While the focus of the nation has remained on either the presidential race or foreign affairs, Missouri’s state legislature closed out their 2016 session on Friday. Rather than quietly heading home with a few bits of housekeeping filed away, they passed a raft of new gun rights legislation and sent it off to the Governor for approval. The sweeping changes make Second Amendment rights an essential core of daily life for citizens of the state. (ABC News)
Missouri lawmakers passed a sweeping expansion of gun rights Friday, allowing people to carry concealed guns without needing permits while also expanding their right to stand and fight against perceived threats…
Under the measure, most people could carry concealed guns, even if they haven’t gone through the training now required to get a permit. The legislation would also expand the state’s “castle doctrine” by allowing invited guests such as babysitters to use deadly force against intruders. And it would create a “stand-your-ground” right, meaning people would have no duty to retreat from danger in any place they are legally entitled to be present.
Republican supporters described it as a reasonable approach to personal safety, while many Democrats decried it.
“There won’t be blood in the streets,” said Rep. Joe Don McGaugh, of rural Carrollton. “But what there will be is more people protected by the right to bear an arm legally.”
Given the state’s history of gun rights I was somewhat shocked to learn they didn’t already have an extensive castle doctrine in place or stand your ground rights. I’m not sure about the removal of safety training requirements for concealed carry (or any gun purchase for that matter) because more education on gun safety is better than less as I see it. Still, there will be plenty of training available and many prospective students. Missouri previously passed a law saying that anyone with a concealed carry permit could open carry, so these changes are just expanding on an already established pattern.
So far, Democratic Governor Jay Nixon is remaining mum about whether he plans to sign the bill into law or not, promising a comprehensive review of the legislation. We might take a bit of a hint from the last time this particular debate was up for discussion, however. Back in September of 2014 there was an earlier package of gun rights legislation approved in the legislature and sent to his desk. At that time, Nixon vetoed it, but he was almost immediately overridden by a 117-39 margin.
That’s a pretty serious beating to take in politics and every time Nixon fights back against Second Amendment rights it’s another ding on his record in a state where the voters clearly prioritize gun rights over gun control. But then, why would he care? The governor is term limited so this is his final year in office. Unless he has his eyes on some future national post he doesn’t really need to worry about burning any bridges. But nothing much seems to have changed in the state’s legislative makeup over the past two years, so even if Nixon breaks out the veto pen these laws will likely make it onto the books sooner or later.