The state of Missouri is finally changing their gun carry laws after years of battle between both sides in the community, the capital and the media. In just a few months, Missouri will certainly be one of the safer places to live and raise a family, since citizens now have very little in the way of their right to protect their property, their loved ones and themselves.
It’s been a long road for the conservative state to this new triumph. According to the NRA, in 2013 the Missouri gun law read as follows:
Mo. Rev. Stat. § 571.037. It is unlawful to carry a firearm concealed on or about one’s person without a concealed carry permit, a valid concealed carry endorsement or a valid permit or endorsement to carry concealed firearms issued by another state. That was then.
Gun legislation has been in the spotlight lately more than usual, not only because of our impending presidential elections, but also as violence increases across our country. Americans are worrying more about their own protection both in public and at home. Various states have been adjusting and enacting their own laws and Missouri is no exception.
The recent changes effect different types of gun regulation and take effect separately. One went into place immediately, some in October and the remaining conceal carry terms will become law on January 1, 2017. Here are detailed explanations on all of them.
- The portion of the law taking effect immediately was only because of the nature of the need. This applied to service personnel, relying on their firearm as part of their duties and employment. The law simply states that those whose license to carry expires during active duty may use an immediate two-month extension up to two months after discharge, to prevent a lapse in licensing while the weapon is necessary for protection and service. This extension is without penalty or late fee.
- The term known as “stand your ground” describes the section of the bill that went into effect in mid-October. The governor had vetoed this action and he was overruled by the state Senate. Stand Your Ground, simply means that when someone is in a place they are allowed to be in, such as home or work, visiting a family member, in a restaurant or store, whether private or public, they have the right to defend themselves with a gun, when they feel their life is in danger. This wording of course, prevents criminals from claiming this right when they are trespassing, breaking in or in the commission of some other crime. For a long time, the law stated that someone feeling in danger had a responsibility to run, or flee or otherwise remove themselves with the hope that no one would be injured. But this meant the threatening person had no consequences, possibly continued carrying out a crime and could shoot or otherwise lash out and the fleeing victim. Attorneys have long had to fight in court, to assert their clients’ rights to defend themselves. This new change means no charges would ever be filed as long as the initial investigation shows that the victim acted correctly and reasonably under stand your ground. Not only does the new law help protect citizens of Missouri, but hopefully discourages criminals from posing a threat when they now know that the victims can fight back with deadly force.
- The final and most widespread section of the new law is an extensive redefinition of the concealed carry guidelines. Missouri is now another state that allows Constitutional Carry. This means, as of 2017, lawful owners of firearms will be able to conceal and carry them in any place within the state of Missouri, as long as the follow the existing laws that apply to gun ownership and not in places like courthouses, jails, political gathering places or businesses, such as grocery stores or schools that post no gun signage in or around their entrances. Background checks for buying weapons still apply as required. All of the requirements when purchasing a weapon will be enforced and followed as always.
Pro-gun citizens and community leaders are celebrating this leap in the direction of personal protection. The term Constitutional Carrysupports the belief that much gun legislation has gone against the second amendment and therefore promotes the opposite of what our forefathers considered a reasonable right to bear arms as written in our constitution.
There is certainly some backlash from those who support more gun control, but there can’t be any argument that citizens are now that much safer. As for those posing harm, they should be afraid. It’s time law-abiding Americans were feeling safe and criminals were feeling scared, instead of the other way around. No one is hoping for more shooting, injury or death. The hope is that the presence of this type of new law, will deter those that mean to cause harm. Carrying a weapon doesn’t pose any danger until someone gives cause to pull it out.
Some local and city governments may choose to continue to fight the state legislature, but will find their ordinances hard to enforce if citizens understand the new state laws. But for citizens, this can be confusing and lead to municipal charges, when they are in fact, following state law. City governments need to straighten that out for the good of everyone.
Surrounding states have the right to determine whether they will honor the law for Missourians visiting their jurisdictions.
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