In August, voters in Missouri passed Amendment 5, which prohibited violent felons from owning a fire arm. Considered by most to be a step toward reducing repeat violent offenses among felons, the thought may never have crossed anyone’s mind that the language of the law could be interpreted differently than how legislators intended it.
But as a recent case demonstrates, the current wording of the law creates a loophole that a 63-year-old felon would like the state to acknowledge. Some of our Columbia readers may have already heard about the man’s motion to dismiss the weapons charges currently against him — charges he believes should not have been levied against him.
As is pointed out in his motion, the current language of Amendment 5 only prohibits violent felons, not non-violent felons, from owning firearms. According to records, the felonies on his record are for drunk driving and for driving on a revoked license. As many would agree, these are not considered violent offenses and therefore do not fall under the restrictions of the current law.
It’s unknown how prosecutors feel about the man’s interpretation of the law as they have not filed a response to his motion at this time.
It’s worth pointing out to our Missouri readers that if the courts agree with his interpretation of the law then the five counts of unlawful possession of a firearm may be dropped. This might be a welcome relief to the man who wants what most of our readers want: the correct application of the law and for the criminal justice system to uphold its duty to prohibit the violation of a person’s rights during the course of a criminal case.
Source: The Springfield News-Ledger, “Felon facing gun charge cites new gun law in defense,” Stephen Herzog, Sept. 22, 2014