Missour's New Constitutional Carry Explained (Maybe)
In this message, I will try and explain parts of Missouri's new "Gun Bill", "Constitutional Carry", or what ever you may wish to call it. We have received many calls and emails regarding what has changed and when it takes effect. This is a confusing measure and I will try and provide some clarification.
The first question is "When does Missouri's law take effect?" The main portion of the law which deals with "Constitutional Carry" takes effect January 1, 2017. There are some portions that will take effect October 14, 2016 and those will be listed below.
I will start of with a quick answer to the most common question. "Do I need a conceal carry permit now?" The short answer is "maybe".
Now the long answer. Prior to the passage of this law, Missouri was already an "Open Carry" state. This means that as long as your firearm was visible and you were not a felon or prohibited from owning or possession a firearm, you could carry that firearm basically anywhere that it was already not prohibited. For example, banks, schools, courts, etc. Missouri's law also already allowed you to carry a firearm concealed in your vehicle without a permit.
The new law now allows a person do to all the things that permit holders were allowed to do and carry where they were allowed to carry concealed. But now no permit is required. As long as you are in Missouri. This is where it gets tricky.
Back to the original question "Do I need a conceal carry permit now?" If you never plan to leave the state of Missouri with a weapon, then no. However, if you have plans to leave Missouri for any reason, shopping, travel, vacation, etc. then yes, you need a CCW permit.
Why? Currently, most states do not have a reciprocal "Constitutional Carry" law. This means that other states do not recognize Missouri's "Constitutional Carry". Even if those states have constitutional carry as well, they do not recognize Missouri's. So, if you leave the state for any reason carrying a concealed firearm without a Missouri Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) permit, you are subject to a possible felony arrest in that state for carrying a concealed weapon unlawfully.
If you currently have a permit, then you are covered and will be until your permit expires. When it expires, simply renew it and you are covered again. So long as you have a valid Missouri CCW permit, other states will reciprocate our permit with their laws so you will be ok.
So, to be safe, the best answer to the question is simply to obtain a CCW permit and keep it valid. That is the best answer until a nationwide constitutional carry is enacted. This will prevent complications for you on down the road.
In addition there were other provisions in the constitutional carry law dealing with permits. Effective October 14, 2016, individuals who wish to have a permit may now apply for "Lifetime" permits which is good for the duration of a person's life. They may also apply for a 25 year permit and a 10 year permit if they so choose. The standard 5 year permits will also still be available.
Another portion of the law that has changed is that previously, if a business posted a "No CCW allowed" or similar sign at their place of business, a CCW holder could be prosecuted for doing so. That is no longer the case. You cannot be prosecuted for carrying a concealed weapon at this place. However, you could be subject to being prosecuted for trespass or peace disturbance if the owner of said location asks you to leave and you do not if they discover you are carrying a concealed weapon.
So, to reemphasize, if you plan on leaving the state of Missouri and carrying a concealed weapon, you will still need a CCW permit from your Sheriff's Office. If you never plan on crossing state lines, then you may not need one.
I hope this helps answer some of your questions. If it does not, please feel free to contact my office with your question and we will do our best to answer it.
Brad A. DeLay