Convicted ex-New Orleans mayor has done his time. Now, can he get the right to carry a gun?

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who was convicted on federal bribery, money laundering and other corruption charges in 2014, has completed his 10-year sentence and is asking a federal judge to restore his rights to carry a gun and vote.

But prosecutors said Thursday that the New Orleans-based judge has no authority to restore Nagin’s federal firearms rights, and that it’s up to the state of Texas, where he now lives, to decide on his voting privileges.

Nagin, 67, recently filed a court motion in New Orleans, noting that his federal prison time and supervision were officially over on March 15. Filing without an attorney, Nagin said he wants his firearms rights restored because he “is still a high-profile individual and is recognized just about everywhere he goes” and that he is concerned about his family’s safety “with our country experiencing so much violence.”

“He’s asking for relief that she doesn’t have the power to grant,” Herbert Larson, an attorney and Tulane Law School professor said in an interview.

His comments were echoed in prosecutors’ Thursday filing. It notes that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has the power to restore federal firearm rights but that Congress hasn’t approved ATF spending for investigating and acting on applications.

“Congress has never funded the means, the mechanism,” for relief, said Larson.

As for voting rights, prosecutors said Nagin will have to contact Texas election officials.

“A felon’s eligibility to vote is determined by the law of the state in which the felon seeks to vote and not by the federal court that presided over the felony conviction,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in Thursday’s filing.

Texas allows felons to vote once they have “fully discharged” their sentence, according to the Texas State Law Library.

Nagin was sentenced to 10 years in 2014 after his conviction on charges including bribery, money laundering, fraud and tax violations. The charges stemmed from his two terms as New Orleans’ mayor from 2002 to 2010. The crimes outlined in the charges began before Hurricane Katrina and continued after the 2005 storm.

Nagin was granted supervised release from prison in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

His March 19 motion also seeks return of his passport, which he surrendered before his trial. Prosecutors said surrendered passports are routinely forwarded to the State Department. They said they wouldn’t oppose the passport being returned but noted that passports expire after 10 years.

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