Update (September 26, 2014) Kevin’s article below drew a question from a WMSA member. Does SB 656 apply to those areas of the state where no open carry prohibition exists?
Short answer: No. Open carry is legal, still, in those areas with no prohibition and no CCW is required for open carry in those areas and municipalities. A requirement for possession of CCW is required only for those areas or municipalities, such as Kansas City, that prohibits open carry.
WMSA President Kevin Jamison penned an article covering the legislation passed this summer. It answers questions about the new law and dispels misinformation that abounds concerning the law.
A PRODUCTIVE SUMMER
K. L. Jamison
It has been a productive summer. We beat back an ill-considered Jackson County ordinance which prohibited shooting in decidedly rural areas. The Missouri Constitution was amended to state that the right to own guns was “inalienable”. This makes our constitutional provision perhaps the strongest in the country. This provision does not abolish any restrictions on our rights. Exactly what it means will have to wait for future court action. It is a very good development and will be a very strong tool to expand our rights.
Kansas City passed a City ordinance against open carry. This was not due to any injuries by open carry advocates or even threats. The council members who spoke on the subject said that the ordinance was necessary because open carry “sent the wrong message.” They wanted to suppress political speech. This is unconstitutional however crudely expressed the speech. I have often said that open carry is a bad tactic being badly employed. I do object to one of our rights being taken away even if it is a right I do not care to exercise. It would be helpful if one of the open carry advocates would sue the City. I can only hope that one will.
The legislature has overturned the Governor’s veto of an omnibus gun rights bill. One provision of the bill allowed open carry in any city or part of Missouri if the person also has a license to carry concealed. This does not make a great deal of sense. It is one of those; “It doesn’t have to make sense it’s just the law” sort of things. My understanding is that police have been called to open carry activists, and the person would refuse to give his name. He would have a perfect right not to give his name, but that is not how one wins friends nor influences people. A person with a license to carry must give his license on request regardless of the circumstances, even if he is not carrying a weapon at all. This allows the police to fill out their reports. Bad activism has caused us to lose part of our rights. The good news is that it gave us some good media coverage. The City Council did the ordinance so badly that they have opened up a legal weakness in the other side if the open carry people want to take advantage.
The omnibus bill was vetoed because it allowed school teachers to get training as school protection officers. The governor did not think these women could be trusted with guns. The law requires that the school district hold a public hearing before establishing this program. Applicants would have to pass a training program established by the Missouri Department of Public Safety of some 40 hours.
The bill reduced the age for a license to carry to 19. I fear that this will cause us to lose reciprocity with some states. We shall see. As I understand it one legislator demanded that the age be raised to 25 and the rest of the legislature pushed the other way.
The bill requires that the license to carry course only require familiarization with revolver and semi-automatics, not qualification. Students need only qualify with one type of handgun. This reduces the amount of ammunition required.
The bill prevents public housing from banning guns by residents. Public housing units have been sued for doing so across the country. They have always lost. This does not stop them. I represented a man who was being evicted from public housing in Independence because he owned a .22 pistol and a muzzle loading rifle. We beat the eviction with the assistance of the NRA. The housing authority responded by papering the facility with signs ordering residents not to possess guns. This provision does not prevent private landlords from banning guns from their buildings. Private parties can violate your rights if you sign a lease allowing them to do so. Read the fine print.
The Omnibus Bill goes into effect on 12 October, 2014.
It has been a good summer. Now all we have to do is elect the right people so we can do it over again.
I thank-you for the honor of being your president.