New Missouri Gun Rights Law May Be Adjusted
March 23, 2015

(AP) – A Republican lawmaker wants to tweak Missouri’s gun laws to keep firearms out of the hands of certain felons following a St. Louis judge’s ruling that jeopardizes the state’s current ban on convicted felons possessing guns.

Rep. Kevin Austin is sponsoring a measure to address what supporters say are unintended consequences of Amendment 5, a voter-approved enhancement of gun-rights provisions to the Missouri Constitution that passed in August.

The new wording would allow the state to restrict “violent felons” from carrying guns. But since the state ban applies to all convicted felons, a St. Louis judge said in a ruling that the current law was unconstitutional.

St. Louis City Circuit Court Judge Robert Dierker dismissed gun charges against a convicted felon because he said the Missouri law was too broad and fails to distinguish between violent and non-violent felons.

Austin’s bill defines “violent felony,” which could ensure that at least some people remain subject to the gun ban.

“If we do have constitutional problems with this statute … we want to move fast to bring it back under the constitutional umbrella,” said Austin, R-Springfield.

The bill categorizes a wide variety of crimes as violent felonies, including murder, rape, kidnapping and first-degree arson, assault and robbery. Austin said the list may still be revised by lawmakers.

The measure would apply the gun ban only to those convicted of these violent felonies, exempting individuals convicted of other felonies such as drug possession, fraud and lesser assault charges.

During the 2014 campaign, critics of the measure, including Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker predicted the amendment, if passed, would be called into question because it was too broad.

Lawsuit Challenges Just Passed Missouri Amendment 5: Guns
September 25, 2014

(AP) – Opponents of a gun-rights amendment recently approved by Missouri voters filed a legal challenge Wednesday asking the state Supreme Court to overturn the election results on the grounds that it was misleading.

Constitutional Amendment 5 was approved by 61 percent of the vote in August. The ballot summery presented to voters said the measure declares “that the right to keep and bear arms is an unalienable right and that the state government is obligated to uphold that right.”

The legal challenge contends that the summary was insufficient and unfair in that it implied a new constitutional right was being created when Missourians already had the right to keep and bear arms. It contends that the summary also should have informed voters that the amendment subjects gun-control laws to strict legal scrutiny and repeals a constitutional provision allowing restrictions on concealed guns.

“The ballot language misled and deceived voters,” said Jefferson City attorney Chuck Hatfield, who filed the challenge on behalf of St. Louis Police Chief Samuel Dotson III and Rebecca Morgan, a member of the Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

Wording on Missouri Gun Amendment to Stand
July 19, 2014

(AP) – The wording cannot be changed just three weeks before Missouri’s primary election on a ballot measure asking voters to declare in the state Constitution that the right to bear arms is “unalienable,” the state Supreme Court ruled Friday.

The court dismissed an appeal by opponents of the gun measure, saying a state law forbids the court from making changes to ballot measures within six weeks of an election.

The ruling means the wording will not be changed on Proposed Constitutional Amendment 5, which will go before voters on Aug. 5.

Soon after the amendment was officially certified for the August ballot on June 13, opponents filed two separate lawsuits challenging its wording. Those suits, filed by prosecutors from St. Louis and Kansas City, the St. Louis police chief and a gun-control activist, later were consolidated by a trial judge.

Opponents argue that the ballot wording failed to mention other significant changes, including that gun-control measures would become subject to tougher legal scrutiny and that a current constitutional provision allowing restrictions on concealed guns would be repealed.

Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem dismissed the legal challenge on July 1. In its ruling Friday, the Supreme Court agreed it was bound by that law and dismissed the appeal.

The justices noted that there are good reasons for the six-week restriction, including the need to print and distribute ballots to absentee voters and to overseas military voters 45 days in advance.

Jackson County Prosecutor Worries Of a ” Flood” of Court Battles Over Gun Rights Amendment
July 10, 2014

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Bakers worries the court could see many lawsuits, if Missouri voters approve a gun rights amendment tithe state constitution next month.
“It is going to bring a flood of litigation. We know that,” Baker told KMBC TV
Baker and the St. Louis County Prosecutor are challenging the wording to Amendment 5, as it’s known, on the ballot.
Baker says some of the wording is imprecise and could jeopardize some criminal cases where firearms are used.
Amendment 5 also declares the right right to keep and bear arms in Missouri is ” an inalienable right”.
Supports says that phrase re-enforces its position in law.
“This is something that law-abiding citizens cannot be deprived of,” said Kevin Jamison, the President of the Western Missouri Shooters Alliance and a practicing attorney.
Another element of the proposal extends the right to bear arm to firearms accessories.
A gun instructor and former law enforcement officer, Don Pind, of the Show Me Shooter gun range says that language is also in the plan to re-enforce gun rights.
A lot of times what happens is that things get changed.”
Something is made illegal that had been legal in the past,” said Pind.
As an example, Pind pointed to efforts to restrict the amount of bullets that can be held in an ammunition magazine.