Each legislative session, the government adds to its list of those behaviors it calls “criminal,” and adds more severe penalties to existing crimes. Though this sounds good in sound bites by candidates preaching public safety, it can be horribly unfair when applied to individual circumstances.
Most people have no idea the long term consequences of criminal charges. Let me give you one example: April 1, 2011, a sixteen year-old kid goes into a barn with his buddies and steals a case of beer left there by some hired hands earlier that week. He gets caught and charged. That’s called burglary in the 3rd degree. It’s a felony. If our 16-year-old friend goes in and pleads guilty and is adjudicated, how long would it seem reasonable that he lose his firearm rights? I know what you’re thinking, what has a couple of kids screwing around got to do with guns? In that situation, why would anyone want to take away what could be the healthiest habit and family activity that young man has, hunting? But the legislature has chosen to assign a firearms prohibition on this type of conviction, with no regard to individual circumstances.
The length of the ban? Forever. A lifetime. Until the 16-year-old dies.
Numerous crimes carry this penalty. Numerous other crimes drag with them collateral consequences that can haunt a good person who made a bad choice for decades.
You have State and Federal Constitutional rights. I am dedicated to protecting the rights of Minnesota citizens.