Presidential pardons for gun-buying car thieves
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.