When should a felon be able to possess a firearm? Should there be a total ban on all felons ever owning a firearm for any reason?

In 2004, North Carolina changed its law to create a blanket ban on felons, including non-violent felons, from possessing firearms, even for self-defense reasons at home.

Recently, the North Carolina Supreme Court heard a case involving a non-violent felon who for 30 years after being convicted engaged in no illegal behavior.  He even owned guns without incident, but because of this 2004 ban, he had to get rid of the guns.

The individual challenged the law and the Court held that the blanket prohibition, as applied to this plaintiff, was unconstitutional.   There likely will be a rush to the courthouse as convicted felons try and restore their gun rights.

To avoid this barrage on the courts, and to make sure that the law isn’t so overbroad that it is unconstitutional as applied to many citizens, the legislature needs to amend the law next year.

A recent column I wrote covered this issue and is featured here and here.

BTW: This case makes it clear that the North Carolina Constitution provides an individual right to bear arms.