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UNDERSTANDING GUN POSSESSION LAWS & TRAVELING WITH A GUN

The Summary Law Firm Jan. 20, 2022

Missouri laws regarding owning and carrying a gun are quite broad. In fact, most adults can carry without registration, education, or a permit. That doesn’t mean carrying a gun comes without responsibility, especially if you are planning to travel outside the state with a gun.

Before you go anywhere with a firearm, you should know what the laws are in the state of Missouri and in those states to which you are traveling. Be informed. As the saying goes, “ignorance is no defense” if you are caught violating the law.

At The Summary Law Firm, I represent clients in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles, Missouri, as well as Madison and St. Clair counties in Illinois, who want information about their gun rights. I also represent clients charged with violating gun laws.

GUN POSSESSION & CARRY LAWS IN MISSOURI

There is little oversight or restriction to a Missouri resident’s gun rights. Missouri is among a handful of “permitless carry” or “constitutional carry” states. You do not need a license to purchase a firearm. Moreover, there are no background checks required if you purchase a firearm from a private dealer.

As long as you are at least nineteen years old and otherwise eligible to carry a firearm, you do not need a permit to carry a firearm anywhere except where firearms are restricted. You can also carry a concealed weapon without a permit.

Missouri does offer concealed carry permits for those who may want to conceal carry in other states that require permits to do so. Residents must be age 19 or older, or age 18 if they are in the military and stationed in Missouri, to apply for a conceal and carry permit. Permits are processed through the sheriff’s office of the county in which you live, and applications will be approved if you meet the requirements, which include completion of classroom and live-fire training, residency, no felony convictions or dishonorable military discharge, no violent misdemeanor convictions within the previous five years, and no mental health issues.

Certain municipalities, do have prohibitions on open carry, although when tested, municipal laws may be trumped by state laws.

There are prohibitions on some types of firearms in Missouri, including machine guns, sawed-off rifles and shotguns, silencers, gas guns, and exploding bullets. Possession of these types of firearms is illegal.

WHERE ARE GUNS ALLOWED?

Firearms are allowed in your vehicle, and almost all public places unless the establishment expressly prohibits them.

WHERE ARE GUNS PROHIBITED IN MISSOURI?

Guns are prohibited anywhere they are prohibited by federal law, any establishment that specifically prohibits them, as well as in the following places in Missouri:

  • Schools, colleges, and universities

  • Daycare facilities

  • Polling places

  • Courthouses

  • Municipal and county buildings and facilities

  • Jails, prisons, and other correctional facilities

  • Bars, casinos, and other locations where alcohol is consumed

  • Secured areas of airports

  • On public transport

  • In stadiums, arenas, or auditoriums that hold more than 5,000 people

  • Gated parks

  • In state meetings where public officials are present

Even if you carry a firearm onto a prohibited property, you likely will not be arrested for it in Missouri. You will be asked to leave the property. If you do not, you may be arrested for trespassing.

In addition, although you may not be allowed to carry a firearm into a building (such as a casino, for example), you are permitted to leave your firearm in your vehicle parked on the casino’s property (although this should be done carefully as many car break-ins are a result of firearms being seen in an unattended vehicle).

TRAVELING TO ANOTHER STATE WITH A FIREARM

You need to obtain legal information before traveling with a gun to another state. Only those states that have a reciprocity agreement with Missouri (meaning they recognize a Missouri permit) will allow you to carry a firearm within their borders.

Missouri allows anyone with a concealed carry permit from any other state to carry in Missouri. However, Missouri concealed carry permits have limitations in some states and are not recognized at all in others, including Illinois and Nevada. For example, in Illinois, to travel with a firearm you must have a firearms identification (FOID) card and the firearm must be unloaded, enclosed in a case or the firearm must not be immediately accessible or the firearm must be inoperable (having the slide or barrel removed).

Wisconsin only recognizes permits issued or renewed after August 28, 2013. Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Alaska only recognize Missouri permits issued to those people ages 21 and older. A handful of other states, including Texas, have specific written agreements with Missouri regarding the reciprocity of concealed carry permits.

Make sure you understand the difference between traveling with a hunting rifle or shotgun and traveling with a handgun. Although many states have more liberal policies for hunters, they may have no tolerance for those with handguns.

Because reciprocity with other states, or the lack thereof, runs the gamut, you should make sure you fully understand the rules and laws before traveling to another state with your firearm. Consulting with an attorney in advance of your travel is a wise decision.

THE SUMMARY LAW FIRM: GUIDANCE YOU CAN TRUST

If you want to better understand Missouri’s gun laws, learn what you need to do to travel with firearms to another state, or if you have been charged with violating firearms laws in or around St. Louis, you need to speak with a gun crimes attorney. At the Summary Law Firm, I’ve been helping clients understand gun rights and responsibilities under the law for more than a decade.

Gun laws are serious issues, so don’t make assumptions. Call me today to schedule a consultation.