KANSAS CITY — The wording cannot be changed just three weeks before Missouri's primary election on a ballot measure asking voters to declare in the state Constitution that the right to bear arms is "unalienable," the state Supreme Court ruled Friday.
The court dismissed an appeal by opponents of the gun measure, saying a state law forbids the court from making changes to ballot measures within six weeks of an election.
The ruling means the wording will not be changed on Proposed Constitutional Amendment 5, which will go before voters on Aug. 5.
Soon after the amendment was officially certified for the August ballot on June 13, opponents filed two separate lawsuits challenging its wording. Those suits, filed by prosecutors from St. Louis and Kansas City, the St. Louis police chief and a gun-control activist, later were consolidated by a trial judge.
Opponents said the ballot wording failed to mention other significant changes, including that gun-control measures would become subject to tougher legal scrutiny and that a current constitutional provision allowing restrictions on concealed guns would be repealed.
Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem dismissed the legal challenge July 1. In its ruling Friday, the Supreme Court agreed it was bound by that law and dismissed the appeal.
The justices said there are good reasons for the six-week restriction, including the need to print and distribute ballots to absentee voters and to overseas military voters 45 days in advance.