State v. Radan: Upsetting the Balance of Public Safety and the Right to Bear Arms

Matthew R. Kite, State v. Radan: Upsetting the Balance of Public Safety and the Right to Bear Arms, 37 Gonz. L. Rev. 201 (2002).

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The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution provides: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”‘ Throughout our nation’s history, the interests of public safety and the ideas expressed within the Second Amendment have coexisted and have been balanced against each other. As we enter the 21 st century, the balance between public safety and the possession of firearms continues.

In State v. Radan, the Washington Supreme Court addressed the balance between public safety and a felon’s right to possess a firearm. The court held that automatic restoration of a felon’s civil rights by another state does not meet the requirements of Washington’s statute regarding the restoration of a felon’s right to possess firearms. However, the court held that the specific facts of a felon’s early discharge from parole, accompanied by an automatic restoration of rights, meets the statute’s meaning of an “other equivalent procedure,” thus restoring a felon’s right to possess firearms in Washington. This decision, at least with regard to the facts in this case, created a less restrictive scheme for controlling a felon’s possession of a firearm and undermined the balance Washington had previously achieved between public safety and the rights of a felon to possess a firearm. . . . Read More

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