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Missouri Supreme Court Upholds Right-To-Carry

Friday, February 27, 2004

On Thursday, February 26th, the Missouri Supreme Court upheld the Right-To-Carry for Missouri citizens. The Court struck down a previous decision by a St. Louis circuit court that ruled the law unconstitutional. The Missouri Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms, but also says the clause "shall not justify the wearing of concealed [firearms]." The Supreme Court ruled that the General Assembly may authorize the wearing of concealed firearms, just as they did in 2003.

However, the Court did find that the funding mechanism in the 2003 Right-To-Carry bill may violate the Hancock Amendment to the constitution, which dictates how the state may fund programs. Because of this, permits will may not be issued yet in Jackson, Greene, Cape Girardeau, and Camden counties, the counties addressed in the case. Legislative options to correct this problem are already being considered in the General Assembly. Your NRA-ILA is working with appropriate officials to find the best option to resolve this problem.

In the meantime, please politely encourage your county government to issue permits according to state law and the court decision. Aside from the above-mentioned counties, local sheriffs should start issuing permits immediately. Before a citizen can apply for a permit, he must have the following information: proof of training from a qualified firearms safety instructor; a valid Missouri Driver`s License, non-driver`s license, or military I.D.; and cash, or a check or money order, in the amount of $100.00 made payable to the County Sheriff`s Revolving Fund. Any individual wishing to obtain a permit will be charged a maximum of $100 by his local sheriff`s office. This fee covers the cost of fingerprints and background checks, but does not cover the proper firearm training. Citizens can obtain a list of qualified trainers, licensed by the state to teach the Academy`s Basic Firearms, from their local sheriff`s office.

Also, you can help by encouraging your local officials to avoid unnecessary further litigation of Right-To-Carry. Due to the Hancock Amendment issues, some localities may try to use the courts to avoid issuing permits. Contact your local officials (you can find their information by clicking on "Write Your Representatives" and choosing the Local option) and politely ask them avoid further delays and more court action. Missourians have been trying to secure the Right-To-Carry for over ten years- with your help, we can make sure the wait is over.

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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.