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Missouri Supreme Court Rules: Right-to-Carry is Constitutional

Thursday, February 26, 2004

FAIRFAX, VA - In a big victory for law-abiding gun owners, the Missouri Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of Missouri`s Right-to-Carry law, siding with the right of self-defense. This ruling dissolves an injunction against the law in all but four counties, permitting the issuance of Right-to-Carry permits to qualified individuals. In the four additional counties, an administrative issue will need to be addressed before permits can be issued.

"Today justice prevailed. This is a decisive victory for law-abiding Missourians," said Chris W. Cox, NRA`s chief lobbyist. "We are pleased with the Court`s decision to uphold this important law and recognize the right of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and their loved ones outside the home." This is the second time in two months that a state Supreme Court has ruled on the meaning of the right-to-keep-and-bear-arms. In January, New Mexico`s highest court concluded that the Right-to-Carry is valid under the state constitution.

In the opinion delivered by Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr., the Court stated that, "The trial court erred in declaring the concealed-carry act unconstitutional under article I, section 23. This section states: ‘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 wearing of concealed weapons.` The words of the last clause are plain and unambiguous....this clause does not prohibit wearing concealed weapons....The general assembly, therefore, retains its plenary power to enact legislation regarding the use and regulation of concealed weapons."

In September, after overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle, the Missouri House of Representatives and Senate passed the state`s Right-to-Carry law (H.B. 349), successfully overriding Governor Holden`s veto. Only seven times in Missouri history have legislators successfully overturned a governor`s veto. Despite ominous predictions by gun-ban groups, data shows that on average states with Right-to-Carry laws experience significantly less crime. Thirty-seven states have a law similar to Missouri`s, and 46 states recognize some form of Right-to-Carry.

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The 133-year-old National Rifle Association is the nation`s oldest civil rights group. NRA advocates enforcement of existing laws to prosecute and punish violent criminals. The NRA is the nation`s leader in teaching gun safety and promoting marksmanship among law enforcement officers. The Association has approximately 4 million members across America.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.