Bill description: HB 276 would permanently take the right to own a firearm away from adults who are convicted of engaging in sexual activity with a 16- or 17-year-old.
Does it directly or indirectly create or increase penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non- violent crimes? Conversely, does it eliminate or decrease penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non-violent crimes?
Under state law, individuals who are convicted of a crime and sentenced to prison lose most of their civil rights. Those rights are restored to them once they leave prison and complete any required probation or parole — with one major exception.
Anyone who has been convicted of certain felonies permanently lose “the right to ship, transport, possess or receive a firearm.” There are 35 such felonies, including unlawful possession of a firearm, robbery, burglary and indecent exposure and more, which trigger this situation.
HB 276 would add a conviction of sexual battery of a minor child 16 or 17 years of age to this list of felonies. In particular, this bill would only add the restriction for a person who is at least five years older than the 16- or 17-year-old and commits any lewd or lascivious act with the 16- or 17-year-old.
While HB 276 has been sold as a correction after this felony was inadvertently left off the list, this proposal would go far beyond the current firearm prohibitions in statute.
Take, for example, a male college senior (22 years old) who is in a relationship with a female college freshman (17 years old). If the two students were to engage in sexual activity, the senior could be charged with a felony and would lose his right to own a firearm for the rest of his life. Or, if a 23-year-old man and a 17-year-old woman meet up, but the man never actually asks how old the girl is, even if he were to ask for the girl’s consent to engage in sexual activity, he would be guilty of this crime for engaging in any sexual act.
HB 276 would penalize an individual for engaging in a consensual act with another by taking away their Second Amendment right to bear arms. Additionally, there is no direct nexus between an individual who has a sexual relationship with a 16- or 17-year-old and their responsibility to possess a gun 25 years down the road.