Stand Your Ground Laws in Missouri
In January 2017, Missouri became the 25th state to enact a “Stand Your Ground” law. Senate Bill 656 passed into law after state legislature overruled a veto by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. The bill pertains to the state’s firearm laws, modifying existing open-carry rules to make them more flexible. If you live in Missouri or plan to move to the state, SB 656 could affect how you carry and use firearms, as well as how victims can defend themselves. Here’s what you need to know about the Stand Your Ground laws.
Provisions of Senate Bill 656
The main thing SB 656 did to change Missouri laws was to allow certain parties with valid concealed carry endorsements/permits to open-carry a firearm without fear of disarmament, physical restraint, or arrest by law enforcement, unless there is reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. Anyone who violates the provisions of the Stand Your Ground law may face citations with fines up to $35. The law also prohibited political subdivisions to preclude the use of firearms to defend people or property. Other changes the law made are as follows:
- The Department of Public Safety has the sole authority to regulate corporate security advisors.
- Unless another state or the federal government recognizes a security advisor’s license, the advisor’s authority and jurisdiction only exists within the state.
- Acting as a corporate security advisor without license is a Class A misdemeanor.
- Schools can appoint teachers or administrators as school protection officers, who are authorized to carry concealed firearms.
- Doctors and other healthcare professionals may not ask patients about if they own firearms, nor document firearm ownership on medical records.
- It is a Class D felony for someone to possess a firearm while also in possession of a controlled substance, other than marijuana or synthetic cannabinoids up to 35 grams.
- Concealed carry permits expire on the last day of the month, rather than the day the person obtained the permit.
- Applicants for concealed carry permits no longer have to undergo as many physical tests as they did in the past. They must only prove the ability to safely load and life fire a revolver and semiautomatic pistol.
- Housing authorities cannot turn down applicants due to firearm ownership or bar lessees from possessing firearms.
SB 656 earned the name the “Stand Your Ground” law for provisions relating to the defense of persons and property by firearms. If you are legally on a property, you have the right to defend yourself using a firearm without fear of criminal charges, as long as you have reason to feel the offender is threatening your life with deadly force. In the past, you would have had a duty to first retreat and then defend yourself. Now you no longer have to retreat first in self-defense situations, thanks to the Stand Your Ground law.
What it Means to “Stand Your Ground” in Missouri
The recent firearm law enables people to protect themselves without as much fear of persecution afterward. Plaintiffs who have had a hard time claiming self-defense because of the retreat requirement now have particular rights protecting them. The new law places the burden of proving something other than self-defense on the prosecution, not on the victim.