Real Law: by Kevin Jamison
Permitless Carry and Stand Your Ground
K. L. Jamison
A gun bill has become law. There has been much misinformation and myth over the effect of SB 656. The major changes allow persons to carry concealed without a permit beginning 1 January, 2017 and a “stand your ground” provision beginning 14 October, 2016.
After the New Year persons legally allowed to possess firearms may carry them concealed. Persons between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one can possess but not buy handguns from a federally licensed dealer. Under prior law they could possess handguns obtained by inheritance, gift or private sale. The new law does not change this.
It will be legal to carry without training or a background check. None of the other ten states with similar laws has had problems. However, training looks better in court. Training also introduces students to obscure laws. It is legal to leave guns locked in cars in the parking lots of banned areas; except Post Offices where it is a federal misdemeanor. People undergo background checks under federal law when they buy a gun. Persons who would not pass a background check are legally unable to possess firearms under existing law. The new law does not change anything about obtaining a gun.
Under the new law unlicensed persons carrying into a prohibited area can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor punishable by six months in jail, a $500 fine or both. They cannot drive through school zones or drop their children off at school. For persons with a license to carry, entry into one of the 17 categories of banned areas is at worst an infraction punishable by a $100 fine, for the first offense. Unlicensed persons cannot carry across state lines unless the other state allows.
The new law provides for extended or lifetime licenses to carry. However these are only valid in Missouri. The law does not affect open carry. Under current law one may open carry anywhere in Missouri except for the statutory “no guns” zones. In cities that have ordinances against open carry a person may still carry openly if he has a license to carry concealed. In order to carry openly one has to have a license to carry concealed. It doesn’t have to make sense, its just the law.
The “stand your ground” provision means that one can act in self-defense without first proving that you tried to retreat or could not retreat “in complete safety.” One must still be in reasonable fear of deadly force. There must be an obvious threat to life or serious physical injury. Seeing a clown does not qualify no matter the personal phobia or current internet myth. This is a minor change from the Castle Doctrine which says that one does not have to retreat on property one owns or rents. This extends the principle to anywhere a person can legally be. The Castle Doctrine applies to a vehicle as well. However, this may depend on where the vehicle might be. It must be where it is allowed to be; a parking lot or road, but not a stranger’s yard or living room.
Certain persons, including elected officials, have claimed that the new law allows child molesters and persons convicted of adult abuse to buy and carry guns; they should know better. The new law says nothing about buying guns. Even if it did felons and persons convicted of adult abuse or the respondent in a civil protective order cannot buy or possess guns under federal law.
Hysterical opinions get published. Consult a lawyer for the real law.