Franklin man sues Tenn. over right to bear arms

Franklin man sues Tenn. over right to bear arms (Image 1)

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – A Franklin man is suing the state of Tennessee after he was denied the purchase of firearm.

The Second Amendment gives Americans the right to bear arms unless they have been convicted of a felony.

In 1988, David Blackwell, who admits he was “young and dumb”, sold drugs to an undercover police officer in Atlanta and was convicted of selling cocaine, a felony.

Blackwell, who was age 18 at the time, went to prison and “did everything that was asked of me as a citizen.”

He said, “I went back to college, stayed the straight and narrow, abided by the law, basically rehabilitated myself.”

The state of Georgia issued Blackwell a full pardon which reinstates all of his rights, including the right to bear arms.

In 2007, Blackwell moved to Middle Tennessee and when he went to buy a gun, was denied the purchase.

“He can go to all the other states in the country and be legal but he crosses the border to Tennessee and suddenly he's a convicted felon again? That makes no sense,” his attorney, David Raybin, told News 2.

“I just want to go hunting with my son,” Blackwell said.  “It makes me feel like a second class citizen again.”

“The Constitution gives this man the right to bear arms. He has a full pardon, a restoration of rights, and the [Tennessee] Attorney General says no,” Raybin added.

Tennessee's Attorney General said in his opinion the Tennessee code prohibits a convicted felon from having a handgun, and a pardon doesn't erase the conviction, so “a person who has been convicted of a felony drug offense cannot lawfully possess a handgun even if he has received a full pardon for the offense.”

“It's unprecedented,” Raybin continued.  “There's no other state in the country that interprets it that way.”

Blackwell and his attorney filed their lawsuit on Thursday.

The attorney general has 30 days to respond.  A judge will then make a final decision on the matter.

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