Last Friday, the Missouri General Assembly adjourned its 2014 legislative session, and with its closing came victories for Second Amendment supporters. During this session, three NRA-supported bills made their way through the legislative process: Senate Joint Resolution 36, Senate Bill 745 and Senate Bill 656.
Sponsored by state Senator Kurt Shaefer (R-19) and handled in the House by state Representative John Diehl (R-89), SJR 36 would strengthen Missouri’s current right to keep and bear arms constitutional amendment, Section 23, Article I. This measure will be placed on the ballot (either in August or November pending Governor Nixon’s decision). The language that the voters will vote to ratify states:
Section 23. That the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms, ammunition, and accessories typical to the normal function of such arms, in defense of his home, person, family and property, or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall not be questioned. The rights guaranteed by this section shall be unalienable. Any restriction on these rights shall be subject to strict scrutiny and the state of Missouri shall be obligated to uphold these rights and shall under no circumstances decline to protect against their infringement. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the general assembly from enacting general laws which limit the rights of convicted violent felons or those adjudicated by a court to be a danger to self or others as result of a mental disorder or mental infirmity.
Sponsored by state Senator Brian Munzlinger (R-18) and handled in the House by state Representative Jay Houghton (R-43), SB 745 includes improved right to carry language and technical corrections related to the 2013 transition of the concealed carry permit issuance process to the sheriffs. As previously reported, several pro-gun amendments were adopted to SB 745. These amendments include language that would modify the current concealed carry training requirement, which requires an individual to shoot both a revolver and a semi-automatic pistol, and would instead allow someone to shoot only one firearm rather than both firearms. Other language states that there shall be no more than forty students per qualified firearms safety instructor during the classroom portion of a firearms safety training course. Current Missouri law only allows forty students per classroom, regardless of whether or not there is more than one instructor present.
Sponsored by state Senator Will Kraus (R-8) and handled in the House by state Representative Kevin Elmer (R-139), SB 656, as previously reported, includes many pro-gun reforms and addresses the following issues:
- Allows the open carrying of firearms in all localities with a permit. Some localities currently have ordinances that ban open carrying of firearms, even by those with a valid carry permit.
- Allows a school district to designate a teacher or administrator to qualify as a school protection officer and carry a firearm on school property with the proper training.
- States that no law shall require health care professionals to inquire about a patient’s ownership or possession of firearms and prohibits the documentation of such information into a database.
- Reduces the age from 21 to 19 for those wishing to apply for a concealed carry permit.
- Allows someone to qualify for a concealed carry permit using a revolver or semi-automatic pistol, rather than having to qualify with each firearm.
- Requires one instructor for every forty people for the classroom portion of a firearms safety training course. Current law allows only forty people per classroom regardless of the number of instructors present.
- Specifies that no public housing authority shall prohibit a lessee or a member of the lessee’s immediate household or guest from personally possessing firearms within an individual residence, common areas, or from carrying or transporting firearms to and from such residence in a manner allowed by law.
SB 745 and SB 656 currently await approval by Governor Jay Nixon. Please contact Governor Jay Nixon (D) and respectfully urge him to sign SB 745 and SB 656 into law. Contact information for Governor Nixon is provided below.
The NRA thanks all members and supporters who contacted their elected officials in support of these bills. The NRA also thanks the state legislators who voted “YES” on each of these measures and in doing so, protected and strengthened Missourians’ Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
Governor Jay Nixon: