The state Supreme Court is being asked to consider whether a recent change to the state Constitution will let non-violent felons have guns.
A convicted drug dealer says the amendment approved by voters in August that proponents said would strengthen Missourians’ gun rights also means he can’t be kept from having a gun. The state Supreme Court will hear his argument Tuesday morning.
The amendment’s language says it should not be interpreted as stopping state law from limiting the gun rights of “convicted violent felons,” and Marcus Merritt argues that means he, as a non-violent felon, should be allowed to have guns.
The Court could address his case without ruling on that interpretation of the new amendment, but the Attorney General’s office is urging it to settle the matter.
The sponsor of the legislation that put the issue on the ballot, state senator Kurt Schaefer of Columbia, has filed a brief in the case saying that his proposal should not result in the invalidation of Missouri’s law barring felons from having guns. He argues felons are not entitled to the same gun rights protections of full citizens, provided by his amendment.