New York Times on Felons and Guns

Convenient timing for the Times to run a piece on felons and guns right ahead of the vote on HR822, with our opponents claiming it will allow felons to carry:

Since 1995, more than 3,300 felons and people convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors have regained their gun rights in the state — 430 in 2010 alone — according to the analysis of data provided by the state police and the court system. Of that number, more than 400 — about 13 percent — have subsequently committed new crimes, the analysis found. More than 200 committed felonies, including murder, assault in the first and second degree, child rape and drive-by shooting.

The question I would have is how many committed new crimes where the restoration of their civil rights was a factor in the new crime? I’m relatively unconcerned about someone convicted of tax evasion getting his civil rights restored, and then committing tax evasion again. In that instance there was no social problem caused by the restoration of that person’s right. I’d really like to know what percentage of folks having their rights restored go on to commit other violent crimes using a gun. I’d even settle for the percentage that go on to commit any violent crimes, whether a gun was used or not. I suspect the rate of people violently re-offending is probably much lower than the Times’ 13%. The Times is quick to point out anecdotes, but anecdotes are not data.

It’s also worth pointing out that a recidivism rate of 13%, compared to the 50% to 70% rate found among the general population of people having served time, is actually pretty good. If I wanted to play the same correlation vs. causation games our opponents play, I could argue that restoration of rights is an important aspect of keeping recidivism rates much much lower than they otherwise would be.

One Response to “New York Times on Felons and Guns”

  1. harleycowboy says:

    It looks like being put in prison causes recidivism.