By: Dee Wampler
The Missouri General Assembly has voted to override Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of a gun bill that will expand concealed carry in the state and expand our rules for legal use of force. It 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.
The 49 page 2200 word law is enough to confound a Philadelphia lawyer. Unfortunately, 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 would be 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.
For instance, 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 18 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 DWIs within the last five years, and a person with two or more misdemeanor drug convictions within the last five years.
Under current Missouri law, none of these individuals could carry a concealed weapon but now they are allowed to do so without any training, background check, screening, or required permit.
To obtain a CCW permit in Missouri, 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.
With this complicated, somewhat bittersweet, new law, now more than ever (even though permits are not required) the need for permits is 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.
At the Law Offices of Dee Wampler & Joseph Passanise, Dee Wampler draws from more than four decades of legal experience in defending clients accused of an array of crimes throughout southwestern Missouri, including Springfield, St. Louis and Kansas City. As a Springfield native, Mr. Wampler understands the nuances of the Missouri court system, but he is an equally formidable criminal trial attorney in high-profile federal cases involving serious charges. His work has earned him recognition across the country and even internationally. Several nationally syndicated television shows, including “Saturday Night with Connie Chung,” “Inside Edition” and ABC’s “Primetime” have featured his cases, and Missouri Lawyers Weekly has showcased his work approximately 20 times.