Should violent criminals be permitted to buy
handguns? US federal law says yes and no. People who have been
convicted of felony crimes are prohibited from purchasing handguns, but
people convicted of misdemeanors—including violent misdemeanors that
do not involve violence against an intimate partner—are not. Were
Congress to extend the prohibition on handgun sales to include persons
convicted of violent misdemeanors, it could do so with the public's
approval. A recent survey1 of US adults found strong
support for policies to prohibit persons convicted of misdemeanors,
even nonviolent misdemeanors, from purchasing handguns—but is this a
policy worth pursuing?
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