Major changes coming conceal and carry rules

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BALLWIN, MO (KPLR) - Will changes in Missouri’s Conceal and Carry Gun law impact public safety?  The controversy over the law continues despite the Missouri Legislature’s successful override of Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of the bill (Senate Bill 656).

Beginning January 1, 2017, the new statute eliminates the current requirements for a permit issued by a local sheriff or county police department and the 8 hour gun safety course.  Permits and the course will still be available and anyone who needs to carry a concealed gun into another state will need the permit.

Chief Sam Dotson of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department remains critical of the measure.  Wednesday he said, “We have really weakened the laws and the abilities to enforce the laws.”  The chief fears more cases of road rage gun fights and violent confrontations in urban areas.

Proponents like Missouri State Sen. Eric Schmitt insist the bill will give more Missourians the ability to defend themselves by eliminating the cost of a training course.

The law still prohibits felons from carrying guns and still bans the carrying of guns into public places like courts, schools and stadiums.  Businesses and property owners can post they do not allow guns.  But it is not considered a crime if someone violates your wishes.  They must leave if they are asked to.  You are not allowed to carry a gun on a MetroLink train or Metro Bus.

The new law expands the state’s “stand your ground” standards by eliminating the duty to retreat from a threat in a public place.

Sen. Schmitt explained, “Anywhere you are lawfully at, let’s say you are on the street or in an alley and you are fearing for your life, you have that same protection under the law  with this bill… you don’t have the duty to retreat.”

Chief Dotson thinks that change is a mistake.  “I’m concerned about this because what was an obligation to try and work through a matter, now can immediately escalate into gun play,” he said.

The law will protect visitors to your home who have your permission to use deadly force for self-defense on your property.