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Disgraced Ex-Lawmaker Wants Gun Rights Restored After Release From Prison

SAN DIEGO (CBS) — A former Southland congressman and Navy veteran wants his right to bear arms reinstated when his time in federal prison is over.

KNX 1070's Tom Reopelle reports 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.

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."

Cunningham served as an F-4 Phantom pilot for the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War prior to his career in politics, where he later went on to represent California's 50th Congressional District, including Carlsbad, Escondido and Solana Beach.

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