Open Carry Ban Overturned In Missouri

Missouri just passed an open carry law banning any city or other municipal entity in the state from ever approving a statute which would ban such an expression of Second Amendment rights. Amendment 5 ensured that all Missouri gun laws as "unalienable." The law was inspired, at least in part, by the city of Webster Groves passing a law banning open carry in September.

Amendment 5 passed with 60 percent of the vote during the primary election in August. The overturn of the open carry ban in Webster Groves occurred in late October, after the new state law was enacted. "We have no choice in the matter. We must comply with the state law and all of us as municipalities are facing this," Mayor Gerri Welch said.

Open carry bans at the local level became subject to the new state statute after Republicans in the state senate and house overrode Governor Jay Nixon's extensive gun control bill. The new gun rights law not only terminates all open carry bans but also lowers the age for concealed carry permits to 19. Opponents to the age 21 concealed carry permit laws in many states often note that at 18, Americans can go to prison, get married, pay taxes, hold public office, and carry high-velocity weapons in the military, but cannot garner a concealed carry permit or buy a beer at the local watering hole, when arguing for changes in the age restrictions.

Not long after the open carry ban was lifted in Missouri, a large group of peaceful protesters "tested" the new statute in St. Louis. The group exercised their open carry rights during a march around the city. Jeffry Smith, a firearms instructor from Ohio and a gun rights activist led the Open Carry/Firearms Educational Walk. Smith said that he wanted Missouri residents to understand that their state constitution provides the fundamental right to open carry, without the need for a concealed carry permit. The group marched from Citygarden to the Gateway Arch without incident. SB 656, also a comprehensive gun rights bill recently passed in the state, declared that anyone with a concealed carry permit can now open carry in any town in Missouri.

second amendment
Open carry march in St. Louis, Missouri.

Some local leaders are concerned that the end to open carry bans will not remain peaceful in the future or spark fear among residents. Government officials opposed to the new law have stated that Missouri cities are a "world away" from rural counties in the state and are not suited for open carry. Exactly why rural folks are believed to be able to handle the open carry of a firearm and urban residents are not remains unclear.

What do you think of the open carry ban being lifted in Missouri?

[Images via: Philosophical Questions Asked Every Day and the Jeffry Smith/Riverfront Times]