Pardoned Felon Sues for TN Gun Permit

A man who received a full pardon in Georgia for a felony drug conviction is suing in Tennessee to obtain the right to own abd carry a gun, reports The Tennessean.
David Scott Blackwell, who now lives in Franlkin, is suing the state after being denied a gun permit in Tennessee, arguing that the Georgia pardon fully restored his rights — even the right to bear arms.
(The case) has brought out unusually vocal support from Second Amendment advocates, who in prior years have been hesitant to support some felons’ rights to possess firearms. Among those advocates is the Tennessee Firearms Association, which downplays the fact that Blackwell is a convicted felon, instead painting it as a conflict between the constitutional powers of the pardon and Tennessee lawmakers who have written laws to restrict felons’ rights.
This marks the first time in the association’s 16 years that it has filed a brief in any lawsuit.
“Georgia’s pardon system granted him a full pardon, and it specifically
says he has the right to purchase and acquire guns,” said John Harris, a Nashville attorney who serves as the volunteer executive director for the Tennessee Firearms Association. “This is a question of, can the Tennessee General Assembly pass a statute that restricts the constitutional authority of another branch of the government?”
Blackwell failed to convince a Davidson County Chancery Court judge, but has appealed. The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently heard arguments and is considering the case.
“The pardon restores constitutional rights — that’s what a pardon does,” said Blackwell’s attorney, David Raybin. “Therefore, it restores his right to a firearm. That’s it, in its simplest terms.”
But the state is opposing Blackwell, saying laws passed by the Tennessee legislature prohibiting felons from possessing firearms apply to those whose rights have been restored.
“It is reasonable for the legislature to determine that felony drug offenders, even those who subsequently receive a pardon, are likely to misuse firearms in the future,” wrote the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office. “This is due to the well-known connection between guns and drugs.”
Court records show Blackwell was convicted in 1989 in Georgia on three counts of selling cocaine. He was sentenced to nine years in prison and fined $3,000. In 2003, he applied and received a full, unconditional pardon. And that pardon spelled out what Blackwell was regaining.
“All civil and political rights, including the right to receive, possess, or transport in commerce a firearm … are hereby restored,” the Georgia pardon reads.
In 2009, having moved to Tennessee, Blackwell sought out information on whether he could possess a firearm here, writing to state Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin, who in turn asked Tennessee’s attorney general for guidance.
The attorney general said Blackwell could not own a gun here.
Raybin said that legislation — like Tennessee’s prohibition on felons owning guns — is trumped by powers enshrined in a state’s constitution — like the power to pardon and restore felons’ rights. When the two conflict, the constitution should win, he said.

5 thoughts on “Pardoned Felon Sues for TN Gun Permit

  1. kwikrnu

    The good ‘ol Tennessee Firearms Association. Supporting cocaine dealers and their right to bear arms. The TFA filed the amicus brief in June, why didn’t have a press release? Why was their support of the felon kept secret? Instead of wasting the memberships money and reputation on an amicus brief for a convicted, drug dealing felon, why didn’t they sue to keep guns in parking lots, sue tennessee for the high cost of TICS, or any other number of law suits?

  2. jerry

    what is the point in a person serving their time and paying ones debt for that crime/crimes and then it being held against him/her for the rest of their lives! That my fellow American is not right !
    If people dont stand up and do something the day will come
    when you will have no rights at all !
    There is already to much law . Most people in the U.S. brake laws everyday and dont even know it !

  3. jerry

    One more thing. For the comment from kwikrnu above look at it this way . If one of your children years ago comet a crime and do their time . Should people look done on your child and deny them their rights even thou he/she done the time and payed their debt and are now good up standing citizen ? Remember people make mistakes were only human !

  4. casey lawson

    i have had my right’s restored in tennessee and from what my attorney has told me as well as the dept of safty i can have a handgun permit, we will see soon enough i guess but i only had forgery and theft charges

  5. Flyingklown

    Damn what’s the problem? He’s pardon. It happen in89! It’s 13 and he’s been in no trouble since then! His rights are restored. Has anyone heard of the constitution?
    It’s there to fight the ones (if they are tripping and they are tripping)keeping the gun away!
    Give him his American right to own a gun already.
    It’s your right to own a gun period. Not if this or that happens. It doesn’t say that! Leave the constitution alone already. They are about to die to abolish it! It’s up to us to keep it! Don’t tread on me! Give me liberty or give me death! Tip DA canoe and Tyler too!

Leave a Reply