Monday, August 31, 2009

Barney Britt v. North Carolina: Gun Rights Restored

While the country is taking a severe left turn in the Marxist direction in economics and "social justice" (which I think is a code word for wealth redistribution), we are actually making strides toward more gun freedom. Make no mistake, it is a fight every step of the way.

More and more states have become "shall issue" concealed carry states. States are expanding the places where there is a right to carry, such as restaurant, as long as the concealed carrier is not drinking. States are expanding the protections in self defense by expanding the state Castle Doctrines, making it clear that in your own home, you do not have the duty to run from someone breaking in.

Here is a case where a man name Barney Britt was convicted of a nonviolent drug felony in 1979. He completed his probation and his rights were fully restored by law including his right to own a firearm under North Carolina law. In 2004, the North Carolina legislature banned possession of firearms to all persons previously convicted of a felony, regardless of the subsequent history of being law-abiding.

In the case decided August 28, 2009, the Supreme Court of North Carolina held the 2004 law unconstitutional as applied to Barney Britt on the facts set forth above. The court said "In particular it is unreasonable to assert that a nonviolent citizens who has responsibly, safely, and legally owned and used firearms for seventeen years is in reality so dangerous that any possession at all of a firearm would pose a significant threat to public safety." The court went on to hold the 2004 statutory amendment to be a violation of Art. I., Section 10 of the North Carolina Constitution which states the right to bear arms in exactly the same words as the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Read the full case and the dissent here.

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