Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Disgraced Congressman Pleads for His Second Amendment Rights

photo credit  Associated Press
A former Southland congressman and Navy veteran wants his right to bear arms reinstated when his time in federal prison is over.

Former San Diego Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham has asked a judge to allow him to regain his right to own a firearm upon his release from prison.

"I [sic] asking you to help restore my Second Amendment rights so I can earn a little money so I can eat,” Cunningham wrote in the letter dated May 2.

Cunningham, 70, plead guilty to tax evasion and conspiracy charges in March 2006 and was sentenced to over 8 years in prison for accepting an estimated $2.4 million in cash and other gifts from defense contractors in one of the biggest bribery scandals in congressional history. He pleaded with the judge to restore his right to own a gun or “at least endorse it” for “hunting and competition” when he relocates to Arkansas to live with his elderly mother and brother upon his release.

Judge Larry A. Burns responded to Cunningham’s request by claiming he has “no authority” and that “federal law bans convicted felons from possessing any type of firearm” even for sporting purposes.

KNX 1070 legal analyst Royal Oakes said it remains highly unlikely Cunningham will convince any judge to make an exception for him.

“His request kind of reflects a sense of entitlement, I think,” said Oakes. “The fact that he’s a former prominent member of Congress is probably driving his request for what amounts to a special privilege and exception to the rule.”

The letters, included in the San Diego federal court file of Cunningham's case, were revealed in the blog of journalist Seth Hettena, author of a well-received book about Cunningham: "Feasting on the Spoils: The Life and Times of Randy Cunningham, History's Most Corrupt Congressman."

Cunningham is scheduled for release in 2013.

Sources: Talking Points Memo, CBS Los Angeles, KNX 1070 News Radio

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