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Jul 19, 2023

Recent proposals for Missouri self-defense laws

Criminal Defense

There are relatively strong laws in place for self defense in Missouri. According to the Revisor of Missouri, an individual may use physical force on another person if they reasonably suspect they are in danger.

However, the burden of proof still lies on the defender. If you use self defense in Missouri, you must prove you acted reasonably in court.

Senate Bill 666

Missouri lawmakers recently attempted to give more power to the person using self-defense. The proposed law, Senate Bill 666, assumes reasonableness on the defender’s part. This would mean the prosecutor must present evidence to bring murder or battery charges to court. In self-defense murder cases, individuals would have civil immunity.

Reasonable person versus the presumption of reasonableness

Most states, including Missouri, have a reasonable person standard for self-defense. Any act of self-defense puts the burden of proof on the defendant. This standard will remain for the foreseeable future, as members of the Missouri senate struck down the proposed bill. Opponents of the bill worried that moving to a presumption of reasonableness standard would encourage the public to solve disputes with guns. Other law enforcement officials and prosecutors voiced that Bill 666 would make it much more difficult to distinguish between crime and self-defense.

Proponents of the bill want to give more power to individuals who must use firearms in self-defense. As the law stands today, choosing to defend yourself has significant legal repercussions. Even if you act reasonably, the courts might not favor you.

The political environment of self defense in Missouri

Self-defense is a politically charged subject. Current Missouri laws demand that you prove the validity of your intent after you protect yourself using violence. Consult with a criminal defense attorney to guide you through the process and protect your rights.