or jailers, where all are unarmed. Take that prize away, and prepare to see our prisons get worse. FAR worse.

There are adults that we can't keep imprisoned who are not able to account for their actions. These are of course the tiny minority, but they exist. I don't know how to square this with the 2nd Amendment, and that bothers me.

Matt G said...

"(Unlike Marky Mark, who handles guns on camera all the time without the Funky Bunch of Investigation ever showing up on set and disrupting filming...)"

By the way, that was some Old World Hand-Crafted snark, right there. :)

Geodkyt said...

The fact that it IS a law, doesn't mean it is a GOOD law.

It was once against the law to sit at the lunch counter or ride in the good seats of the bus, if you had a wee too much melanin.

It was once against the law for an unmarried, sovereign, sane, adult to have consensual sex with another unmarried, sovereign, sane, adult.

It was once against the law to possess a gun in DC AT ALL.

Nobody is saying to disregard the law, what I read here are people saying, "It's a stupid law and probably unconstitutional -- either CHANGE (legislation) or VOID (SCOTUS) the law."

If the argument is that we are letting violent predators walk the streets who cannot be trusted -- well, I think most of us agree with you. The solution is not to ignore the stupid law, it's to keep the Bad Guys locked up as long as they are dangerous.

Tam said...

Matt G,

"By the way, that was some Old World Hand-Crafted snark, right there. :)"

Oh, thank you! I slaved long and hard over the snark stove for that one. It makes me happy to know that someone got as much of a chuckle out of reading it as I did writing it. :)

Jayson said...

Some of you need to calm the hell down. I'm not sure about Tommy Lee (everyone in the Crue went bonkers at some point or another), but I've never heard of Bret Michaels being convicted of a felony. So until you know otherwise, keep it down to a dull roar.

wv: belly- a really good band i was just listening to an hour ago. weird.

Nathan A said...

You do not reward people for breaking or ignoring rules. You hold them accountable.

Except, as we see regularly, if you are in Law Enforcement. Or are a prosecutor, judge, sheriff, district attorney, or any of the number of other government employees who are regularly rewarded for breaking or ignoring rules, all the way up to the highest offices of the land.

markm said...

Tommy Lee has a domestic violence misdemeanor at least - he spent 4 months in jail for kicking Pamela Anderson - so under current law, it is a federal crime for him to touch a firearm. There's not much sense to that law. You can spend half your free time beating up strangers in bars and never lose your gun rights, but just shove someone you're living with and you get a lifelong loss of your rights. Is there any evidence that taking a DV offender's gun away (if that is even possible) is more likely to prevent him from escalating to murder than taking away a bar-room thug's gun? I suspect it's quite the opposite. If you decide to murder someone you're living with, there's a hundred ways of accomplishing that without a gun and damned little chance anyone can stop you. In a bar or other public place, a gun is deadlier because it increases the chances you'll kill before bystanders even know what's happening. (Of course, a few well-armed bystanders is always the best counter to someone running amok, with or without weapons.)

OTOH, I would not be bothered at all if a judge could consider Lee's whole record, including many cases of assault and battery, and tell him, "There's something wrong with you, boy, and to protect the public against worse than you've done yet, after you get out of jail for this incident, you are banned from ever having a gun in your hand or on your person." But no one should lose their rights under a law that does not consider individual circumstances, and does not even require that they be told they are losing those rights.

An Ordinary American said...

And here we see what is so indicative of our "justice system."

No one here has mentioned any of the victims of these "honorable, rights-deprived convicted felons" (with the exception of the above comment about Pam Anderson).

One does not just wake up one day a felon. One first has to create a victim, and that victim has to be harmed in some way or the other.

Perhaps one should think before they commit a felony.

There are some mistakes that WILL follow you for the rest of your life, but criminal mistakes are preventable in damn near 100% of all circumstances.

I'm sure rape victims, assault victims, aggravated robbery victims (or their families in the case of next of kin when the victims didn't not survive being a victim) are really warm and fuzzy about their assailants having their rights restored back to them.

Crime is preventable because it is a choice. Make the wrong choice and it can cost you dearly and for a long time.

But often times, it costs the victims even MORE dearly and for an even LONGER time.

How easy that is to conveniently forget.

--AOA

Larry said...

AOA, here in North Cackalacky larceny of PINE STRAW (the long thin green stuff that falls off of pine trees and then turns brown) is a felony.

Ian Argent said...

I am personally of the opinion that if you can vote, you can possess a firearm. And that if someone is so all-fired dangerous to civil society that they need to be prohibited from possessing, get a judge to sentence that individual to a specified period of time during which that individual is prohibited from possessing as part of their punishment for a specific action or pattern of actions