Last year, Senate Bill 656 of the Missouri Revised Statutes went into effect, giving new life to concealed carry rights for gun owners in our state.
In an odd twist, a city government can still prohibit someone from carrying a firearm openly unless the individual has a concealed carry permit. Is this what happened to you?
About Senate Bill 656
Senate Bill 656, which expanded gun rights in Missouri, went into effect on January 1, 2017, after years of debate in the legislature. Now gun owners can conceal and carry their weapons anywhere in the state. Background checks will still apply to those who want to purchase firearms, but because of the new bill, weapons training and the paying of permit fees will no longer be required when obtaining a concealed-carry permit. This is a concern to law enforcement personnel who feel that without the practical knowledge provided by a training course, a new gun owner may not know how to properly use the weapon.
Stand your ground
The new bill also changed the meaning of “stand your ground,” which protects someone who uses a weapon to defend his or her property, such as a home or a vehicle. Senate Bill 656 allows the use of deadly force in a public place, such as a bar parking lot, if an individual feels that he or she is threatened with bodily harm.
New to St. Louis
You may be a new Missouri resident and the handgun you own was issued to you in another state where open carry is allowed. On the other hand, perhaps you are suspected of involvement in criminal activity. While St. Louis law prohibits open carry, it was your understanding that this was not often enforced because such ordinances are usually preempted by state law. Unfortunately, the issue would not have come up if you owned a concealed carry permit. However, an experienced criminal defense attorney will remind you that there may be some holes in the prosecution’s charge and that you have rights that must be protected.