MISSOURI (KFVS) - Governor Nixon vetoed Senate Bill 656 on Monday which would have eliminated the requirement for individuals to obtain training, education, a background check and a permit in order to carry a concealed firearm.
According to Gov. Nixon, the bill would have allowed gun owners, including those from other states, to legally carry a concealed firearm even if they had been denied a permit in the past.
For example, if a person's background check revealed criminal offenses or caused the sheriff to believe they posed a danger, they could still carry a concealed firearm under this legislation.
"As Governor, I have signed bills to expand the rights of law-abiding Missourians to carry concealed and am always willing to consider ways to further improve our CCW process," Nixon said. "But I cannot support the extreme step of throwing out that process entirely, eliminating sensible protections like background checks and training requirements, and taking away the ability of sheriffs to protect their communities."
Since 2003, gun owners in Missouri were required to follow a step-by-step process to obtain a concealed carry permit. The process requires classroom and range trainging, as well as a background check and review by the sheriff, before the applicant can get a permit.
This process also allows sheriffs to reject applications and those decisions have been upheld by courts on appeal.
"I cannot support a system that would ignore a determination by the chief law enforcement officer of a county that an individual is a danger to the community and should not be authorized to carry a concealed firearm," said the Governor in his veto message. "Allowing currently prohibited individuals to automatically be able to carry concealed would make Missouri less safe."
Organizations like Missouri Fraternal Order of Police and the Missouri Police Chiefs Association also support Nixon's veto.
Missouri Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Ahlbrand wrote in a letter to the Governor saying, "Make no mistake, we are staunch supporters of the Second Amendment. We feel, however, that the enactment of SB 656, specifically the allowance of giving anyone not currently prohibited from possessing a firearms, the ability to carry a concealed firearm without a permit, will cost not only citizen lives but will also be extremely dangerous to law enforcement officers."
"The Missouri Police Chiefs Association is concerned for the safety of citizens and officers, through the loss of the balance that has existed in Missouri relating to the carrying of concealed weapons for the past several years, and the language in SB 656 that will even allow those persons convicted of crimes to use a verdict that includes a suspended imposition of sentence (SIS) to legally carry a concealed weapon," said MPCA President Chief Paul Williams. "During a time that balanced approaches and solutions are needed more than ever to face increasing challenges, there is no need to create an imbalance, and potentially decrease the safety of citizens and police officers alike, through such a profound change in Missouri's concealed carry law, which has served this state well over the past several years."