Missouri: CCW Newbies Must Qualify with Revolver and Semi

“The changes, laid out in House Bill 294 and signed by [Missouri] Gov. Jay Nixon on July 8, require that training involve firing at least 50 practice rounds from both a semiautomatic pistol and a revolver as well as passing a qualification test with each type of gun,” columbiamissourian.com reports. Huh? “The change in the qualification requirement was prompted by a desire to clear up confusion in the previous law.” That’s not a reason, that’s obfuscation. I can think of no good reason for this change in the rules—other than making concealed carry qualification more difficult and, thus, denying Show Me State residents their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. After all . . .

In the same way some people will never, ever be able to program a DVR, not everyone can handle the “complications” of a semi-automatic handgun. For you it’s second nature. For them, it’s a deadly Rubik’s cube.

The more a newbie struggles with gun handling—loading, inserting and removing a semi’s magazine; releasing, racking and locking the slide; trying to figure out why a limp-wristed gun won’t fire, etc.—the more likely it is they’ll experience a negligent discharge. That’s not good for them or you. Or anyone else for that matter.

Sure, a good instructor can [carefully] get a gun-challenged newbie up-to-speed on a semi— to the point where they can qualify for MO’s CCW permit. What then? Gun handling, like marksmanship, is a frangible skill.

The plain truth: many if not most CCW license holders never practice. As it not once. Ever. When push comes to shove, when a semi-wielding neophyte is in a gunfight, something’s bound to go wrong. Safety on. Limp wristing. Slide unracked (a lot of people keep the chamber empty). Etc.

Well, OK, more bound to experience The Mother of All Epic Fails shooting a semi than if they were firing a revolver.

D’uh. A revolver is relatively simple. Open the chamber, insert bullets (pointy end facing forwards), close chamber, aim gun, pull trigger as and when [strictly] needed.

Yes, I know: firearms safety rules. But it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that you shouldn’t point a gun at a good guy. Besides, revolvers are perfect for most people in the real world. Wheelguns don’t ask much of their users and they are fully capable of answering a great many self-defense questions.

More generally, no one should have to take any firearms training for a concealed carry license.

If you consider the average gun handling and marksmanship skill level of the average American gun owner, and consider it in the light of the statistically insignificant number of accidental firearms deaths experienced by these owners (you can round it to zero), what’s the point?

Where’s the evidence that mandatory gun safety courses increase gun safety? Show me one scientific study that proves the advantage of these courses. Common sense? Yeah, well, common sense says Americans can defend themselves with a revolver without any significant training.

And if they can’t so what? We have the right to keep and bear arms. Did anyone seriously think that right doesn’t come with collateral damage? Anyone who wants to curtail gun rights to limit the inevitable downside is on a hiding to nowhere. Except maybe a police state.

State-mandated safety courses and qualifications—especially Missouri’s new revolver and semi stricture but not excluding Chicago’s BS provisos—are an infringement on the Second Amendment. Why did society strike down mandatory, state-sanctioned tests to exercise the right to vote but seems comfortable with mandatory, state-sanctioned tests for concealed carry?

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

45 Responses to Missouri: CCW Newbies Must Qualify with Revolver and Semi

  1. avatarTim McNabb says:

    Missouri is the “Show Me State”, not the “Badger State.”

    I think this is a good idea – many new CCW permit holders I have met have not yet purchased a firearm. Struggling to get through the semi-auto qualification may deter an unwise purchase for a person who is not a gun-nut, who buys a gun and then never shoots it again until a fateful encounter, or prompt that individual to get more training.

    • avatarRobert Farago says:

      Thanks for the correction. Senior moment with wikipedia.

      I disagree. While there’s no scientific data, I’ve heard tell that more people use guns defensively, successfully, without firing a shot (i.e. “simple” brandishing) than those who do.

      Why deny citizens the chance to defend themselves with a gun regardless of their abilities? The amount of collateral damage caused by CCW holders (shooting the wrong person by mistake) is statistically meaningless.

      More generally, why deter anyone from exercising their constitutional right to keep and bear arms? That doesn’t help gun rights advocates defend their position. At all.

      No surrender!

      • avatarTim McNabb says:

        I see your point, hoss. On strict constitutional grounds, I think you have the better argument. I also think as a practical matter the the first rule of a gunfight is “bring a gun.”

        • avatarJoel Blunt says:

          Tim, sounds like you’d want gun owners who can’t (or don’t want to) handle a semi-auto to bring an empty holster? My old lady doesn’t have the hand strength to rack the slide of most semi-autos, but shoots better than most guys. Perhaps Missouri should try … test with a revolver, carry a revolver … test with a semi-auto, carry a semi-auto. Either way is an unconstitutional infringement upon the rights of anyone wanting to carry in Missouri.

  2. avatartaurus609 says:

    Robert, sorry but I have to disagree with you. First, Missouri is in the forefront in CCW considering what restrictions many other states have. Second, if someone can’t hit a silhouette from 21 feet with 15 out of 20 rounds, then they have no business carrying, let alone owning a firearm until they have had some sort of training! Third, if I understand the new law, it only requires you to fire 50 rounds from both a pistol and revolver, not qualify with both, but I could be wrong. When I qualified for my CCW back in Oct of 2008, I had to be familiar with both types, and had to be able to load and unload, plus fire each with a minimum of rounds, but I could qualify with either. When I took my course, about ten other guys from work got their CCW permits, and two of them (NAVY) still have trouble handling and shooting their weapons, and I try to get them out whenever I can, because they need help. Missouri’s CCW class was 6 hours classroom and 2 hours at the range, I think it should have been 4 and 4. Just my opinion, and as in a#$holes, we all have them. Keep up the good work, I enjoy TTAG probably more than any other gun blog.

    • avatarCraker says:

      Good to know that there are always PPL willing to step-up and declare the US Constitution only applys to SOME PEOPLE

      • avatartaurus609 says:

        No Craker, I understand the Constitution, and I served my country to defend it. But when we’re talking about a deadly weapon, (and yes, I know it’s an inanimate object) in the hands of a incompetent person, (and yes, that’s when it becomes a deadly weapon) training is important. When I enlisted in 1969, I wasn’t just handed an M14, and told okay it’s your right, good luck, oh and you don’t need no stinking training, I was taught how to shoot, and how to be safe with my weapon! So yes Craker it is a right, but it’s also a responsibility, a very big responsibility, with very severe consequences if mishandled.

        • avatarRobert Farago says:

          That responsibility, like the right to bear arms, is individual.

          The collective (i.e. the government) has no business making itself responsible for an individual’s individual responsibility to be safe with a firearm.

          With one caveat. If the gun owner does something that’s illegal with a firearm (which includes unsafe gun handling in many jurisdictions), then the state may hold the individual responsible.

          Fair enough? If so, then abandon this misplaced, unscientific love of mandatory training requirements. They are a barrier to the free exercise of a Constitutional right.

          If you want to tell people they SHOULD have training I’m with you. If you want to put the government in charge of that training in any way, shape or form, hang on, this is my stop.

        • avatarracer88 says:

          I have a right to vote… without any training whatsoever. And, with that power to vote, I can affect the fate of the WORLD. One might argue, then, that the last election was a cacophony of “negligent discharges” at the polls, eh? ;)

          None of the 10 amendments in the Bill of Rights predicate any sort of training.

    • avatarJoel Blunt says:

      taurus609, today you must hit a silhouette 15 of 20 times from 21 feet. Perhaps next year it’s 19 of 20 from 30 feet. Since silhouettes don’t move and attackers do, two years from now it may be 29 of 30 from 50 feet at a swinging target. “Authorities” will continue to increase requirements to limit our freedom (control people). At what point will you FAIL to pass their unconstitutional tests?

  3. avatarJean says:

    Hmm. I’m kinda torn on this topic. While I don’t believe in the additional requirements Missouri is asking for, I’m all for more training for first time shooters. I cringe at the thought of someone owning a firearm without the proper knowledge / training. It’s a disaster waiting to happen.

    • avatarRobert Farago says:

      “It’s a disaster waiting to happen.” That, statistically speaking, doesn’t.

    • avatarChaz says:

      I’m all for more training for first time shooters

      After several day long CCW training classes I feel that I know more than nothing but am nowhere near mastery. A training session with AirSoft guns showed us how easy it is to get shot or stabbed even when holding the pistol and expecting an attack. That was a sobering experience.

      I’m philosophically with Robert Farago in feeling that state restrictions for CCW should be minimal. However, as a practical matter training and practice are necessary IMHO. Still if the state starts setting ever more stringent requirements then as others have noted the ‘grabbers’ could eventually squeeze us down to nothing.

  4. avatarHAVEGUN says:

    I don’t have a problem with a person having to prove minimal abilities so to be able to carry a loaded firearm in public. My state the shooting part to me is ridiculously easy. Not so for some others. Probably the only instruction some folk ever got was from the instructor. In the end, everybody was qualified.

    I have often though that most people don’t understand the laws regarding the use of lethal force. The risks and liabilities carrying a gun present. To me in many ways that is more important than what one can demonstrate at the range.

    • avatarChaz says:

      the shooting part to me is ridiculously easy. Not so for some others

      My CCW class included a young man who apparently had never shot a handgun. He bought himself a new sub-compact in 40 S&W. Unfortunately with that he jumped directly into the ‘deep end’ so to speak and consequently struggled mightily with the recoil and his flinch to shoot the qualification.

  5. avatarDogman says:

    Uh…one other small point.

    Some people only own one gun. You know the quote (from Mr. Unknown), “Beware the person who only owns one gun. They probably know how to use it.” Soooo, you folks who only own one gun–revolver or autoloader–you’re SOL when it comes to being legal in Missouri. Even if you can shoot the gnat off a fly’s butt at 100 paces.

    This sorta comes across as a slap in the face of poor folks. Those folks who can only afford to own one gun. Sorta seems like discrimination based on economic ability. Sorta seems unconstitutional.

    And, yes, I realize a person can borrow or rent a gun for the class. And they can get someone to train them in the use of guns they are not familiar with. If they can locate someone willing to loan them a gun and take the time to instruct them. If they can afford the rental fees and the cost of hiring a trainer. Hmmm…this is sounding more and more like the equivalence of a poll tax.

    I smell a civil rights class action suit brewing.

  6. avatarScott says:

    This reminds me of the CCW test for Nevada. Point in and shoot 36 rounds as fast as you can. Do this with a revolver and you’re qualified to carry any revolver. Do this with a semi-auto and at that time you’d be qualified with that make and model (now its the same as revolvers). The CCW test in CA is far more inclusive with reloading under time, moving, etc. One gets up to 3 on their permit registered with make, model and serial number. The test is next to impossible if one is arthritic or trying to qualify with a single action revolver.

    That said, I do not care for mandates. Would be better if gun shops teamed up with local ranges and/or offered a free lesson with every purchase. Its a catch-22. We want people to carry responsibly and to be somewhat trained, however we also don’t want it to be such a hassle that a mandate dissuades people from doing it (legally or otherwise).

    • avatarHAVEGUN says:

      “The CCW test in CA is far more inclusive with reloading under time, moving, etc. One gets up to 3 on their permit registered with make, model and serial number. The test is next to impossible if one is arthritic or trying to qualify with a single action revolver.”

      I am no expert on CA law.
      With that said from what I understand there is no uniform statewide qualification requirements. It all depends on which county you reside.

      It goes from not even thinking of applying for a CCW, to what hoops you must jump thru.

      • avatarScott says:

        You know, I really hadn’t thought about it, but you’re probably right. Since CA runs the gambit county by county from non issue to practically shall issue, there’s no reason not to think the required course work wouldn’t vary widely as well. I should have been more specific. This was in Amador county ;)

  7. avatarRalph says:

    Only in Missouri, the “Blow Me State,” does someone have to qualify with a gun they don’t own. Oh, wait. In Boston, shooters have to qualify with the PD’s .38 special. They can’t even qualify with their own gun. Nowhere else in gun-unfriendly Massachusetts does a shooter need to qualify with any gun at all. So what’s the connection? Well, Ruby Begonia, does the phrase “barrier to entry” strike a familiar note?

    The gun-grabbing balloonheads are everywhere.

  8. avatarCoyote Gray says:

    Tricky subject…

    On one hand, anything that makes it harder to obtain a CCW, is usually bad. But I respect my right to bear arms, and understand the importance enough to realize it is like no other right we have. No other amendment permits a singular person so much power to so drastically, so immediately, and so irrevocably affect lives with a single finger twitch.

    And quite frankly, I see some of my fellow gun owners and fellow citizens exercising their 2nd amendment rights, and I cringe. I can deal with someone who spouts ignorance under the protection of the 1st amendment. Or a voter who couldn’t tell you the difference between the Electoral Collage or DeVry College.

    But someone who can’t handle muzzle control, or hit a target 20 feet away, isn’t someone who should be carrying concealed. Because they aren’t gonig to be protecting anyone.

  9. avatarRobert Farago says:

    Not buying it. People who don’t know ANYTHING about American history or the way the government works have the right to vote. Which is exactly as it should be.

    People who can’t hit the broadside of a barn from bad breath distance with a revolver have the right to keep and bear arms. As it’s been in The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave since 2a was added to the Constitution.

    Untrained unskilled CCW license holders are NOT a major problem. They add to deterrence. And even if their total shooting suckitude leads to tragedy, our freedom depends on this right applying to ALL Americans, regardless of their gun handling or marksmanship.

    • avatartaurus609 says:

      Robert, they don’t have to qualify with both, just be familiar with them. And there is nothing in the law that says they have to be of a particular caliber, so you could shoot a Ruger Mark III, and a Taurus 94 both in 22LR rather cheaply. I understand the distain in having to get permission from any government to obtain what is rightfully ours. But with all of the antis out there, and there are some on both sides of the aisle, when we can have something that makes us safer, as in conceal carry, I’ll take a course and shoot two different kinds of guns (in fact I would never turn down a chance to do some shooting, especially with multiple handguns). And when we except these mundane, let’s make the anti’s happy mandates, we make ourselves look good in our argument for the right to carry. Most people that are on the fence about conceal carry, seem to understand our beliefs more, when we show we can compromise, and I know that’s not a word most on here want to hear, but when we always take a hard stand on gun issues, we lose!

  10. avatarBrian says:

    When I got my CCW in Missouri two years ago, the revolver/semi-auto was already in effect. They range where I took my class rented me the revolver for $5 for the qual because I only owned a semi-auto. I enjoyed the revolver so much, I bought it. As far as I’m concerned, the only problem here is that the regs trick people like me into lusting after a new gun!

  11. avatartdiinva says:

    You could take the Virginia approach and offer many ways to qualify for your permit. One way just added was to take the mandatory VA hunters education class. It was solid on firearms safety issues but it didn’t discuss self defense law. While I would argue that hunters actually have more experience handling firearms in real world situations then your average handgun only shooter it probably isn’t the best way to prepare for CCW. I would say that the most important part of CCW education isn’t range time, it is the class room instruction on your state’s self defense law so when you go out armed you understand the ramification drawing your weapon.

    • avatarHAVEGUN says:

      “I would say that the most important part of CCW education isn’t range time, it is the class room instruction on your state’s self defense law so when you go out armed you understand the ramification drawing your weapon.”

      +1

    • avatarJohn Fritz says:

      Or you could take the Pennsylvania approach. As long as the applicant is felony-free and has twenty five bucks you could just give him or her their LTCF with no further hoop jumping required.

      I’ll take choice B please.

  12. avatarirock350 says:

    You spent 598 words focusing on the purported “obfuscation” and second amendment right violations of a 66 word fragment from Section 10 of the new bill. Contrary to your cursory glances and vehement objections the bill does in fact clarify previously muddled legal provisions for CCW permit holders in Missouri and the legal ramifications for those who would violate the law. The bill does not explicitly state that you have to pass a qualifying test with both types of firearms but rather that an applicant must take a safety course with and that the applicant must “fire both a revolver and a semiautomatic pistol and successfully [hit] the target with both handguns.” From what is being put forth in HB 294 it does not mention a round limit must be fired or that a police style qualification test must be taken to receive the CCW, just that the applicant be able to hit the target during the training. But is that a bad thing? If you are going to issue a permit that allows a person to carry both a revolver or a semiautomatic, isn’t it incumbent upon the state to certify that the permit holder is able to safely discharge both types of firearms? The state does not require the applicant to own both firearms, merely that the applicant fire both types during the training.
    Aside from mandating that an applicant be able to safely carry and fire both a revolver and a semiautomatic handgun it also:
    • Prevents a state tax increase on weapons that is not also applied to other non-firearm related sporting goods.
    • Allows an individual to purchase, own or manufacture NFA weapons with no other restrictions than what is mandatory in federal law.
    • Allows an adult to possess a firearm on school property under certain circumstances
    • Makes straw purchases a Class D Felony
    • Allows anyone from MI to purchase a firearm from any other state, and or a non-resident of MI to purchase a firearm in MI and take it home.
    • Lowers the age from 23 to 21 to apply for a CCW
    • Specifies that a member of the state legislature can carry in the state capital

    The bill acutally loosens previous restrictions and allows greater access in trade for a few minor provisions. But you didn’t mention any of those things, I guess they weren’t important.

    • avatarRobert Farago says:

      Of course they’re important. And thank your for bringing them to the readers’ attention.

      This piece was an editorial on the inadvisability and unconstitutionality of mandatory firearms training, and my antagonism towards the non-scientific imposition of an extra hurdle requiring CCW applicants to quality with two types of handgun.

      I appreciate your point of view. Firearms training is not a bad thing. Requiring it for Americans who wish to exercise their constitutional right is. Making the type and nature of that training the responsibility of government bureaucrats compounds the mistake. IMHO.

      • avatarirock350 says:

        Although the ability to freely travel between states (or travel outside of your door from one place to another) is not a right mentioned in the U.S. constitution (except for members of congress to travel freely to congress) it is a “right” that we are entitled too. However you have to be licensed to operate a vehicle on public roads. Part of the licensing requirement is that the applicant has to take a safety and evaluation course to exercise the ability to operate a motor vehicle. Does your argument apply equally to Cars, Planes, Motorcycle ect. as it does to firearms? Where is your indignation that you have to be licensed and have the ability to prove to the state that you can operate a vehicle. Is the requirement to pass a drivers test a responsibility of Government Burecrats? SHould we just hand teens the keys and let them drive without a requiring them to pass a safety test?

        • avatartdiinva says:

          I don’t see “The peoples right to operate a land vehicle, sail around in a boat or fly through the air shall not be infringed” in the Constitutiion. For better or for worse the Second Amendment applies those words to firearms.

        • avatarirock350 says:

          While it does not appear in the constitution the right to freely travel is a matter of case law, but the principle is the same. BTW you can still own and bear arms without having a CCW, permitting a right is upheld by SCOTUS. Similarly you can travel without having to operate a vehicle, or own one. However for both the gov. requires training if you want to operate a vehicle in public, but it does not require the same stringent rules in all cases for firearms? My question is does the argument equally apply to vehicles which are just as dangerous but are responsible for far more injuries and deaths than firearms?

        • avatarRalph says:

          While it does not appear in the constitution the right to freely travel is a matter of case law, but the principle is the same

          I don’t think the two are remotely similar. Driving is a privilege. The “right to bear arms” is not a privilege, it’s a Constitutional right.

          It will take further rulings by SCOTUS to let us know how far that right goes. Until then, given the record of the gungrabbing balloonheads, I remain extremely suspicious of any restrictions or “conditions” affecting that right.

        • avatarirock350 says:

          CCW is a privilege as well. You can own and bear arms without having to carry them with you into public under your waistband. The ability to carry your pistol concealed into public is a privilege afforded to you by the government. I believe this is also upheld by SCOTUS.

        • avatarRalph says:

          “CCW is a privilege as well.”

          That’s a new one on me, because that issue has never been decided.

          “The ability to carry your pistol concealed into public is a privilege afforded to you by the government. I believe this is also upheld by SCOTUS.”

          Not that I’m aware of. That was not decided by SCOTUS in Heller or McDonald. Can you cite a case to support your position?

    • avatarBob H says:

      One quibble, Missouri is MO, MI is Michigan.

  13. avatarTodd Price says:

    I see both sides of the argument, though I am personally in favor of a qualification as a precursor to being issued a CCW/CPL. That said, if a person only wants one gun, and the state of MO thinks it important to be cross qualified in both semi-auto and revolver, then there should be an option in the permitting process to restrict the use of the firearm that they did not qualify with.

    Same thing happens in Europe with Driver’s licenses. If you test with an automatic transmission, you are restricted from driving a manual until you test with a manual.

    • avatarRobert Farago says:

      Why complicate matters? There are LOTS of people who don’t know the difference between a revolver and a semi. Why confuse them? Let the market decide.

  14. avatarBob H says:

    I believe that forcing people to qualify with a revolver is and should be considered cruel and unusual punishment. Why not mandate that all persons who wish to have a FOID card (in the states where such 2A infringements are the law) reload their ammunition under a time limit without a progressive press? Oh, and mandate use of a muzzleloader too. If you can’t hit the target 4 times in 2 minutes with the muzzle loader you can’t have a gun much less carry one.

  15. avatarJP says:

    Quoting from the law”(9) A live firing exercise of sufficient duration for each applicant to fire [a handgun] both a revolver and a semiautomatic pistol, from a standing position or its equivalent, a minimum of fifty rounds from each handgun at a distance of seven yards from a B-27 silhouette target or an equivalent target;
    (10) A live fire test administered to the applicant while the instructor was present of twenty rounds from each handgun from a standing position or it equivalent at a distance from a B-27 silhouette target, or an equibalent target, of seven yards.”

    This was put in late in the process and ws supposed to be a trade off allowing MO to go from 23 to 21 old. Seems to be more than that at play here but rumors at this point.

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