The right to own a gun is something that many Americans take for granted. We point to our Second Amendment rights as our proof that we are permitted to possess a weapon in our own homes and, in some states, carry that weapon in public.

But what if you are a convicted felon? No matter if you were convicted of passing a bad check or murdering your neighbor, you are not permitted to own a weapon. That all changed this week when the House passed a measure that gave back Second Amendment rights to those people convicted of non-violent felonies.

Representatives cited a grandfather who had been charged years ago while in college with writing a bad rent check. For years, the man was denied his right to own a weapon, something that some lawmakers feel should never have occurred. Said Colorado Representative Ken Buck, “America is a land of second chances. One mistake should not define your future.”

This bill was an amendment to the Justice appropriations bill and received a voice vote in favor of its passing.

The move is one that could settle an ongoing fight between gun-control supporters and gun-rights advocates. Ex-felons have had the right to appeal to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for their gun ownership rights. There was, however, a 23-year-old provision that put up a road block to the investigation of such applications.

People who have lost their right to own guns are closer to being able to petition the government to have those rights restored.

What many were perhaps not aware of was that Buck was the grandfather who had seen his rights taken away. Once having written a bad check to a landlord to cover his rent, he was charged and convicted of a felony, losing his right to purchase or own a firearm. That loss prohibited him from taking his grandson hunting.

Advocates of this bill are pleased that a group of people will be able to have their gun ownership rights restored. While it makes sense that those convicted of violent felonies not be permitted to own weapons, it is a clear violation of rights when non-violent persons are barred from practicing those rights in a free country.

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