Can a felon own a gun in the United States?

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Author's Note: Can a felon own a gun in the United States?

Two weeks ago, I completed an article on whether countries with stricter gun laws really have less crime or fewer homicides. While writing that article and this one, the news continued to deliver reports of shooting after shooting -- some large, some small, all appalling.

Most recently, Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old girl who attended high school a mile from President Obama's house and performed with her high school band at his inaugural weekend, was shot and killed when a gunman opened fire on a group of teenagers at a Chicago park. No side of the gun debate was slow in using the event to champion its point of view.

I don't claim to know the answer to gun violence, but I do suspect that there's little we can meaningfully say about guns, or the effectiveness of gun policies, while so many loopholes gape in the statutes, while regulations go unenforced, and while state and local laws remain such a hodgepodge.

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