The latest athlete drama surrounds an NBA player and guns. NY Knicks guard Raymond Felton was arrested early Tuesday morning charged with three gun charges, two of which are felonies. The two felony charges are second and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon. According to USA Today Sports:
The second-degree felony charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years if convicted, and the third-degree charge carries a maximum sentence of seven years if convicted.
Felton will probably take a plea deal and he may do some time, but it’s unlikely, given his relatively clean criminal history that he’ll do 15 years. The first and immediate reaction would be, “OK. Another professional athlete makes a stupid decision.” While that may be true in some respects, I think it’s unwise to pass such judgment without looking at the bigger picture.
‘Stand your ground’. It’s the controversial law that has inspired heated debates about self-protection and gun ownership. No, Raymond Felton is not charged for discharging his gun or killing someone in a presumed self-defense incident, but he still had the guns. The question is how is he any different than many Americans who assume and claim their constitutional right to have and own one?
The first argument is usually for protection. Well for the professional athlete, their status makes them a target, so carrying a gun makes sense according to that argument. The second argument is regarding a person’s constitutional right to do so. OK. Professional athletes are Americans too. The recent number of shootings and high-profile cases surrounding gun violence is an issue about gun control, among other issues. Felton’s case is simple: you have to have a license to carry a weapon and/or carry a weapon according to the laws of a particular state. If you violate those laws, it becomes a criminal matter.
That doesn’t necessarily make the person involved a criminal.
Felton clearly made a mistake. If the charges are true, he violated the law, and will have to deal with the consequences. His status should make him think differently about his choices. However, let’s not be so quick to judge. The same people so quick to call him a thug for carrying a gun are some of the same people who are also quick to call out their right to do just the same–except they consider themselves patriotic Americans.
What do you think?
Your Jersey Girlfriend,