Felons - No Right

Posted: 17 Aug 2008 Last revised: 16 Feb 2009

Date Written: August 14, 2008


Since at least the 1960s gun ban advocates have claimed that most murders are committed by ordinary law abiding adults just because they happen to have access to a gun at a time when they get angry. This is utterly false. Homicide studies invariably show perpetrators to be extreme aberrants with life histories of violence, crime, psychopathology and/or substance abuse. If such people could be disarmed there would be no gun crime (though they would kill with other weapons).

Such people have no right to arms: (a) because at common law they were not part of "the people" of whom the Second Amendment speaks; at common law felons were "civilly dead," having no right to property of any kind, much less guns; and (b) because throughout history societies recognizing a right to arms have confined that right to "the virtuous citizenry," a category that excludes criminals, juveniles and the insane.

Keywords: felons,criminals, gun crime, firearms, psychopathology, violence

Suggested Citation

Kates, Don B., Felons - No Right (August 14, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1226440

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics