Gun & Firearms Possession
Understanding Missouri's Gun Laws
As an American citizen, the right to bear arms refers to the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of their home, their person, and their property; this phrase was first contained within the text of the United States Bill of Rights, and within the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution where the text reads that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
While owning firearms was a part of everyday American life in the past, today United States gun laws are defined by a number of state and federal statutes, and federal gun laws are enforced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. In Missouri you are not required to have a permit to purchase a long gun or a handgun, nor are you required to register your firearms. In order to carry a concealed weapon (handgun), you are required to obtain a concealed weapons permit, and open carry is permitted for handguns if you are 18 or older. However, local governments may regulate both the open carry and the discharge of firearms.
Missouri Weapons Offenses
Under Section 571.070 of the Missouri Revised Statutes, possession of firearm unlawful for certain purposes-penalty-exception: a person is guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm when he or she knowingly has any firearm in their possession and:
- He or she has been convicted of a felony under Missouri law, or another crime in the United States that if committed in this state would be a felony; or
- Such person is a fugitive from justice, or in a habitually intoxicated or drugged condition, or is currently adjudged to be mentally incompetent.
For the above mentioned classifications, unlawful possession of a firearm is a Class C felony offense. However, this shall not apply to an antique firearm.
Possession, Manufacturing, Transporting, Repair, Sale of Certain Weapons
Under § 571.020 of the Missouri Revised Code, a person is guilty of committing a crime if he or she knowingly possesses, manufactures, transports, repairs or sells the following:
- An explosive weapon;
- Either an explosive, or an incendiary, or a poison substance or material with the intention of manufacturing or selling an explosive weapon;
- A gas gun;
- Any bullet or projectile that explodes or detonates on impact due to an independent explosive charge;
- The below items are a violation of federal law:
- A machine gun;
- Any short-barreled rifle or shotgun;
- A silencer for a firearm; or
- A switchblade knife.
A crime under this section is considered a Class C felony offense, with the exception of (4) or (5) of this subsection which is a Class A misdemeanor offense.
For Class C felony offenses, the penalties involve a prison term not to exceed 7 years and a maximum fine of $5,000. For Class A misdemeanor offenses, the individual faces a maximum jail term of one year, and a maximum fine of $1,000.
Concealed Weapons & Open Carry
Missouri Statue 571.121 states that any person who is issued a concealed carry endorsement shall carry the endorsement with them at all times they are carrying the concealed firearm. They shall display the concealed carry endorsement when requested by a peace officer. While failure to comply with this section is not a criminal offense, the holder will be issued a citation and fined up to $35.00.
The state of Missouri does allow for open carry of firearms for individuals aged 18 and older. However, cities, municipalities, and city ordinances are allowed to pass their own laws restricting this; therefore, before openly carrying a weapon it's a good idea to check with local laws and ordinances.
Missouri's gun laws may seem complex, and unfortunately it's not difficult to break the law when you weren't aware that you were even committing a crime. Certain weapons offenses are classified as felony offenses and can land you in prison for up to 7 years; therefore, it's important to protect your legal rights whenever you've been charged with such crimes because you don't want your rights or your freedom to be threatened due to a weapons violation.
At The Sumner Law Group, we are well-versed in local state and federal gun laws, and we are fully prepared to fight on your behalf. We understand the predicament you are in and will work tirelessly towards reducing if not eliminating the penalties that you are currently facing.