A ruling last week by the Missouri Supreme Court leaves unanswered whether last year’s change to the state constitution will let some felons have guns.
The Court ruled that because the appeal of two felons of charges that they illegally possessed guns was filed before voters approved Amendment 5, they were still subject the law keeping them from having guns.
Amendment 5 strengthened the right to possess a gun in Missouri, requiring a higher legal standard to be met before that right can be denied to an individual.
Saint Louis University Constitutional Law Professor Anders Walker told Missourinet that ruling leaves unanswered the question of whether any felons who are found to possess guns after the passage of the amendment would be exempt from the law against felons having guns.
That issue could be raised in other litigation, but Walker thinks the Court foreshadowed how it would rule it if is.
“The Court here suggested, and actually stated; it held, or found, the felon in possession law passes [the legal standard] of strict scrutiny. That’s the first indication that they’re going to uphold the ban,” said Walker. “The second indication is that the amendment itself seems to explicitly provide the legislature with the power to limit the right to bear arms for convicted felons.”
More than 60 percent of Missouri voters favored that amendment, which declares the right to keep and bear arms “unalienable,” and subjects laws restricting gun rights to that “strict scrutiny” standard. It repealed language that said the right to bear arms does not justify carrying concealed weapons.