State of Missouri v. John L. Richard
Mississippi and Scott counties
Constitutional validity of statute affecting right to bear arms
In November 2006, Wife told Husband she was leaving him. Husband then told Wife that he was going to shoot himself in the head with his gun and that if she called the police, he would go outside with his gun and make the police shoot him. He then took some of his prescribed morphine pills and a drug prescribed for migraines or depression. Wife called the police. By the time the police arrived, Husband was sitting unconscious in a chair with his loaded 9mm gun and an additional loaded clip in his shoulder holster. In March 2007, the state charged Husband with possessing a loaded firearm while intoxicated pursuant to section 571.030(5), RSMo. Husband moved to dismiss the charge, arguing the statute violated his Second Amendment rights. The circuit court dismissed the charge, finding the statute is unconstitutional to the extent it prevents a citizen from possessing a firearm in his or her home while he or she may be legally intoxicated. The state appeals.
The state argues the circuit court erred in dismissing the charge on the grounds that section 571.030.1(5), is unconstitutional, arguing the statute does not violate the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution or article I, section 23 of the Missouri Constitution. It contends the statute is a valid exercise of the state's police power in regulating gun possession for the purpose of protecting the health, safety and welfare of Missouri citizens. The state asserts the statute was constitutional as applied to Husband because he was intoxicated and in possession of a loaded firearm, had threatened himself and others, and was not using the gun in self-defense.
Husband responds section 571.030.1(5) is unconstitutional because it violates his Second Amendment right from the United State Constitution and article I, section 23 of the Missouri Constitution. He asserts the statute is overbroad and is unconstitutional as applied to him, who was asleep at home while holding a firearm after taking prescription medicine.