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Permitless concealed carry bill advances in Missouri

Missouri is considering a change to the state law regarding concealed weapons. The Missouri House of Representatives recently passed a measure known as the Constitutional Carry bill. If it passes the Senate and is enacted into law, it would allow people who have a clean background to possess a concealed weapon without the need for a permit.

The premise behind the legislation is that it is an undue hardship for people who want to carry a concealed weapon to have to go the sheriff's office for a background check and go through a gun training program before they are allowed to carry a concealed handgun. The sponsor of the bill notes that people should be able to exercise their Second Amendment rights without having to go through all of the extra steps and the extra financial burden that comes along with the concealed carry permits.

He further notes that there isn't much difference between an open carry, in which the weapon is seen, and a concealed carry, in which the weapon is under a piece of clothing. He noted that people have a constitutional right to carry a firearm, but you shouldn't need a permit to put a piece of clothing over the firearm.

If the bill passes the Senate and is signed into law by Governor Jay Nixon, Missouri would join a host of other permitless carry states, including neighboring Arkansas. Opponents of the bill worry that this could lead an increase in violent crimes.

While this bill is still making its way through the legislative system, Missouri residents should still abide by current laws that require a permit to carry a concealed firearm. Failing to do so could lead to criminal charges that would require you to present a defense if you want a chance at avoiding a conviction or minimizing the penalties of a conviction.

Source: The New American, "Constitutional Carry Bill Passes Missouri House; Heads to Senate for Vote," Raven Clabough, April 27, 2016

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