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Sep 19

Missouri’s Constitutional Carry: The Sky is Falling!

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A Victory for the 2nd Amendment

It’s been in the news with strange regularity this week, with both pro and against articles being written about it: Missouri has become the 11th state in the Union to pass a (mostly) constitutional carry bill, and the third to do it in 2016 (the other two being Idaho and West Virginia) The left tends to spin horror stories about how there will soon be “blood in the streets” and how Missourians will be “less safe” than they were before. But how accurate are those statements? Let’s delve into it!

What is Constitutional Carry?

Simply put, constitutional carry is legislation that recognizes the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution as the absolute authority on firearms. It allows any (lawful) citizen under the issuing government’s authority to both possess and carry a firearm, concealed and/or openly. No permit of any kind is required, as the 2nd Amendment is considered to be the permit in a sense.

Ultimately, constitutional carry recognizes that citizens of the United States should not have to pay the government a fee or be required to obtain a permit to exercise what is a natural and civil right. Originally, the entire United States was under this form of firearms legislation. Over time, various laws were passed restricting firearms ownership and usage (with the exception of Vermont – they have always had constitutional carry) and most lawful carry was banned by the dawn of the 20th century. Over time, these laws have been repealed as concealed carry has been embraced across most of the country (I say most due to states such as California, and New Jersey, and cities such as Chicago and New York City). All 50 states now allow some form of legal carry, and the constitutional carry movement has begun to pick up steam in the last several years.

Why is Missouri Receiving So Much (Negative) Press?

I recently read (as much as I could force myself to, anyway) an article from the more leftist media talking about how Missouri has the “4th highest gun violence” rate in the country. The article continued to rant and rave about how the new law was nonsensical and ultimately would make everyone paranoid and start shooting one another and law and order would break down and theworldasweknowitwouldend and theskyisfalling and algjhwaoethjgowehguiredhrsgdfnjgthgdfjgklasjfkjgojglasjgfaofwjeao (roughly translated as “guns are bad”)!!!!!!

…that’s about as far as I got. What I do know, however, is that Michael Bloomberg’s lovechild “Everytown for Gun Safety” and “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America” have been very active and vocal in Missouri since the bill first came into being as a real possibility for the state.

Even though Missouri is in “flyover country” according to Bloomberg (who once asked if they “even have roads” there), it does harbor St. Louis, which has traditionally been a safe haven for the anti-gun and/or liberal crowd. So, Mr. Bloomberg funneled millions of dollars into preventing this bill from becoming law. Unfortunately for him and his Everytown/MDA minions, St. Louis is not Missouri. Missourians spoke loud and clear, and the Missouri legislature overrode the governor’s veto of the bill on September 14th. Since Bloomberg gave the issue so much effort in preventing it, and his cronies tend to be a sore losers, it’s no wonder why every left-leaning news source is reporting on how horrible the new law is. Give it some time, and the noise will die down.img_20160919_162251121_hdr

A Kahr CW45 being carried in an open carry holster. Open carry is legal in Missouri, with some restrictions.

So What Changes?

Well…not a whole lot, really. Missouri already had a strong concealed carry law, and open carry was also on the books. Here’s the list of changes as I word them:

1. SB656 allows anyone who is not a criminal or engaging in criminal actions to carry a concealed firearm without a permit. The caveat is that you can only conceal carry where open carry is allowed if you are unlicensed. There are restrictions on this. A list of places that you can’t open carry (and therefore conceal carry without a license) are as follows:

– Federal property.
– Public transportation.
– Trains.
– Any police station without permission from the chief law enforcement officer.
– Within 25 feet of a polling place on election days.
– Any correctional facility or jail/prison, whether juvenile or adult.
– Any courthouse.
– Any meeting of a body of government.
– The general assembly, supreme court, or county/municipal assemblies.
– Any establishment licensed to dispense alcohol, so long as that establishment makes up the majority of its profits and/or sales from alcohol.
– Any part of an airport where access is restricted or controlled.
– Schools.
– Any child care facility, without the consent of the manager.
– Any riverboat gambling operation “accessible by the public”.
– Any gated area of an amusement park.
– Any church or religious center.
– Any private property which has a posted sign.
– Any hospital “accessible to the public”.
– Anywhere prohibited by federal law.

As far as I am aware, this is exactly the same as it was before SB656 passed.

2. SB656 sets the price limit for a concealed carry license (CCW, CCP, or CCL) at $100, excluding credit card fees.

3. Time limit exemption for active duty military. If a member of the armed forces, currently deployed, has a valid concealed carry license that would expire while they are on a tour of duty, the expiration of that license is temporarily lifted. This gives active duty military men and women extra time to renew their permits.

4. Hybrid CCW classes. This part of the law allows for a portion of Missouri’s concealed carry classes to be taken online.

5. Extended and Lifetime permits. The standard license in Missouri is good for five years, and the standard renewal fee is $50. The new law allows for residents to acquire extended permits for 10 years ($100 renewal), 25 years ($250 renewal), and lifetime permits ($500 one time). The caveat is that none of the extended or lifetime permits are recognized by any other state besides Missouri. The standard 5 year license is recognized by many states.

6. Stand Your Ground. This portion of the bill removes Missouri’s “duty to retreat” and establishes a “stand your ground principle”. In simple terms, it means you don’t have to try to run away first before you draw your firearm. Missouri already had this for any dwelling, vehicle, or any other place you were authorized to be. The new law just expands it to anywhere in Missouri (again, as long as you’re not committing a crime: none of this applies if you’re doing something illegal).

7. Crime, punishment, and exceptions. This part of the bill says that certain individuals (such as fire chiefs, judges, and lawyers) are exempt from the law regarding restricted carry zones. They are allowed to carry into these places (such as a judge who wants to carry in the courthouse).

This portion of the bill also lowers the penalty for carrying into a restricted area without a license from a Class D felony to a Class B misdemeanor.

Under the previous law, it was illegal to carry concealed knives, firearms, blackjacks, and any other weapon capable of of deadly use without a license. This portion of the bill clarifies that this crime is now only committed if a licensed carrier carries them onto a restricted area (restricted even for those with a license).

It also states that those who carry onto private property, even with posted signs, are not committing a crime. However, they can be removed and fined.

What Doesn’t Change

Cities/towns and other municipal areas can still regulate open carry. It is your duty to know which locations prohibit the practice.

That being said, if you have a valid CCW, you can carry into these places with no concern. Under Missouri law, anyone who has a valid CCW and carries into one of the restricted areas above does NOT commit a crime. However, if you are discovered, you can be asked to leave the premises. If you refuse to leave, you can be escorted by the police and fined. Do this so many times (I believe it’s three) and you will lose your license. The exceptions to this are federal property, public transit, and trains. EVEN IF YOU HAVE A VALID CCW, YOU CANNOT CARRY INTO/ONTO THESE THREE PLACES.

Doom and Gloom!

So that’s what the new law states. Portions of the bill go into effect (such as the military extension) within 30 days, but most of the law comes into force on January 1st, 2017. So, I would now like to take a moment to respond to some common criticisms and concerns I’ve heard voiced on the subject.

“Missouri is the 4th most violent state for gun violence in the country! Why would we loosen our laws?”
First, Missouri is only that violent because of St. Louis. Probably Kansas City, too. But definitely St. Louis. Gangs don’t do the general populace any good, really. Most of Missouri resides outside of these two cities, and most of them live in rural or semi-rural areas. The true spirit of Missouri is not in those two cities, much like how Chicago is not representative of the entire state of Illinois. Downstate is an entirely different world.

As for the second point, people are realizing that they shouldn’t have to pay to exercise a right. This is a wonderful thing.

“You don’t have to have a permit? That means ANYONE and EVERYONE will have a gun!”
Anyone and everyone already has a gun. The new law doesn’t change the fact that criminals were already carrying, and it doesn’t make carrying for criminal purposes legal in any way. People carried illegally before the new law, and people will carry illegally after the law. There is no greater risk for criminals to use guns because of the new law, since criminals by their very nature don’t care about laws. The only people benefiting from this are law abiding citizens. Remember, this is the way it was for ages after the founding of our country.

“There will be blood in the streets!”
Let me just go and check out the other 10 states with constitutional carry. Yep, nope…that’s what I thought. No issues. I doubt Missouri will be any different. What do you know? Most people are smart enough to act responsibly. Interesting. Fun fact: the same people saying this now also said this when concealed carry first became a thing. Nothing happened that time, either.

“If anyone can have a gun, then they’ll be carrying them into Wal-Mart. An argument could now turn into a gun fight!”
Just so you know, people were already carrying firearms into Wally World. Pretty much every other store, too. There is no greater incentive to escalate an argument into a gun battle now than there was before. The law changes nothing about this. It is still a crime to brandish a firearm for intimidation, and it’s a crime to assault someone with a deadly weapon. Literally. Nothing. Changes. About. That. Also, as I said above, go ask the other 10 states. This scenario doesn’t happen.

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It’s still illegal to do this to another person in Missouri. It always has been. An exception is made for defense only.

To Infinity and Beyond

I’m very glad for the people of Missouri! This law not only strengthens the state’s firearms legislation, but also gave a big thumbs down to Bloomberg and his anti-freedom groups (who spent millions trying to convince you that guns are bad). I’d like to see some additional liberties closer to true constitutional carry, but it’s a great law regardless. Missouri has always been a very pro-2nd Amendment state, and I look forward to seeing what other great things it accomplishes in the future.

2 comments

  1. Jeff

    Enjoyed the above article on the new Constitutional Carry law in Missouri. Very informative and spot on. The 2nd amendment is a right and regardless of any laws passed, those bent on breaking the law will never obey them. I, for one, carry only for personal defense…not for confrontation. Everyone should have this right without having to pay outrageous fees like they charge in Illinois. Go Missouri!!

    1. sovietrevolver@gmail.com

      Absolutely, Jeff! Those who carry do not do so for intimidation purposes, but for defensive ones. Despite the incredibly low-crime rate amongst concealed-carriers, those who stand against the 2nd Amendment will always paint us as the bad guys who “run the streets red with blood”. It’s nonsense, of course, but just one more reason why we can never stop the fight for our 2nd Amendment rights!

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