Gun legislation sparking conversation on gun safety in Missouri
COLUMBIA -A gun legislation now on it's way to the governor's desk is creating conversation concerning gun safety in Missouri.
Senate Bill 656 was passed by the Missouri General Assembly on Friday and would allow Missourians to carry a concealed weapon without the need for a permit. Missourians can carry the weapon anywhere that is not expressly prohibited by law.
Currently in Missouri, you do not need a permit to purchase a gun, but you do need one to carry.
The Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America expressed their concerns for the bill, saying this bill would dismantle Missouri's concealed carry permit requirement.
"[This bill would] make it easier for dangerous people to carry hidden, loaded handguns in public while also turning everyday conflicts into deadly encounters by emboldening people to shoot rather than resolving disagreements in another way," volunteer leader Becky Morgan said in a statement."We strongly urge our governor to veto this dangerous legislation-the safety of our communities depends on it."
Larry Wayland, owner and manager of Modern Arms in Columbia, disagrees.
"Those that probably think this will cause more gun violence are probably ill-informed. The people that were not complying with the law in the past, the people that acquiring their fire arms illegally, the people that are not doing background checks when they buy firearms are still going to be doing that. Criminals will be criminals," Wayland said.
Under the legislation, most people will be able to carry a concealed gun, even if they have not completed the required training hours.
The bills sponsor Eric Burlison said the bill does not eliminate the concealed carry permit process for those who still choose to go through it.
Wayland said he hopes Missourians will choose to become educated on firearms.
"For a concealed carry permit, the state mandates an 8-hour class and you fire 40 rounds of fire in training. It's not really a class that focuses a lot on the firearms proficiency, it focuses a lot on the legal obligations and the duties and rights you have as a concealed carry permit holder," Wayland said.
However, the Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America said they are making their best effort to get the governor to veto the bill.
"We are disappointed to see some of our lawmakers side with special interests over the wishes of a majority of Missourians and pass a bill that puts public safety at risk," Morgan said.
Gov. Jay Nixon was not immediately available for comment but his press secretary Scott Holste said "this bill will receive a full and fair review."