Our Changing Constitutional Carry: Update on Gun Laws

By: Dee Wampler

Our new gun law (2017) expands Missouri’s existing Castle Doctrine in which you can now “stand your ground,” wherever you have a legal right to be, should you be threatened with serious or deadly force. It eliminates current requirements requiring Missouri citizens to obtain training, education, background checks, and permits in order to carry a concealed firearm. The safeguards of our current system are thrown out and any individual who is allowed to possess a firearm is now automatically allowed to carry it concealed. It renders meaningless the existing authority of sheriffs to deny concealed carry permits and allows individuals to carry a concealed firearm even though they would have previously been denied a permit because their background check revealed criminal offenses or causes our sheriff to believe they posed a danger.

Now, in 2017, a person without any scrutiny, training, or notification may carry a concealed weapon, including one who has pled guilty to a felony and received a suspended imposition of sentence; any person 19 years or older without any training whatsoever; any person who has been charged but not yet convicted of a felony; a person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor assault; a person who has two or more DWI’s within the last five years; and a person with two or more misdemeanor drug convictions within the last five years.

Missouri sheriffs were charged with keeping the community safe based on a determination that a person is a danger to himself or others. (RSMo 571.101). Under previous law up to 2016, to obtain a CCW permit, you must pass a course of at least eight hours that contains training on handgun safety on the range or at home; basic principles of marksmanship; care and cleaning of a firearm; safe storage of firearms at home; the requirements of obtaining a concealed carry permit, and Missouri laws pertaining to firearms. Now more than ever even though permits are not required the need for permits is still not alleviated. Before owning or carrying a weapon, you need training! We cannot afford to assume that everyone automatically knows how to use a gun any more than someone knows automatically how to drive a car. There is legitimate concern that there will be more deaths by gunfire. And we already have too many!