State v. LomaxAnnotate this Case
Defendants were charged with unlawfully possessing a firearm in violation of Mo. Rev. Stat. 571.070.1, which prohibits nonviolent felons from possessing firearms. Defendants had been convicted previously of nonviolent felonies. While the charges against Defendants were pending, voters approved Amendment 5 to Mo. Const. art. I, 23. Defendant moved to dismiss the unlawful possession charge, alleging that amended article I, section 23 does not permit the State to criminalize a nonviolent felon’s possession of a firearm. The trial courts in both cases applied the amended version of article I, section 23, concluding that section 571.070.1 was unconstitutional as applied to Defendants, and dismissed the charges. The Supreme Court reversed the judgments in both cases, holding that article I, section 23, as in effect at the time of Defendant’s alleged crimes, did not prohibit the State from regulating the right of nonviolent felons to bear arms.