Bill description: HB 70 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 70 would add a conviction of sexual battery of a minor child 16 or 17 years of age to this list of felonies. To be convicted of such a felony, an individual must be at least five years older than the 16- or 17-year-old, and:
Commit any lewd or lascivious act with the 16- or 17-year-old;
Solicit the minor child to participate in a sexual act;
Have sexual contact with the 16- or 17-year-old; or
Make any explicit photographic or electronic recording of the 16- or 17-year-old.
While HB 70 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 send sexually explicit text messages or photographs back and forth, 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 the senior were even to ask for the freshman’s consent to engage in sexual activity, he would be guilty of soliciting a sexual act.
HB 70 would penalize an individual for engaging in a consensual act with another by taking away their Second Amendment right to bear arms.
STAY CONNECTED with the latest news, research and opinions from the Gem State.