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Missouri Bill Could Grant Gun Rights To Felons

A bill introduced to Missouri’s House of Representatives would give every felon, including those with violent histories, the chance to have their right to own a gun restored.

HB 1828 would allow felons convicted of non-violent crimes to have their gun rights restored once their sentence is finished, KFVS reports. However, if a felon committed one of the 97 "violent" crimes outlined by the bill's sponsor, Republican State Rep. Joe Don McGaugh, they will have to seek an exemption approval before being allowed to own a gun.

Among these 97 felonies are murder, infanticide, forcible rape, and kidnapping. Felons convicted of those crimes could appeal to have their gun rights restored three years after their sentence is completed, pending a court petition.

“People make bad decisions when they’re young," McGaugh said, according to Missourinet. "They shouldn’t be penalized for the rest of their lives. They also shouldn’t be penalized from protecting themselves and their families."

The bill has been met with some resistance. Becky Morgan’s father was murdered with a gun in 1991 and she now works with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

“In nine years the person who brutally shot and murdered my father will be released from prison," she said. "This bill would make it so that three years after that murderer is released they could petition to have gun rights restored.

“I think it is a sad day in the state of Missouri when a law-abiding victim like me needs to come here and ask this Missouri legislature to please not make it possible for my father’s convicted murderer to legally own firearms again.”

McGaugh has promised that he will consider changes to the bill, and Republican Rep. Galen Higdon encouraged him to address situations like Morgan’s. 

“I don’t want [someone like Morgan's father's murderer] to have a weapon,” Higdon said to McGaugh.

Missouri law currently does not define which felonies are considered “violent,” and a vote on the bill has not been taken yet.

Sources: KFVS, Missourinet / Photo Credit: Pal Joakim Olsen/Flickr, KFVS

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