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Reader Bryce Booher writes:

‘Constitutional carry’ is clearly on the rise. States all across the country are moving to allow their citizens the ability to legally carry concealed firearms without state-required safety courses. In some states, the requirements for a cary permit can be overly burdensome by being too long, too expensive, or too restrictive or all three. But along with the spread of constitutional carry comes a new definition of what constitutional carry actually means.

Because these requirements vary from state to state, I can only speak to what I know about my own state. For the last five years, I’ve been a firearms instructor in the state of Missouri, teaching concealed carry safety courses.

On January 1st, 2017, Missouri’s constitutional carry law went into effect. There were three major areas of change the new law brings (and a lot of smaller changes I won’t get into here).

1) ‘Stand Your Ground’ law: Before 1/1/17, no one had a duty to retreat from any dwelling, residence, vehicle, or private property owned or leased by so long as they were there lawfully. Under the new law, you do not have a duty to retreat from any place you are occupying lawfully.

2) Castle Doctrine: Before 1/1/17, the castle doctrine didn’t apply to house guests, nannies, or anyone else not actually living in the home. Under the new law, the castle doctrine applies to anyone lawfully in your home for any lawful purpose.

The third major change in the statutes — and the most misunderstood — was the legal ability to carry a concealed firearm without acquiring a concealed carry weapons permit (or CCW permit). Many assumed (incorrectly) that this meant you could carry a concealed firearm anywhere in the state without consequence. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

Putting it as simple as possible, the new law made it legal to carry concealed where it was already legal to carry openly. There are two problems with this.

1) There are provisions in Missouri’s law that allow cities to pass local ordinances banning the open carrying of firearms (Branson is one of those cities). The way around those ordinances was to get a CCW permit. The new constitutional carry law did not address those ordinances, which means if you do not have a CCW permit, you are not legally allowed to carry a firearm open or concealed in those cities.

2) There are also 17 places listed specifically in the statutes in which you are not allowed to carry a concealed firearm (Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 571.107). If you DO NOT have a permit, and choose to carry concealed in any of these places, you can be arrested for a Class B misdemeanor. If you have a CCW permit and carry in those places, management must ask you to leave (or leave your firearm in the car, etc), BEFORE calling law enforcement. If they chose to call law enforcement without first asking you to leave, law enforcement would have to ask you to leave before any citation can be given. If you refuse to leave, you can be given citations and could face suspensions or revocations of your permit, etc (so don’t be THAT guy).

As you can see, Missouri’s  new constitutional carry law is far from perfect. Are these provisions steps in the right direction for gun owners? Probably, so long as the language doesn’t become misconstrued and used against good people trying to do the right thing. However, there are still plenty of reasons to get a CCW permit (aside from those listed above).

As each state enacts its own version of constitutional carry, it’s important that we understand what your state’s law actually says. Don’t take the media’s word for it (or gun store jibber-jabber, for that matter). Do your own research and educate yourself.


Bryce Booher runs Defensive Resources LLC and is a NRA certified firearms instructor. 

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    • As a Missouri resident without a CCW, I knew this already when they passed the law. Class B Mis? Who gives a flying eff? No felony, no problem.

      • It’s a good thing that MO is not one of the 23 states, plus DC, that will take away your gun rights for a gun-related misdemeanor. That list includes the Commies states, of course, but also some gun-friendly states like Texas and Tennessee. Also carrying without a permit at least theoretically puts you at risk under the Gun Free School Zones Act, which is really easy to violate accidentally, but fortunately is not enforced much.

        My takeaway is that Constitutional Carry is a great political statement, but if I can get a permit, I will still get one.

      • A B misdemeanor is no big deal? Really?!?! You probably won’t get much jail time (max 6 months), but you will get a $500 fine and an arrest record that will show up on background checks. So to avoid an 8 hour class and spending an initial $100 on a permit, you’re willing to take this risk? Oh, and don’t expect to be able to travel out of state with your gun except unloaded and locked away since without a permit, you don’t get reciprocity. One more thing to think about. If you EVER have to use your gun in a defensive situation, the last thing you ever want to have to admit to a prosecutor or a plaintiff’s attorney in front of a jury is that you didn’t think you needed any training so you didn’t get the permit. That won’t look good in the jury’s eyes.

        • You are full of it… I have 120 hours of professional training, and countless hours on the range… and I’ve never had any “permit” or gun license of any kind. Never will.

          The “permit” has little or nothing to do with training, if you think about it. Irresponsible people can – and DO sit through a class and never absorb a thing. People can – and DO seek information, education and practice if they are responsible. A permission slip from government in the wallet doesn’t turn one into the other.

          Now, there are some good reasons for people to compromise and get the “permit” in lots of places That’s a personal decision.

        • My point was that a “B” Mis is just above a traffic ticket in MO. If you aren’t a multiple repeat offender, or a psycho they’re looking to get off the streets, nobody is ever going to jail for a “B” Mis. Especially with a decent attorney. As to an arrest record and the rest, thanks I’m fully aware of the consequences and conduct myself accordingly.

  1. If it’s got all those restrictions, how is it constitutional carry?

    It would be a vast improvement over what we’ve got in Oregon, but the carve-out for local persecution of gun owners would make it a nightmare.

    • This is why many of us were against it. And why former Governor Nixon vetoed the bill. Then the NRA had to run those stupid Kristi McMains attack ads accusing any politician who didn’t support the piece of crap legislation of being against a woman’s right to self defense. I’m still angry about it.

      But thanks for the article. It’s nice to show all of these “constitutional carry” fanboys that not all of these legislations are what they’re billed to be.

      • It is though a vast improvement for low income individuals in MO. Open carried into my area rural liquor store a while back and got into a conversation with the clerk, an older lady. She worried about not being able to carry a gun while working late into the evenings at a liquor store and the cost for training and a permit were prohibitive for her. Though she did get permission from the sheriff and the store owner to carry while in the store, but all of that got very grey after stepping out the door. So I’m sure she is happy about the MO’s new law…

        • In Missouri, walking from your home or workplace to your vehicle with a concealed firearm would not be a criminal offense. She was never breaking any law walking out the door.

          This was put in the law years ago to stop neighbors from calling the police every time they saw their neighbor carrying his rifle cases to the car.

          It was also always legal to carry concealed inside your vehicle so long as it was not in view of the public or brandished. Missouri has treated your vehicle as an extension of your home for years now.

        • I understand that the $100 for the permit plus the cost of training is an issue for some people. What concerns me is the impression that you can carry anywhere that isn’t a posted GFZ, which isn’t the case. I’m not a fan of any legislation that criminalizes innocent behavior, even if it is only a Class B Misdemeanor. I know people will say ignorance of the law is no excuse, but that is why laws should be simple and uncomplicated. If you tell someone they can carry a concealed firearm without a license, they’ll likely assume they’re good to go. How many people will take the time to read the exceptions and familiarize themselves with all the local ordinances?

          I would also like to see the state offer free or very low-cost training to help the financially disadvantaged.

  2. This is not that different from Arizona. Nothing is perfect, that does not mean it isn’t an improvement.

  3. As I’ve seen the law interpreted, concealed carry is still permitless in municipalities with ordinances banning OC. Of course, most of those municipalities are not the sort of place that reputable individuals want to be around – mostly hellholes inhabited by bangers or yuppies. Real Missourah doesn’t really do that.

  4. Boycott the cities that disallow carry without a permit (or at all), and businesses likewise. Maybe they’ll get the hint…

    • Here’s a hint for you, Rich. Places like Branson, which wouldn’t exist without tourists from gun-free urban utopias around the country, won’t be impacted by your “boycott.”

      They are much more concerned about making visitors feel safe, which means keeping all those dreadful guns out of sight. Heaven forbid some suburban Chicago blue hair sees an openly carried gun and wets her panties. It wouldn’t be good for business.

      • Blue-Turds only come to Branson to sell drugs or wait tables.

        All of the entertainment is G/PG with Country and Gospel for All and not a Demo-Cretin in sight!

        What part of Redneck Riviera do you not understand?

    • Those cities are places like Branson, St. Louis, probably Kansas City as well, among others-generally money makers for this state. Get the permit. Then you have reciprocity with most states you’re likely to visit, and are generally covered as long as you’re not doing stupid shit. I just picked mine up today.

      • I’m not sure that I would characterize STL and KC as money-makers. Money pits, more like. STL is slowly dying, and only has about 37% of its peak population from 1950.

        • The “City” is a tightly defined space, which has sweet FA to do with the “County”. The “County” is the home to at least a few Fortune 50 Cos, and a half dozen more on the 500. We’re just fine, thanks. Money without the chaos of The Bay Area. Having lived there, I’m OK with that.

    • I read it that way as well. Sounds like Oregon’s ‘state supremacy’ clause in our CCW bill that specifically disallows further local infringements on concealed carry. However, open carry is not protected by statute so can be (and is) infringed upon by cities.

  5. Number 3 is wrong.

    Since you can CC anywhere you can OC, you can OC anywhere in the state with a permit as cities are preempted and the 17 places off limits ONLY apply to concealed carry….

    If you have a permit, you can conceal anywhere in the state.

  6. He’s wrong. You can concealed anywhere in the state except for those 17 places and cities can only prohibit open carry….Not conceal carry…..Read the bill again

  7. Fortunately, the author of this article is wrong. Missouri Revised Statutes prohibit local regulations of concealed carry. Municipalities are only allowed to restrict open carrying of firearms.

    Missouri Revised Statutes
    2. No county, city, town, village, municipality, or other political subdivision of this state shall adopt any order, ordinance or regulation concerning in any way the sale, purchase, purchase delay, transfer, ownership, use, keeping, possession, bearing, transportation, licensing, permit, registration, taxation other than sales and compensating use taxes or other controls on firearms, components, ammunition, and supplies except as provided in subsection 3 of this section.

    3. (1) Except as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection, nothing contained in this section shall prohibit any ordinance of any political subdivision which conforms exactly with any of the provisions of sections 571.010 to 571.070, with appropriate penalty provisions, or which regulates the open carrying of firearms readily capable of lethal use or the discharge of firearms within a jurisdiction, provided such ordinance complies with the provisions of section 252.243. No ordinance shall be construed to preclude the use of a firearm in the defense of person or property, subject to the provisions of chapter 563.

  8. Can you carry a loaded gun on your person now in Missouri without having to put it in the glove box?

  9. #1 contradicts itself; I think you meant “HAD the duty to retreat before 1/1/17….”

    1) ‘Stand Your Ground’ law: Before 1/1/17, no one had a duty to retreat from any dwelling, residence, vehicle, or private property owned or leased by so long as they were there lawfully. Under the new law, you do not have a duty to retreat from any place you are occupying lawfully.

    Secondly, I can’t find how the law reads you can only carry concealed where you can open carry. To the best of my ability reading these laws, I just don’t see how this is true.

  10. To Joe Glock,
    Yes you can carry anywhere you want in your vehicle, even on your person, without a CCW.

  11. Number 1 – ordinances are not law, they are rules for municipal employees on duty. Only the state and federal governments have ANY authority to write law for “We the People” and only within their delegated authority. THERE IS NO delegated authority to commit treason……of the 2nd article of the BoR.
    Number 2 – a “permit” is permission to do something lawful and a “license” is permission to do something unlawful…..Neither of which ANY American adult require from ANY “sworn servant.”
    Are Americans really this ignorant and clueless of what terms in law mean?
    Number 3 – suggest you actually study up and know about the fraud and treason of the terms “firearm” and “handgun”, might surprise you how ignorant you really are, Most “arms” are neither.
    The founders used the word arms for a VERY specific reason.

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