People who have been prohibited from purchasing or otherwise owning firearms are now able to formally petition the government to restore their right to possess guns thanks to Tuesday night's U.S. House of Representatives vote, which added an amendment to the annual Justice Department spending bill. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., introduced the amendment to provide an opportunity for felons and other people who have been banned from obtaining weapons.
"America is a land of second chances. One mistake should not define your future," Buck said, according to the Hill. "A law-abiding, 45-year-old dad who made one mistake at 18 should have the choice of how best to protect his family or to take his kids hunting. He should have the chance to make a petition to restore his constitutional right to bear arms. This solution is long overdue."
Buck, who supports capital punishment and whose campaign page previously stated on immigration that "we need to stand firm and say 'no' to amnesty," contradicted his past position on the consequences of the mistakes of 18-year-olds. In a 2010 Colorado Senate debate, Buck criticized a part of the DREAM Act for allowing the children of undocumented immigrants to still qualify for a path to citizenship with two misdemeanors because these crimes were "serious, especially if they're committed by the time they are 18 or 19 years old."
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While current law provides for people who have previously been prohibited from buying guns for a variety of reasons -- including past felonies, certain misdemeanors and mental illness -- to petition their district court to regain the ability to own a firearm, past legislative riders have stopped the Justice Department from proceeding with applications, according to The Hill.
No lawmaker spoke in opposition or asked for a roll call vote, according to the Hill.