May 14, 2016
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri lawmakers have passed a sweeping expansion of gun rights in the state, one that would allow people to carry concealed guns without requiring permits and widen their right to stand and fight against perceived threats.
The legislation, which now goes to Gov. Jay Nixon for his signature, was among the most prominent measures passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature on the final day of its annual session on Friday. Mr. Nixon, a Democrat, did not have an immediate comment on the bill.
Under the measure, most people would be able to carry concealed guns, even if they have not completed the training currently required to obtain a permit.
The legislation would also expand the state’s “castle doctrine” by allowing invited guests, such as babysitters, to use deadly force against intruders. It would also create a “stand your ground” right, meaning people would not have to retreat from danger in any place they are legally entitled to be present.
While many Democrats denounced it, Republican supporters of the bill described the measures as reasonable approaches to personal safety.
“There won’t be blood in the streets,” said State Representative Joe Don McGaugh, a Republican. “But what there will be is more people protected by the right to bear an arm legally.”
Ten other states already have what supporters describe as “constitutional carry” laws allowing concealed guns without permits, including ones enacted this year in Idaho, Mississippi and West Virginia, according to the National Rifle Association.
The N.R.A. says 30 states have laws or court precedents stating people have no duty to retreat from a threat anywhere they are lawfully present. But Missouri’s measure would make it the first new stand your ground state since 2011, according to both the N.R.A. and Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control advocacy group.