Firearms have played an important role in the history and development of the United States. As such, the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution safeguards the right to keep and bear arms. Further, in a landmark case, the U.S. Supreme Court held that citizens generally have an individual right to own firearms.
As with many other liberties, the right to bear arms is not absolute. Government officials may limit an individual’s ability to possess guns in certain circumstances. In Missouri, any person who has a felony conviction on his or her record is usually ineligible to own or possess a gun.
If a judge or jury has convicted you of a felony, you likely may not own or use a gun. If you do, prosecutors may charge you with an additional felony. Typically, a felon in possession of a firearm faces a class D felony. A conviction for the crime carries a possible five-year prison term. You may also have to pay a stiff fine for violating Missouri law.
Generally, judges punish subsequent felons more severely than they do first-time offenders. Of course, judges consider a variety of factors when imposing sentences. If your previous felony was for a violent offense, you may face a longer prison sentence for possessing a firearm. Further, if you have more than one conviction in your past, a judge may require you to serve more time in prison, pay a higher fine or both. You may also face a variety of other consequences.
Possessing a firearm after a felony conviction may be possible. Still, before you do, you must understand both Missouri law and your options. Until you receive official permission to own or use a gun after your felony conviction, you should assume doing so violates the law.
By understanding how Missouri law treats felons and firearms, you can plan better for avoiding trouble and staying out of jail.