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House Bill 349

Friday, August 1, 2003

WHAT THE BILL DOES

  • HB 349 creates a fair and equitable process for law-abiding Missouri citizens and active duty military residing in the state to receive permits to carry a concealed firearm for personal protection.
  • This bill requires that sheriffs issue permits to all applicants that meet stringent, but objective, standards. Applicants must:
    •  be 23 years of age.
    • have not been convicted of a felony, including crimes of domestic violence.
    • have not been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of violence within the last five years, including crimes of domestic violence.
    • not be a fugitive from justice or currently charged with a felony.
    • have not been dishonorably discharged from the U.S. armed forces.
    • have not been convicted of more than one misdemeanor DUI offense within the last five years.
    • have not been adjudicated mentally incompetent in the five years prior to application, or been committed to a mental institution.
    • not be subject to a full order of protection which is still in effect.
    • have not engaged in a pattern of behavior that leads the Sheriff reasonably to believe the applicant would be a danger to himself or others.

  • The applicant must also pass an extensive course of safety training as prescribed in the bill. The applicant must demonstrate the ability to handle a gun safely and accurately, and also be educated on responsible gun ownership and the laws relating to self-defense and the permit law itself.
  • The applicant must sign an affidavit that all information is true, have fingerprints checked against state and federal databases, and be checked through the National Instant Check System.
  • If a sheriff refuses to issue or act upon an application, the applicant has recourse.

HOW THE SYSTEM WILL WORK

  • The permit will allow permit holders to carry a firearm on their person or in their vehicle throughout the state.
  • A person`s status as a Right-to-Carry permit holder will be noted on their driver`s license or state-issued non-driver`s license.
  • The applicant must pay a $100 permit fee ($50 for renewal). Revenue from permit fees will be used by the sheriffs` department.
  • Law enforcement may access the list of permit holders is protected and not considered public information. Violation of this provision is a Class A misdemeanor.
  • There will be some places where guns cannot be legally carried:
    • police stations.
    • polling places.
    • correctional institutions, prisons or jails.
    • courthouses.
    • government meetings and portions of public buildings/property that prohibit carry by regulation or ordinance.
    • bars and lounges, or restaurants that derive less than 50 percent of income from the sale of food.
    • airports (under state and federal law).
    • any places where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law.
    • elementary or secondary schools without the permission of school officials.
    • child care facilities without permission of the manager.
    • river boat gambling facilities.
    • gated areas of amusement parks.
    • churches or other places of religious worship without consent.
    • any posted private property.
    • sports arenas or stadiums with a capacity of five thousand or more.
    • hospitals accessible by the public.
  • Carrying a firearm while intoxicated is prohibited.
  • Carrying a firearm in a prohibited place is not a criminal violation, but a permittee can be denied access to the premises. Fines, and suspension or revocation of a permit may also apply. Private property owners may also invoke trespass laws.
  • The permit is good for three years and is valid throughout the state.

WHY MISSOURI NEEDS A RIGHT-TO-CARRY SYSTEM

  • Missouri is one of only six states that lack some sort of permit system for concealed weapons.
  • Thirty-five states have a "Shall Issue" permit to carry system similar to the one established by HB 349.
  • HB 349 gives Missouri citizens the same right to self defense already available to the majority of Americans.
  • Research has shown that violent crime rates tend to drop when Right-to-Carry permits become available.

ANSWERS TO THE CRITICS

  • Twenty-five states have passed "Shall Issue" permit to carry systems in the past 15 years, including three this year. Despite dire predictions of "Wild West" shoot-outs, in these states, the crime rates are stable or lower, the system is keeping permits out of the hands of criminals, and people have the right to self-defense.
  • HB 349 is constitutional under the Missouri Constitution. The State Constitution says "That the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, and property or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power shall not be questioned, but this shall not justify the carrying of concealed weapons." But it does not outlaw the carrying of concealed weapons, leaving this authority to the General Assembly. This provision was added to the Constitution of 1875 in large part as a "Jim Crow" provision to keep guns out of the hands of newly-liberated slaves.
  • HB 349 places very strict standards on those wanting a permit. Besides having a clean criminal record and no recent history of drug or alcohol abuse, applicants must also undergo rigorous safety training and pass an extensive criminal background check.
  • Administrative costs incurred by sheriffs for processing are covered by application fees, which will be administered through the County Sheriffs Revolving Fund.
  • Experience in other states that have passed "Shall Issue" systems shows that trends in gun sales remain stable, with no wild fluctuations in handgun sales. Firearm accident rates remain stable as well.
  • Few permits are revoked for cause in the states that have permits, and Missouri can look forward to the same. For instance, Florida (which has had a permit system for years) has revoked fewer than 150 of 798,732 permits issued through the beginning of 2002. This is only .02% of all permits issued (Source: Florida Department of State).
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