Missourians No Longer Need Permit to Carry Concealed Firearms
Missouri becomes the eighth state to allow individuals to carry concealed firearms for lawful purposes without a permit, according to the National Rifle Association (NRA). Connecticut provides the state government with some discretion over the issuance of a carry permit, but generally grants permits to all law-abiding citizens. All other states either restrict carrying of firearms for personal protection or have stringent requirements for use.
Late in the evening of the Missouri Legislature’s one-day veto session on Sept. 14, the Senate debated for approximately two hours before voting 24-6 to override Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of Senate Bill 656. The House quickly voted 112-41 to overturn the governor’s veto.
The provision to conceal-and-carry without a permit goes into effect within 30 days. The new Missouri law also provides greater protections for people who feel threatened and use deadly force in both private and public areas. That “stand your ground” provision goes into effect on Jan. 1.
Missouri still will maintain its current permit system for anyone who wishes to go through training and obtain a permit. Currently, permits must be renewed once every five years following a background check. Under the new law, any Missouri resident who has a permit can pay a $500 fee to receive a lifetime permit. Permit holders still are required to go through background checks every five years.
Ryan Johnson, of the Missouri Alliance for Freedom, praised the legislation.
“(Senate Bill 656) strengthens Missouri’s Stand Your Ground laws, expands Castle Doctrine protections, and provides members of the military with extra time to renew their carry permits,” Johnson said in a written statement. “A special thanks is owed to the leadership teams in the Senate and the House of Representatives for championing (SB 656) under heavy pressure from the extreme left-wing grassroots activists and their donors.”
The NRA also applauded the legislature’s efforts.
"This is a great day for freedom in Missouri,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA's Institute for Legislative Action in a written statement. “The legislature stood strong for the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens by overriding Gov. Nixon's misguided veto. Despite the best efforts of Michael Bloomberg and out-of-state gun control groups to defeat the override vote, their agenda was rejected."
However, in his veto letter, Nixon said he was concerned that anyone can conceal a firearm under the new legislation, including someone who has been charged with but not pled guilty to a felony; has pled guilty to a felony with a suspended imposition of sentence; has been convicted of a misdemeanor assault; or has beee convicted of two or more DUIs or drug possession offenses in the past five years.
Current law does not allow concealed carry permits for those offenses.
A group of more than 100 moms, wearing red T-shirts with the words “Moms Demand Action,” rallied at the capitol and condemned passage of the bill. The Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released a statement saying Missouri lawmakers “kowtowed” to the gun lobby.
“SB 656 (is) a dangerous gun bill that dismantles Missouri’s concealed carry permit requirement and lets people - including some violent criminals, certain repeat drug offenders, and people with no firearms safety training - carry hidden, loaded handguns in public,” the statement said.
“SB 656 also upends traditional Missouri self-defense law and allows people to shoot to kill in public places, even when they can clearly and safely walk away from the danger. The bill makes Missouri the first new Stand Your Ground state since Trayvon Martin’s death.”
Opponents said the new law flies in the face of general opposition throughout Missouri to weaken the state’s concealed-carry permit system.
“Missouri lawmakers buckled to the NRA instead of listening to the vast majority of Missouri voters, including mayors and law enforcement leaders, who support our current concealed carry permit system,” said Becky Morgan, volunteer chapter leader with the Missouri Chapter of Moms Demand Action.
“As if opposing lifesaving policies like criminal background checks on all gun sales wasn’t bad enough, the gun lobby continues to push to put more guns in more places, with no questions asked - laws that make the jobs of those who serve and protect us more difficult and more dangerous.”