Last Friday, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed House Bill 294 into law. According to the Missouri House of Representatives, House Bill 294 “changes the laws regarding firearms, ammunition, and concealed carry endorsements.”
In reviewing the bill and its many provisions, gun owners in Missouri may be pleased with the changes as House Bill 294 ushers in comprehensive firearm reform that, for the most part, expands gun rights for state citizens.
The most publicized aspect of the bill is the concealed carry age requirement, which has been lowered from 23 to 21. Up until the law was changed, that Right-to-Carry age requirement, 23, was the nation’s oldest.
In addition to the change in the concealed carry age requirement, the bill:
-Prohibits the sales tax on any firearms or ammunition from being levied at a higher rate than for any sales tax or other excise tax charged on any sporting goods or equipment or any hunting equipment.
-Allows a person to possess, manufacture, transport, repair, or sell a machine gun, short-barreled rifle or shotgun, or firearm silencer if he or she conforms with federal law.
-Allows a Missouri resident or the resident of any state to purchase any firearm if he or she conforms to federal laws, the laws of the state in which he or she resides, and the laws of this state.
-Specifies that current provisions do not preclude a member of the General Assembly, a full-time or legislative employee of the General Assembly, or a statewide elected official and his or her employees who hold a valid concealed carry endorsement from carrying a concealed firearm in the State Capitol Building
While these more favorable amendments to the previous law(s) may make gun advocates rejoice, there are also several provisions that may make them bristle:
-A municipality may regulate, by order or ordinance, the shooting of pneumatic guns within its boundaries when, in the opinion of the governing body, it is so heavily populated that the conduct is dangerous to its inhabitants.
-Creates the crime of fraudulent purchase of a firearm, a class D felony.
The House Bill was drafted by Missouri State Representative Jeanie Riddle and was sponsored by state Senator Brian Munzlinger. And it passed through the Missouri General State Assembly without a hitch. However, and for reasons not explicitly clear, Governor Jay Nixon waited until the 11th hour to sign House Bill 294 into law.
In reflecting on the nature of gun reform, it might help to remember what Coleridge said, “Every reform, however necessary, will by weak minds be carried to an excess, that itself will need reforming.” In other words, depending on one’s position on gun control and gun legislation, he/she would be wise to temper his/her emotions and remember that it’s not only laws one has to change, but hearts and minds.