N.B. The most current version of updates to K. L.
Jamison's book can be found at
LICENSE TO CARRY CONCEALED WEAPONS PROVISIONS
17 September, 2003
On 11 September, 2003, the Missouri Senate overrode the veto of License to Carry. The bill is scheduled to become law thirty days thereafter. These and other updates to Missouri Weapons and Self-Defense Law are available at www.KLJamisonLaw.com
This is a “shall issue” law. If the applicant fulfills all the qualifications, the sheriff must issue the license. The applicant must take a firearms safety course and pass a background check.
The statute does not limit the type of weapon which can be concealed by licensees. One could carry a bowie knife in a boot, or a shotgun under a coat. As in any self-defense weapon, the more exotic the weapon, the more likely the licensee’s conduct will be examined. The use of magnum ammunition should be discouraged (but is not illegal) due to problems of over-penetration. The statute also does not limit the licensee to a specific weapon. One may carry any weapon, or as many weapons at the state of dress or degree of threat demands.
All instructors must be firearms safety instructors certified in one of five ways.
There cannot be more than forty (40) students in a classroom portion of the course. There cannot be more than five (5) students per range officer engaged in range firing. It is not clear if all “range officers” must be certified instructors, or must only be supervised by a responsible certified instructor. However, the safe course of action would be to have all range officers certified as instructors.
Instructors must make the applicant’s course records available to the sheriff on request. Since some sheriffs may demand to see these records, a copy should be given the student. Records on all students must be kept for at least four (4) years from the date of course completion. Knowingly giving the sheriff false information concerning an applicant’s performance in the live fire exercise or written test is a class C misdemeanor.
The course must be at least eight (8) hours long. However, ALL topics specified in the statute must be adequately taught. Many experienced instructors believe that this will take a total of twelve hours. So long as the required topics are taught, sheriffs cannot demand a longer course. Required topics are:
It is not required; however, a portion of the course should cover manners. It is considered very bad manners to “flash” or display a concealed firearm. It is not illegal for a concealed firearm to be exposed; in the course of reaching for wallets and cell phones, a certain amount of display is inevitable. However, it must be remembered that a number of people feel threatened by the mere presence of a firearm; sometimes by their mere thought of a firearm. During a radio debate on this law, the prohibitionist accused me a brandishing a firearm to intimidate those present. I did not have a firearm, and asked the media representatives present to vouch for this. They refused to do so (which teaches us several lessons). These people vote on gun issues, and influence other persons to vote. They also call the police with claims of brandishing and disturbing the peace. Neither course is good for license holders as a group. Complaints will be used against license holders on this and other firearms issues. The best way to stay out of trouble is to exhibit excruciatingly polite behavior, and to tolerate boorish behavior from others. Good manners will keep you out of trouble better than a Philadelphia lawyer can get you out.
Passing the Course
The statute defines only what constitutes failing the course, which consists of:
The statute requires an “affidavit” that the applicant passed the course. Giving a false statement to the sheriff is a misdemeanor.
There is no requirement that the sheriff approve the course outline. However, as a practical matter it may save trouble later if the area sheriffs provide written approval of the course outline, stating that persons passing the course are qualified to apply for the background investigation. Copies of this letter can be provided to graduates, who may be from other counties where the sheriff is not familiar with the persons giving the course.
Qualified instructors from the gun community are the gatekeepers for license applicants. During the course of instruction there will be opportunities to observe behavior and listen to comments. This is the place to weed out those few who might ruin things for the rest.
The license applicant must be at least 23 years of age. The applicant must have resided in Missouri for at least six months. The statute does not require that Missouri be the applicant’s only residence, or even permanent residence. The applicant can also be in the military or the spouse of a military member who is on orders to be stationed in Missouri. There are some persons stationed at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas who reside in Missouri. These individuals will have to live in the state for six months before application.
The applicant cannot have been dishonorably discharged from the military. There are several less than honorable discharges in the military, but only a dishonorable discharge disqualifies the applicant. See the “Prohibited Persons” section at page 79 in Missouri Weapons and Self-Defense Law.
The statute also prohibits applications by persons adjudged mentally incompetent or committed to a mental health facility in this or any other state. The adjudication or commitment must have been following a hearing at which the defendant was represented by counsel or a representative. The statutes uses the language “or for five years prior to application”. This may indicate that the applicant must have been restored to sanity more than five years prior to application, in any case, it certainly should. As a practical matter, such persons are prohibited under state and federal law from receiving firearms or ammunition.
The applicant must demonstrate knowledge of firearms safety training. This is done by passing a safety course or one of two alternatives.
There are two alternative to taking the training. One is a firearms safety course give by or under the supervision of any state, county, municipal or federal law enforcement agency. This does not specifically approve military service unless connected to military law enforcement.
The other alternative is to be a qualified firearms safety instructor.
After demonstrating knowledge of firearms safety, the applicant takes a copy of his course affidavit to the county sheriff. The City of St. Louis is not part of any county, is not part of St. Louis County, and has its own sheriff; it doesn't have to make sense, it’s just the law. The applicant will give the sheriff a sworn statement providing identifying information and that he or she is qualified. The sheriff cannot add requirements to those set forth in the statute. The sheriff will take a copy of the safety certificate, a $100 non-refundable filing fee, take the fingerprints of the applicant and run the applicant through state and federal databases. The sheriff has three working days to submit the fingerprints to the FBI. Forty-five calendar days later, if there is no adverse report, he must issue a certificate authorizing the applicant to carry a concealed weapon. The sheriff must issue the certificate within three working days of receiving a favorable report. The applicant must take the certificate to the Department of Revenue Drivers License Bureau within seven (7) days. The Department of Revenue is not required to issue the licenses until 1 July 2004. The sheriff's certificate functions as a license to carry until that time. It is not clear if the sheriff's certificate is effective as a license between the time the applicant receives the certificate and the time he or she receives the license after 1 July 2004. Since the license is only a convenient memorial of the sheriff's certificate it would not appear to be illegal to carry concealed on the way from the courthouse parking lot to the Department of Revenue. However, it is not wise to take chances after coming so far.
The sheriff will post the applicant’s license on the Missouri Uniform Law Enforcement System (MULES). This provides the information to all Missouri Law Enforcement agencies. It is a Class A misdemeanor to reveal the applicant’s information to persons outside the MULES system. There has been enough problems with identity theft, we do not need to provide a target population.
The Department of Revenue will place a license to carry endorsement on the applicant's driver's license or non-driver's license. Since driver's licenses last for six years, and carry licenses for three, it may be more convenient to obtain a non-driver's license with the carry endorsement. There is no provision to remind license holders when their license expires.
The license is valid throughout the state. Local government may restrict open carry, but not concealed carry by license holders.
No other state recognizes Missouri licenses at this point. This will change. Such changes will be posted on www.KLJamisonLaw.com. Any licensee who is anywhere near a state line should stop, unload the gun, and lock it up. It would be awkward to become lost, and be arrested while asking a policeman for directions back to Missouri. Under 18 US Code section 921A, a person can carry a gun in any state if it is unloaded and in a locked container. The glove compartment and console do not qualify even if they are locked. It doesn’t have to make sense, it’s just the law.
Missouri will recognize a license issued by any other state. Since some states do not require residency to issue licenses, a number of Missouri residents and adjoining states already have licenses or can get licenses. These licenses are valid even if issued to persons below the 23 year old age limit of the Missouri law. These licenses are valid even if the issuing state does not recognize Missouri licenses.
The license holder must notify the sheriff if he moves. If he moves to a different county, he must notify the sheriff of both the old and the new county. If a license holder changes his or her name, he or she must notify the sheriff. The license holder must also notify the sheriff if the license is lost or destroyed, even if the license holder does not intend to ever use the license. The license becomes invalid within thirty (30) days if the sheriff is not notified. The best course of action is to provide written notification, sent certified with return receipt, and a copy of the letter should be kept in a safe place.
There is no procedure to notify license holders before their licenses expire. There is no specific time frame in which to apply for renewal; although there is a penalty for late renewal. Only an application and a $50 renewal fee are required. No fingerprints or investigation are required. Given that the applicant’s license would have been revoked if the applicant had committed a crime or been committed while licensed, no investigation would appear to be necessary. The same application form used in the original application will be used for renewals.
Contact With Law Enforcement
A license holder is required to display his or her permit if asked by any law enforcement officer under any circumstances. In effect, if the officer asks if you have a license, you must display it. This information is available to the officer through the MULES system, so there is no point in being evasive.
Places Cannot Carry
This portion of the statute only prohibits carrying concealed “firearms”. Carrying other types of weapons is not specifically prohibited by this statute, but may be prohibited by other areas of the law. See the “Prohibited Places” section in Missouri Weapons and Self-Defense Law.
Carrying a concealed weapon is legal in the parking lots of the above places so long as it is not removed from the vehicle or brandished while the vehicle is on the premises. The only exception is for places banned by federal law.
Carrying a weapon of any kind into a government building, office, or facility is already illegal. This does not change for persons with licenses. The General Assembly and the courts may issue rules concerning carrying concealed weapons in their facilities, but cannot make it a crime. It is, however, already a crime to carry a weapon in government buildings, and this is not changed by the law. During meetings of the General Assembly or local government, members of that governing body who are part of the meeting and only those members may carry concealed weapons if licensed.
Licensees cannot carry into bars. This does not apply to the owner of the bar, and prior law allows persons who have “dominion or control” over the premises to carry concealed. This provision also does not apply to restaurants with dining facilities for at least fifty (50) persons and also receives at least 51% of its gross annual income from the dining facilities by the sale of food. The statute does not indicate how one might know this without first entering the premises and auditing the books.
Any private business may post itself off limits to concealed firearms by conspicuous displace of an eleven (11) by fourteen (14) inch sign with letters thereon of not less than one inch. The statute does not specify what the sign must say, but “No Guns” or “Off Limits to Guns” would seem to get the message across. Private property owners have a perfect right to set conditions for their customers, just as they declare “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service”. In other states these signs were common after passage of a license to carry law; gun owners avoided such places, criminals did not. The signs then began to come down. As a matter of good manners, gun owners shall spend their money elsewhere and with excruciating politeness inform the store of their decision.
Licensees cannot carry in any sports arena or stadium with a seating capacity of 5,000 or more. The critical question is capacity, not how many show up for the game.
Licensees cannot carry in any hospital accessible by the public. It is a rare hospital which is not accessible by the public. There are areas of all hospitals which are accessible by the public, and areas which are not. This may, therefore, not apply to employees of hospitals in those non-public areas, but this is not clear. Since other barred areas allowed for permission by the management, and the hospital provision does not, a more restrictive interpretation might be made.
Employers may be more restrictive than state law. They may, for example, ban the possession of firearms anywhere on company property, including the parking lot. It will not be illegal to violate company policy, but it may get a licensee fired. Missouri is an employment at will state, the will largely being that of the employer. The boss can fire all gun owners in the company and get away with it, at least until the picket line starts.
Entering one of the above areas with a concealed weapon is not a crime. It is an infraction. However it is not even an infraction unless the licensee is asked to leave the premises, refuses to leave, and a peace officer is summoned. The licensee may then be issued a summons carrying a $100 fine. If a second citation for a similar violation occurs within six (6) months, the fine will be $200 and his or her license to carry shall be suspended for one year. A third citation for a similar violation within one year of the first citation carries a fine of $500 and the license to carry shall be revoked. The person cannot re-apply for a license for three years. The licensee may also be arrested and charged with trespass. Some prosecutors have an unseemly desire to put licensees in jail, even briefly.
Missouri has struggled too long to get this law, to endanger it with stubborn, boorish behavior. Robert Heinlein wrote that an armed society is a polite society. This is our best defense.
The same bill which provides for License to Carry makes other changes in who can carry concealed and where anyone can carry.
Coroners and Medical Examiners
CCW PLACE EXCEPTIONS