Barton Hinkle makes an excellent point. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently restored the voting rights of 206,000 ex-convicts. If that's justifiable, then why not restore all their rights and let them possess guns, too?
The voting rights issue is purely partisan politics. But as much as I'm against gun control, maybe the idea of relaxing gun laws in regard to convicted felons should get a bit more study before jumping ahead on it. We don't necessarily think ex-cons are dangerous, but we just don't know. They may or may not be rehabilitated. The recidivism rate is, however, quite high.
Anyway, here's Hinkle in Should Felons Get Their Gun Rights Back?:
The answer, presumably, is that felons might be dangerous. But that doesn't hold up under even casual scrutiny. For one thing, it implies the state is releasing dangerous people into the general population. If the state is doing that, then it should stop. But supporters of the governor's executive order clearly don't think that is happening. They seem to hold that felons have reformed. McAuliffe himself said "they have atoned." If so, then they present no threat, do they?
The three "Rs" of criminal justice are restraint, rehabilitation, and retribution. (I prefer the word "punishment" to "retribution," but it doesn't fit the alliteration.) Rehabilitation is really an unknown, and we can't say that a convict is rehabilitated simple because he/she served out a sentence or was released early for good behavior. So we can't accurately say that all three parts of that trio of purposes were satisfied on the same date.
Punishment is an important part of the incarceration. And maybe society doesn't want to end the punishment at the exact same time the subject is released from the restraint. And gun restrictions may be a continuation of the punishment, and under that rationale, perfectly justified.