With a new year, many Missourians have a new freedom: to legally carry a firearm with or without a concealed carry permit.
On Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, Senate Bill 656 went into effect. This new law allows open and concealed carry throughout the state, for those 19 years or older, with or without a concealed carry permit. It remains illegal, however, for domestic violence offenders and felons to carry a firearm.
After a hard fight during the 2016 legislative session, Republican legislators with a supermajority won the battle to eliminate the permit requirement throughout the state. Even with Missouri Governor Jay Nixon vetoing Senate Bill 656, lawmakers overruled his veto and won permitless carry for Missourians. The National Rifle Association called the override “a great day for freedom in Missouri.”
As of Jan. 1, 2017, there will be no training requirements to carry a concealed weapon in the state of Missouri. Both proponents and opponents of firearms agree that training is crucial for anyone that carries a gun because it gives gun carriers the knowledge to safely carry and educates carriers on the laws governing the carrying and use of a firearm. The training also aids in the fundamental right of self-defense. as well as the legal aftermath that follows the use of deadly force to protect oneself or family, as there are 100 decisions that have to be quickly made before pulling the trigger on another human being.
There have also been changes to the definition of “stand your ground” in Missouri. Currently, persons are not required to attempt to back away from confrontations in public before using deadly force, if they are facing bodily harm.
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Under Senate Bill 656, permit holders will not be authorized to carry in the following public buildings (but if they do it will not be a criminal offense): police departments, polling places, prisons, courthouses, government buildings, bars, airports, daycares, churches, sports arenas and hospitals. Under the new 2017 law, permitless carrying will continue to be illegal in these buildings.
It will be a misdemeanor for concealed carry permit holders to carry in schools; it will continue to be illegal and a criminal offense for permitless carrying in schools.
Missouri is one of a dozen states where legislators are pushing for concealed carry on college campuses. Bills for concealed carry on college campuses have been introduced for several years in Missouri and legislators are expected to introduce similar bills with compromises in the 2017 session.
Posted private property
Persons with or without a concealed carry permit will not be authorized to carry on posted private property, but it will not be a criminal offense if they do.
Buses and metro trains
Both permitted and non-permitted carrying are illegal on buses and metro trains.
Carrying outside of Missouri
The Missouri Concealed Carry Permit is valid in 34 other states, including seven states that border Missouri. Permitless carrying is only legal in a handful of states.
Concealed Carry Permit
Previously, Missourians wishing to carry a concealed firearm were required to possess a Concealed Carry Permit. The state required individuals to pass a firearms training course and obtain a background check and permit from their local sheriff’s department. With the new law, citizens can carry without a permit, but those that choose to have a permit can purchase a lifetime permit for $500. The new law also allows members of the military extra time to renew their permits.
Some opponents believe that the new law will result in more deaths by gunfire, but violent crime has gone down in the United States for the last several decades, while the number of guns in civilian hands has gone up.
Proponents counter that bad guys will always be able to get guns and now law abiding citizens will be freely allowed to have a gun for protection. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in 2015 there were 14,612 murders, 83,425 rapes, 354,396 robberies, and 751,131 aggravated assaults.
Background checks will still be required for gun purchases, but no permit, license or registration will be required to purchase rifles, shotguns and handguns.
Senate Bill 656 is expected to be appealed to the United States Supreme Court, but it will take the approval of four justices to hear the case.