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Presidential pardons for gun-buying car thieves

November 29, 2004

I’ve completely misjudged president George “W” Bush – he’s really an old softie.  Here’s a story that just warmed my heart:

As you know, Presidents often issue several pardons for no apparent reason right around Thanksgiving, along with a traditional pardon for a thanksgiving turkey.  Bush did this, and one of the people he pardoned has an interesting angle – he sought a presidential pardon in order to buy a gun.

Richard Morse stole a car in 1963 when he was almost late getting back to his Air Force base in Biloxi, Mississippi.  He served six months, was honorably discharged, and went on to live an exemplary life. 

But in 1998, he tried to buy a shotgun for his son at a Maine gun dealer.  The dealer checked Morse’s record, found he was a convicted felon, and refused to sell him the gun (as he was required to under the Brady bill.)  This didn’t seem right to Morse, a gun activist, and he took it mighty personally.  He began trying to clear his name, and this year his efforts finally led to The White House and a presidential pardon.

There’s just enough goofyness to this story to obscure the serious problem:  Morse was never convicted of a violent crime.  He has lived a good life and was never in trouble again.  Yet, he was lumped in with violent people in the record.  The law is not sufficiently discriminating: it says; “felony conviction.”

This means people convicted of a long string of misdemeanor assaults would be able to guy a gun, but an upstanding guy who 36 years previously had swiped a car purely for transportation gets held up.  It doesn’t make any sense.

Is there a way to make laws make sense?  Could we have a “Sense-making review committee” for laws as they make their way through the process before passage?

No word on whether the turkey was allowed to buy a gun, however.

Categories: News, observations
  1. December 2, 2004 at 01:19 | #1

    I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this.  One part of me really enjoys shooting guns.  There’s nothing more fun than riddling paper targets with large caliber ammunition.  However, there’s one part of me that thinks there’s tons of people who shouldn’t be able to have a weapon that is capable of killing people rather easily.  I mean if you don’t consider someone responsible or upstanding enough to vote, do you really think that they should be armed?  Also, I’m from Canada and here if you’ve ever been divorced that’s sufficient to make it impossible for you to buy a weapon.

  2. Daddy’s Little Girl
    September 2, 2005 at 11:43 | #2

    Thank you DOF, and NO thank you Socialist Swine.  I must stick up for my father.  He used to hunt with a shot gun, and wanted to teach my brother.  This is nothing like “riddling paper targets with large caliber ammunition.”  But he found out he could not purchase a gun for his son because of his own record.  A record of which he was doing a just thing.  He was desperately trying to get back to his base on time, being at the end of his leave.  I personally don’t care about serving for any form of military, but this was something he was committed to, and bad luck was on his side.  So he jumped in a car with keys in it (ignorant driver anyway to leave keys in a car…what if a small child were to climb in and drive it dangerously?).  And how do you know he is NOT RESPONSIBLE to vote?  The f-ing president pardoned him!!  You should take a look at the family and life he has led….Not to brag, but he has helped raised 3 amazing children, and is the nicest guy I have ever met.  He is not violent in any way, doesn’t even raise his voice.  And he is not a drunken fool like you might think a gun owner to be.  Also, I hate the topic DECREPIT OLD FOOL!!!!!  You should be ashamed of yourselves, talking about a decent man like this.  Next time you try to make fun of someone, make sure you get to know him personally first.  This is outrageous that you would feel you need to post your view about this.  No one cares except for the people you hurt, as you can see that no one else has responded to you but his daughter!!!!!  So, you have a right to your own opinion, but you also have a right to choose whether or not to be an ass, or rather a swine.
    Thanks, and have a nice day.  :(

  3. August 30, 2006 at 22:10 | #3

    Thank you Erin, I just found your comments and appreciate them greatly.  You are a terrific daughter.  As to you other people who by accident ever get to this site….President Bush doesn’t give his pardons out to anyone, like the last guy used to.  It took five years of communication. No one (legislatures)in my state of Massachusetts was any help at all.  That means Kennedy and Kerry! and all the others!

  4. Richard A. Morse
    August 30, 2006 at 22:17 | #4

    Oh, Yeah!  I have always voted and have never been not able to vote in an election.  Maybe I fell through the cracks or maybe no one cared or maybe our government is just to big to notice technicalities like that.  At least I am what I call myself an informed voter. I think voting is a responsible thing to do and should not be taken lightly. Don’t let someone sway you to their side.
    Be either right or wrong, but let it be you own decision.

  5. Richard A. Morse
    August 23, 2007 at 21:41 | #5


    Just want to bring you up to date.  On my birthday this year, in August, I received my License to carry a concealed handgun. It’s called a LTC class A license with no high capacity restrictions. People who know me, don’t seem to have a problem with that.

  6. August 23, 2007 at 22:39 | #6

    Congratulations Richard!  Thank you for the update.  Truly a good turn in the story.  I hope it was clear that I agreed with the President’s decision to pardon you.  Most presidential pardons are to cover something up but this one made a lot of sense to me.

    (By the way – I just re-read the comments and would just like to say “Decrepit Old Fool” refers to me, not to you.  It’s the name of my weblog and my nickname on the web)

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