SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said he supports Missourians’ right to carry concealed firearms, but he vetoed a bill Monday which throws out the current permitting process for concealed guns, saying it goes “too far.”
Senate Bill 656 would allow anyone legally allowed to have a gun to carry it concealed without a permit.
The bill also expands Missouri’s castle doctrine, which allows guests on private property to act in self defense. It also makes Missouri a “stand your ground” state, removing the duty to retreat from a situation before acting in self defense.
Nixon said throughout his term, he has signed several expansions of concealed carry rights, including a bill to make a permit valid for five years instead of three.
However, Nixon said Senate Bill 656 goes too far and will make it more difficult for sheriffs to keep their counties safe.
Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield, is an architect of Senate Bill 656. He said Monday he wants to remind Missourians the governor vetoed this bill while surrounded by an armed security detail.
“While I can’t carry a police officer in my pocket, I certainly should still have the right to be able to defend myself and carry a firearm in my pocket,” Burlison said.
Burlison said his constituents want to know why concealed carry seems more like a government-granted privilege instead of a right.
“It’s the criminal that is the one that’s obviously ignoring the laws and going anywhere they want with a firearm,” Burlison said. “What we’ve done is made it much more difficult for that law abiding citizen to protect themselves.”
Certain criminals, Nixon warns, would be able to carry concealed without a permit under Senate Bill 656.
Nixon said that list includes people charged with, but not yet convicted of a felony, and people with two or more drug possession convictions in the last five years.
In his veto letter, Nixon wrote “the bill removes a sheriff’s ability to appropriately exercise that authority to protect their communities from individuals who they determine are a danger to themselves or others.”
“If the governor had brought up something or brought new light to this issue that people had not contemplated before then I would have some level of concern, but I don’t,” Burlison said.
While urban prosecutors and police chiefs are on Nixon’s side, Burlison said his position is backed by the millions of voters who have put pro second amendment candidates in office.
Senate bill 656 passed with veto-proof majorities, so it is likely lawmakers will attempt to override Nixon’s veto in September.