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Federal law establishes a baseline national standard regarding individuals’ eligibility to acquire and possess firearms. Under federal law, people are generally prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms if they have been convicted of a felony or some domestic violence misdemeanors, or if they are subject to certain court orders related to domestic violence or a serious mental condition. However, federal law merely provides a floor, and has notable gaps that allow individuals who have demonstrated significant risk factors for violence or self-harm to legally acquire and possess guns.

Missouri law generally prohibits the knowing possession of a firearm by:

  • Any person convicted of a felony under Missouri law or a crime under any other state’s laws or federal law which, if committed in Missouri, would be classified as a felony;
  • A fugitive from justice;
  • A person habitually in an intoxicated or drugged condition; or
  • A person currently adjudged mentally incompetent.1

Missouri law generally allows a person who is intoxicated to possess a firearm as long as he or she does not handle or use it in a negligent or unlawful manner or discharge the weapon (except when acting in self-defense). Intoxicated persons may also possess a firearm that is: 1) not readily accessible; 2) transported in a nonfunctioning state; or 3) unloaded when ammunition is not readily accessible.2

However, Missouri law prohibits a federal firearms dealer who engages in the sale of firearms from failing or refusing to complete the sale of a firearm to a customer when the sale is authorized by federal law.3 This provision does not apply to any individual federal firearms license holder or his or her agents or employees to the extent they chose in their individual judgment to not complete the sale or transfer of a firearm for articulable reasons specific to that transaction, so long as those reasons are not based on the race, gender, religion, or creed of the buyer.4


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  1. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 571.070. This does not apply to the possession of an “antique firearm.”[]
  2. Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 571.030.1(5), 571.030.3, 571.030.5.[]
  3. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 571.014.3. Note that this provision appears to nullify all of the state prohibited purchaser categories.[]
  4. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 571.014.4.[]