September 15, 2016 |

U.S. Law Shield Independent Firearms Program AttorneyDeborah Alessi
On September 14, 2016, the Missouri Legislature made good on its promise to override Governor Jay Nixon's veto of SB 656, which reformed numerous existing gun laws in favor of gun owners' rights.

After the legislative overrides occurred, U.S. Law Shield Independent Firearms Program Attorney Deborah Alessi said, "The bill now becomes law and will authorize permitless carry, thereby permitting a gun owner to carry a concealed gun wherever open carry is allowed, making a concealed-carry permit unnecessary within Missouri."

The Legislature voted 24-6 in the Senate and 112-41 in the House. Gov. Nixon vetoed the bill June 27.

Senate Bill 656 made numerous other reforms to existing gun laws, including:
  • Allowing a Missouri resident who meets the requirements for a concealed carry permit and pays a $500 fee to receive a concealed carry permit that is valid for the duration of the person's life.
  • Providing the option for a ten-year extended concealed carry permit for $200 or a twenty-five year extended permit for $250. To renew an extended permit, the permit holder must pay $50. The lifetime and extended permits are only valid throughout the state of Missouri.
  • Expanding Missouri's self-defense laws by allowing a person to use deadly force in public places if they believe a reasonable threat exists.
"However," Alessi adds, "those who still wish to avail themselves of the reciprocity agreements with other states will still need to obtain a concealed-carry permit."

The law expands Missouri's Castle Doctrine protections. Under previous law, a person who owned or leased private property could use deadly force in self-defense or defense of others against a person who unlawfully entered or attempted to unlawfully enter the property.

"Now, the law provides that deadly force may also be used by any person who occupies private property with the permission of the property owner, like babysitters, or guests, for example," says Alessi.

In addition, the measure establishes Missouri as a "stand your ground" state. Previous to this new law, a person did have a duty to retreat from a dwelling, residence, or vehicle they owned or were lawfully occupying.

Alessi added, "This new law provides that a person does not have a duty to retreat from any place before exercising deadly force in self-defense, no matter where they are, so long as they are not engaged in an unlawful activity and have a right to be there."

It's being reported that the law becomes effective in 30 days, but our reading of the statutes (RSMo 21.250) would tend to indicate it would not become effective until Jan. 1, 2017. U.S. Law Shield of Missouri will be providing further clarifications on the law shortly. Check our Facebook page, e-letters, and blog for updates.