Effective January 1, 2017, new gun laws went into effect for Missourians. Among them was a change that required a Missouri resident to obtain a Concealed Carry Permit in order to carry a concealable weapon within the state of Missouri.
Missouri now is one of nine states that has “Permitless Carry” meaning that anybody who can legally possess a firearm may carry it concealed in those states without a permit (Oklahoma requires a state-issued identification card or operator’s license.)
With the changes in Chapter 571 in the Missouri Revised Statutes, a citizen who has a legal right to possess a firearm may carry on or about his person a handgun without a Concealed Carry Permit. This law ONLY applies to inside the borders of the state of Missouri or the eight other states that allow “Permitless Carry.” Currently those states are: Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Vermont, West Virginia, and Oklahoma (who requires a state-issued ID when carrying in that state.)
There are twenty-eight other states that require a Concealed Carry Permit. A current listing of those states is available on the Missouri Attorney General’s website located at https://www.ago.mo.gov/divisions/public-safety/concealed-carry-reciprocity.
Missouri law does NOT plainly state that citizens don’t need a permit to carry a handgun concealed in Missouri. Legislators simply changed the definition of “Unlawful Use of Weapon” to only apply when a person carries a weapon into a place that is restricted by Missouri law. Restricted places where a citizen cannot carry a firearm or any other weapon readily capable of lethal use are listed in Missouri Revised Statute. Among these are:
• Within twenty-five feet of any election precinct on any election day, or into any building owned or occupied by any agency of the federal government, state government, or political subdivision thereof; or
• Any police, sheriff, or highway patrol office or station without the consent of the chief law enforcement officer in charge of that office or station
• The facility of any adult or juvenile detention or correctional institution, prison or jail.
• Courthouse solely occupied by the circuit, appellate or supreme court, or any courtrooms, administrative offices, libraries or other rooms of any such court whether or not such court solely occupies the building in question.
• Any meeting of the governing body of a unit of local government; or any meeting of the general assembly or a committee of the general assembly, except that nothing in this subdivision shall preclude a member of the body holding a valid concealed carry permit or endorsement from carrying a concealed firearm at a meeting of the body which he or she is a member;
• Any establishment licensed to dispense intoxicating liquor for consumption on the premises, which portion is primarily devoted to that purpose, without the consent of the owner or manager.
• Any area of an airport to which access is controlled by the inspection of persons and property.
• Any place where the carrying of a firearm is prohibited by federal law;
• Any higher education institution or elementary or secondary school facility without the consent of the governing body of the higher education institution or a school official or the district school board, unless the person with the concealed carry endorsement or permit is a teacher or administrator of an elementary or secondary school who has been designated by his or her school district as a school protection officer and is carrying a firearm in a school within that district, in which case no consent is required.
• Any portion of a building used as a child care facility without the consent of the manager. Nothing in this subdivision shall prevent the operator of a child care facility in a family home from owning or possessing a firearm or a concealed carry permit or endorsement;
• Any riverboat gambling operation accessible by the public without the consent of the owner or manager pursuant to rules promulgated by the gaming commission.
• Any gated area of an amusement park.
• Any church or other place of religious worship without the consent of the minister or person or persons representing the religious organization that exercises control over the place of religious worship.
• Any private property whose owner has posted the premises as being off-limits to concealed weapons.
• Any sports arena or stadium with a seating capacity of five thousand or more.
• Any hospital accessible by the public.
While law enforcement, for the most part emphatically support civilians’ Second Amendment rights to carry a firearm, there is deep concern that the responsibilities that accompany those rights might not be fulfilled – not because law-abiding citizens don’t care, but because they lack training.
Public and officer safety is the first priority of law enforcement personnel. Both law enforcement officers and certified firearms instructors know that the lack of proper defensive weapon training and misunderstanding of state and federal laws could significantly contribute to tragic results for all involved.
“There are so many different factors involved in making the decision to carry a firearm. And, many citizens are not aware of some of the critical factors that come into play when carrying or using a deadly weapon for self-defense or defense of others,” stated Tarkio Police Officer Georgia Houghton, an NRA- certified law enforcement firearms instructor. “The Concealed Carry Classes taught by certified firearms instructors contain material that are essential to the safety and well-being of our community.”
The new concealed weapons laws have not only enhanced the right to keep and bear arms for Missouri law-abiding citizens, but the burden of responsibility that accompanies that right.