On Thursday, November 19, 2015, MARK ALAN DEFORREST, d/o/b 7-30-1957, of Branson, was sentenced to four (4) years in prison for the class C felony of unlawful possession of a firearm, in the Circuit Court of Taney County. Circuit Court Judge Laura Johnson accepted a guilty plea from Deforrest which guaranteed him the four (4) year sentence, as part of a plea agreement with the Taney County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Deforrest had previously been convicted of the felonies of driving while intoxicated and unlawful use of a weapon.
On October 17, 2015, while searching for a suspect in a stealing investigation, Taney County Sheriff’s deputies made contact with Deforrest, at his home in Branson. Deputies discovered Deforrest had an outstanding warrant for his arrest, and when placing Deforrest in handcuffs discovered he had knives in his pockets, as well as one knife hidden in his boot. Deforrest was also discovered to have a 357 revolver with him, in the chair where he was sitting when arrested.
Currently, the Missouri Appeals Courts are considering arguments about whether or not the 2014 Right to Bear Arms Amendment to Missouri’s Constitution allows all persons to possess firearms – even convicted felons. No ruling has been made by Missouri’s higher courts on this issue, yet.
“Although the 2014 Amendment to Missouri’s Constitution states that the right to possess a firearm is ‘an unalienable right’, it is still the position of this office that dangerous felons should not be permitted to possess guns,” says Taney County Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Merrell. “The reasoning is obvious. Convicted felons have already demonstrated an inability to follow laws and to use good judgment. Therefore, allowing convicted felons to possess firearms presents a potential danger to our citizens.”
The maximum sentence for a class C felony is seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and/or a $5,000.00 fine.