AP NEWS

Court rules preventing felon gun ownership constitutional

April 6, 2018

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled that a state law preventing gun ownership by felons doesn’t violate their constitutional rights.

The Columbia Missourian reports that the majority of the judges found this week that Jack Alpert hadn’t proven his case. Court documents say Alpert had pleaded guilty and served time in prison twice for felony controlled substance possession counts in the 1970s. In 1986, he was granted a federal license to deal firearms and founded the Missouri Bullet Company in 2007 with his wife.

Issues arose when the Missouri legislature expanded prohibitions on felons possessing or owning firearms in 2008. Alpert lost his license when he tried to renew it, but the Missouri Bullet Company applied for and received a license to manufacture ammunition, according to court documents. Alpert filed the case to find out the status of his gun rights, even though he hadn’t been charged with possessing a weapon.

Alpert’s lawyer, Ronald Ribaudo, said the state’s statute is flawed because it doesn’t acknowledge a subset of convicted felons whose possession of firearms poses no different risk than that of a law-abiding citizen.

But the attorney for the state, Gregory Goodwin, argued that Alpert’s argument was based on the facts that Alpert is elderly, sick and that he lives far from police operations.

Ribaudo said Alpert could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, though he said that is “rarely granted.”

“We are contemplating our options. We haven’t made a decision on that yet,” Ribaudo said.

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Information from: Columbia Missourian, http://www.columbiamissourian.com

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