Missouri Gun Rights Amendment Is Being Tested For Felons To Carry
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.
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]
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