The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled that the state's constitutional ban on retrospective application of new laws does not apply to criminal statutes.
Tuesday's decision came in the case of a southwest Missouri man charged with possessing a firearm illegally as a convicted felon. The man had been convicted of a drug crime in 2002, when Missouri
outlawed gun possession by people convicted of "dangerous" felonies.
A trial court dismissed the weapons charge, finding that the conviction occurred before legislators expanded the gun ban in 2008 to cover people convicted of any kind of felony.
The Supreme Court reinstated the charge Tuesday, making clear that the prohibition on retrospective laws applies only to civil rights and remedies. The issue has arisen previously in cases before the court, including several involving sex offenders.