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Over-riding a governor’s veto, the Missouri Senate has voted to make Missouri a “shall issue” state for licenses for permits to carry handguns for lawful protection. The Senate vote was 23-10, meaning that there were no votes to spare on the over-ride. Yesterday, the Missouri House voted to over-ride the veto, by a six-vote margin. Thus, the concealed handgun licensing law will go into effect in 30 days. Two states–Vermont and Alaska–do not require a permit to carry a concealed handgun in most cases. Thirty-six states, now including Missouri, issue licenses according to objective criteria, and licenses are not denied merely because a police chief or sheriff does not want people to have guns. Of the 36 “shall issue” states, Missouri’s law is among the very most restrictive, and substantially more restrictive than a “shall issue” referendum which voters narrowly rejected in 1999. (Technically, Alabama, Connecticut, and Iowa are “may issue” states, but in practice, licenses are usually issued fairly and without unreasonable denials.)

Of the remaining states, about half–such as New York and California–are “may issue” states, in which sheriffs and police chiefs have nearly unlimited discretion in issuing permits. The other half, including Kansas and Ohio, have no procedure for issue concealed handgun permits.

Missouri joins Colorado, Minnesota, and New Mexico in enacting “shall issue” legislation this year. Such legislation is thought to have a reasonable chance of passing soon in Ohio and Wisconsin.

The Missouri legislature also voted to over-ride Governor Holden’s veto of a bill outlawing the St. Louis government’s junk lawsuit against firearms manufacturers. As with the “shall issue” law, the Missouri legislature’s action brings Missouri law in line with a large majority of other states.

While debate continues about whether concealed handgun legislation reduces crime by a statistically significant degree, the overwhelming evidence from states with “shall issue” laws is that permit-holders tend to be extremely law-abiding with their guns, and that gun prohibitionists’ fears of constant “wild west” shoot-outs do not materialize.


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