Missouri House Approves Legislation to Strengthen and Expand Missourians’ Gun Rights

JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri House gave approval today to legislation that would lower the age requirement for a concealed carry permit and make several other changes to strengthen the gun rights of Missouri citizens. Handled in the House by State Representative Kevin Elmer, SB 656 was approved by a vote of 112-40.
SB 656 would lower the current age requirement to obtain a concealed carry permit from 21 to 19. The bill also would simplify the process to obtain a permit by eliminating the need for applicants to physically demonstrate proper use of both a semiautomatic pistol and a revolver. Instead, the legislation would allow an applicant to demonstrate his or her ability to successfully load and unload only one firearm, either a revolver or a semiautomatic pistol. In addition, the bill would allow Missourians with a concealed carry permit to open carry. Specifically, the bill states that local governments would not be allowed to prohibit the open carrying of a firearm by an individual with a valid concealed carry endorsement.
“These are some important changes to our gun laws here in Missouri that will strengthen and expand the rights of law-abiding, responsible Missourians,” said Elmer, R-Nixa. “These are common sense changes that will make the process to obtain a permit less burdensome and more efficient, and that will open the door for more responsible young adults to obtain their permits. I know these are changes supported by most Missourians and it has been an honor to be able to work with my colleagues to move this bill forward.”
Another provision in the bill would allow Missouri school districts to designate teachers or administrators as school protection officers that would be responsible for promoting safety in the school environment. A school protection officer would be required to have a concealed carry permit and to complete a school protection office training program established by the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission.
In addition, the bill would specify that a person commits the crime of unlawful use of weapons if he or she knowingly possesses a firearm while also knowingly in possession of a controlled substance that is sufficient for a felony violation. The bill also would allow court-appointed special prosecutors to carry in a courthouse setting; prohibit public housing authorities from banning firearms by residents who are law-abiding citizens; and prevent doctors from being forced to document or maintain information about a patient’s gun ownership.
Because the House made changes to the bill, it now returns to the Senate chamber for discussion. If the Senate refuses to adopt the House changes, the bill will be sent to conference where members from both sides will meet to iron out any differences.