December 8, 2014 11:00 am -

Thanks to a gun rights group and Sen.Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) who sponsored the bill, felons are challenging the Missouri Supreme Court for the right to carry firearms.

[su_center_ad]This is due to the effects of the state constitution’s newly strengthened gun-rights provision, even as opponents of the amendment are urging the court to declare the vote invalid, Legal News reports.

Voters approved the amendment in August, which declares the right to bear arms is “unalienable” and requires courts to apply strict scrutiny to gun laws.

The scrutiny of gun laws and not those responsible for “accidental” shootings is stunning.

Apparently, background checks and not allowing felons to own guns is a bad thing.

Legal News reports:

Shortly before the vote, a group of challengers, including St. Louis Police Chief Samuel Dotson, argued that the amendment’s ballot summary was insufficient. But with less than two weeks before the election, the Supreme Court said it was too late to rule on the alleged deficiencies. However, the court said the challengers would be free to file an election contest “should the proposal be adopted” – which it was, by 61 percent of the vote.

On Sept. 24, the challengers accepted the court’s suggestion and filed suits in Cole County Circuit Court and the Supreme Court, alleging that the election results should be set aside.

“The unfair and insufficient ballot title was an election irregularity sufficient to cast doubt on the true results of the election on Amendment 5 but for such irregularity,” the suit reads.

The legal system, however, isn’t waiting around. According to media reports, the amendment has already affected criminal charges in circuits around the state. One case is already pending in the Supreme Court.

Marcus Merritt seeks to argue his felon-in-possession charges and was scheduled to appear in September.

But due to the recent amendment, the attorney general’s office asked for a delay two days before Merritt was scheduled in court.

Merritt was convicted of federal drug charges in 1986. At the time, Missouri law only barred those convicted of a “dangerous felony” from possessing a concealable firearm. Lawmakers changed the law in 2008 so that anyone convicted of any kind of felony, violent or nonviolent, couldn’t have any kind of gun.

In 2012, Merritt was indicted in St. Louis Circuit Court with possessing heroin and drug paraphernalia. He was also found to have a .44 magnum revolver, a 12-gauge shotgun and a .22 caliber rifle. Based on his prior federal conviction, he was charged with three counts of felony firearm possession. Merritt pleaded guilty to the drug counts, but Judge John F. Garvey Jr. dismissed the gun charges.

(my bold)

Again, the gun charges were dismissed.

Merritt believes there shouldn’t be a lifetime ban of owning firearms on nonviolent felons. But a felony is classified as a serious crime.

“Here, there is no substantial relationship between banning all convicted felons under all circumstances from possessing firearms for life and protecting the public health, safety, morals or welfare,” Merritt’s public defender, Matthew Huckeby, wrote in his original briefs.

“Given the fact that felons have already shown a willingness to violate the law, keeping firearms out of their hands bears a substantial relationship to the government’s function in protecting public safety,” Assistant attorney general Jennifer Rodewald wrote.

The new amendment requires courts to review gun laws with “strict scrutiny.” That requires the government to show that it has a compelling interest in the regulation and that the law infringes on the right as little as possible.

Although, no right is absolute, and certainly the thought of felons with guns would make any sane person cringe, “Shall not be infringed” seems to trump public safety with gun rights groups.

Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) sponsored the resolution that put the gun-rights issue on the ballot. He also helped to defend it in court.

Those that think Eric Garner deserved to be choked until dead for selling loose cigarettes while thinking that felons should carry firearms, should rethink their views.

H/T: The incomparable @CarlaAkins with thanks.[su_csky_ad]

Image: How Stuff Works

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

25 responses to Missouri Gun Rights Amendment Is Being Tested For Felons To Carry

  1. Larry Schmitt December 8th, 2014 at 11:03 am

    So they will be able to carry a gun, but they won’t be able to vote. And that’s progress in Missouri. No wonder they call it Misery.

    • mea_mark December 8th, 2014 at 11:10 am

      I guess they will have to vote with bullets … talk about unintended consequences.

    • StoneyCurtisll December 8th, 2014 at 12:35 pm

      Actually in Missouri felons can vote..
      After they serve their time and finish all parole and probation conditions..

      • Larry Schmitt December 8th, 2014 at 1:22 pm

        I wasn’t sure. I knew some states allowed paroled felons to vote, but I was too lazy to look it up.

        • StoneyCurtisll December 8th, 2014 at 1:47 pm

          It’s all good..
          Happy to help…:)

  2. mea_mark December 8th, 2014 at 11:06 am

    … rethink their views. Don’t you have to think about them the first time before you can rethink them?

    • Rufnuk December 19th, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      In the first place, they’ve gotta be able to think.

  3. Spirit of America December 8th, 2014 at 11:08 am

    A person commits certain crimes, they lose certain ‘citizenship’ rights… those that can facilitate causing more physical harm. “Felony” category needs to be spelled out for what rights become diluted/revoked, making it clear. Violent crimes(any kind) should entail loss of firearm ownership in my view.

    • crc3 December 8th, 2014 at 1:40 pm

      Your view is 100% correct!

      • Spirit of America December 8th, 2014 at 1:58 pm

        I’m one of those broken clocks people talk so much about…. 🙂

        • rg9rts December 8th, 2014 at 3:08 pm

          In your case often once a day

  4. edmeyer_able December 8th, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Wait…what…. oh for a minute I thought this was about the police carrying firearms.

  5. tiredoftea December 8th, 2014 at 11:40 am

    This new “right” will be celebrated with a “New Shooters” special in the bar in the other posting, no doubt.

    • Larry Schmitt December 8th, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      They’ll have a special on Colt 45 malt liquor.

  6. StoneyCurtisll December 8th, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Allow me to apologize for my state, Missouri..
    Recently we have been over ran by far right and Teahadist extremist.

  7. crc3 December 8th, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    The NRA insanity is spreading like an out of control cancer….

  8. Bunya December 8th, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Merritt believes there shouldn’t be a lifetime ban of owning firearms on nonviolent felons.
    So how does one become a violent felon? Do we wait until he kills someone before we ban him? If so, mentally unstable people should have the right to own a gun because we won’t know the nature of his insanity until someone is dead. Makes perfect GOP sense.

    • Spirit of America December 8th, 2014 at 2:06 pm

      Yea, but you have to admit, it is a fine and difficult line to delineate… Say some very anti-violent, nice person embezzles… that’s a felony. But should it preclude them from owning firearm? We have to be careful when trying to ‘guess’ if someone will go further or not… and since anybody can kill if flipped out enough, then are we saying everybody is already guilty therefore ban all things from them that can kill?
      What I’m trying to say(albeit somewhat poorly I bet) is we’ve always been a nation of innocent until proven guilty, benefit of the doubt. A violent felon has demonstrated they’d go violent, but many other felonies have nothing to do w/violence.

      • rg9rts December 8th, 2014 at 3:07 pm

        Felony is a felony …no line to me…no guns period..its not a matter of degree of evil.. you lose your right to vote too!

      • Obewon December 8th, 2014 at 11:40 pm

        The NRA continues arming Convicted Manslaughter & Murdering Felons aided by GOP and Koch funded teabaggers ‘Both sides do it too’-SOA doh! Nobody else are as dim as GOP’s Missouri Tea Klux Klansmen.

        Here €™s 4 ways the NRA ensures that €œbad guys € will always have easy access to guns:

        “2) Support for €œRestoration € Programs. Prohibited under federal law from buying guns because of dangerous behavior? No problem, the NRA believes in second chances. In 1986, the NRA-drafted Firearm Owners Protection Act significantly altered federal law by allowing states to restore gun purchasing/ownership rights to convicted felons. Since that time, the NRA has lobbied aggressively in the states to establish such restoration programs.”

  9. rg9rts December 8th, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Gummint wont let dem carry guns??Its a rite

  10. Maxx44 December 8th, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    A modest proposal: at birth give every child born in America a gun of his/her parents’ choice. It cannot be refused and the child must carry it at all times with a minimum of 100 rounds of ammo. Would this satisfy the NRA and the mouth breathing, knuckledragging gun nuts?

    • gregzotta December 9th, 2014 at 7:05 am

      Hey Dummy, if you do not want to own or carry a gun, DON’T!

  11. gregzotta December 9th, 2014 at 7:04 am

    Is not the
    goal for the ex-cons to be reintroduced back into society, once they serve
    their time, so they can once again become productive citizens? If they were
    given ten years and were released after ten years then they should retain their
    rights. If they get an early release, they do not gain their full rights until
    after the full sentence has been served. Some people claim they should lose
    their Second Amendment rights forever, because they are too dangerous. If they
    are too dangerous, why are they released then? The law needs to be changed
    wherein after the person has served their time they retain their rights once

  12. mjolnira havoc March 19th, 2015 at 10:00 am

    Plants should be decriminalized ..opiates, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogenic s and etc…have been used by humankind for thousands of years. Nowhere is there a direct correlation between ‘drug use’ and crime. People who commit crimes obviously make bad decisions and substance abuse would not be considered a ‘good’ decision. There are far more people that do ‘drugs’ and do not break any laws but that. It is tedious living in a culture that blames ‘addiction’ or ‘drugs’ for one’s bad decisions instead of taking responsibility for their actions as being wrong. The devil, drugs, being spanked, bullied and etc…did not make you steal YOU made the choice to be a thief! Its a shame that people who rape children get less time in prison than someone caught selling pot…ridiculous! Taking away their gun rights and ability to hunt is what is criminal! Especially when its harder for them to get work and they can’t even get food stamps.