Despite the best efforts of anti-gun New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Missouri state lawmakers passed a bill yesterday that creates a “stand-your-ground” statute and allows Missouri residents to carry a concealed firearm without a permit.
The legislation is now awaiting the signature of Missouri Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, who says he plans to give the bill a “comprehensive overview,” according to the Springfield News-Leader. If he chooses to veto, Republican lawmakers will have a chance to override the veto in September.
If successful, the legislation enacts three measures:
- Allows Missourians to carry a concealed weapon without training or a permit in areas that do not prohibit open carry.
- Expands Missouri’s “castle doctrine” to allow invited guests (such as babysitters) to use deadly force against intruders.
- Creates a “stand-your-ground” statute, which removes an individual’s duty to retreat from danger in any place they are legally entitled to be present.
The legislation would make Missouri the eleventh state to allow for “constitutional carry” within its borders, according to the National Rifle Association. Idaho, Mississippi, and West Virginia have enacted similar legislation this year.
“I’m overjoyed,” Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield, said of the bill after the session ended.
According to the News-Leader, the legislation passed the Republican-led Senate on a 24-8 party-line vote. The House then gave it final approval 114-36, with a little over an hour remaining before the session’s mandatory end.
Both votes came in the face of a flurry of anti-gun ads released by the Bloomberg-funded Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and the Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America (see video above).
According to the Washington Free Beacon, Everytown labeled the bill “a dangerous package of gun proposals that would dismantle Missouri’s concealed carry permit requirement” in an email to supporters.
“Senate Bill 656 is embarrassing and dangerous,” St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, a member of Everytown for Gun Safety, said in a statement. “The Missouri Legislature has abandoned this state. It is more concerned about the endorsement of the NRA than the safety of its citizens.”
Some Missouri legislators took particular issue with Missouri’s new stand-your-ground statute, holding that it actually makes the state more dangerous.
“It doesn’t make the state safer, it opens it up to murder,” Democratic Rep. Brandon Ellington told the Associated Press..
“To me, this is modern-day lynching,” Democratic Rep. Kimberly Gardner chimed in. “This bill would allow open season for vigilante-style behavior and put all of us at risk.”
Despite these criticisms, the bill passed by overwhelming majorities.
“There won’t be blood in the streets,” Republican Rep. Joe Don McGaugh said in the AP report. “But what there will be is more people protected by the right to bear an arm legally.”
What do you think? Do constitutional carry and stand-your-ground laws make states safer or more dangerous?