Wise Judge denies petition for two felons’ restoration of rights to possess firearms

Wise County Circuit Court Judge Chadwick Dotson has denied two convicted felons’ petitions seeking to have their right to possess firearms restored.

On Monday,Wise County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp said Judge Dotson issued orders denying both petitions. Slemp also opposed the requests that came about after Governor Terry McAuliffe's restoration of civil rights to convicted felons statewide last year. One man was convicted in 1998 of aggravated sexual battery and indecent liberties against a child by a custodian. The other petition was by a woman convicted in 1988 of unlawful shooting at an occupied dwelling. Slemp cited public safety risks and concerns that the governor’s restoration of civil rights did not offer sufficient individual scrutiny.

In his rulings denying the two Wise County petitions, Dotson determined that “under the circumstances that exist in the present case, the court finds very little that would distinguish this matter from the blanket restoration deemed unconstitutional” by the Virginia Supreme Court.

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