July 6, 2011 Leave a comment
Legislation dropping the minimum age to procure a conceal and carry permit is awaiting Gov. Jay Nixon’s signature.
Under current law, Missourians who are 23 and older can receive a conceal and carry permit. Rep. Jeanie Riddle’s legislation—which passed on the last day of the General Assembly’s session—would lower that minimum age to 21.
According to a summary of the bill, Riddle’s legislation would also:
– Prohibit sales tax on any firearms or ammunition from being levied at a higher rate than sales tax or other excise tax charged on sporting goods, equipment or hunting equipment.
– Not preclude a member of the General Assembly, a full-time or legislative employee of the General Assembly or statewide elected officials and their employees who hold a valid concealed carry permit from carrying a concealed firearm in the State Capitol Building.
– Specify that a non-driver’s license containing a concealed carry endorsement will expire three years from the date it was issued.
The legislation got an affirmative vote from Rep. Marsha Haefner, R-Oakville. In her latest Capitol Report, Haefner wrote the legislature has “taken steps to protect and advance our 2nd Amendment rights.”
“Missouri is currently the only state that requires someone to be 23 before they are able to obtain a conceal and carry permit,” Haefner wrote. “This bill reduces that age requirement to 21 in order to be in step with states around us.”
Haefner also wrote that the bill “also restricts the ability to raise the price of ammunition through a higher sales tax in order to make the purchase of ammunition difficult and reduce sales.”
“As well, this bill reduces the red tape involved in the purchase of firearms out of state, alleviating unnecessary costs,” Haefner added.
According to a recording of House debate from MissouriNet, Riddle, R-Mokane, called the current minimum age to get a permit an “arbitrary and unnecessary high-age restriction.” She said lowering the minimum age to 21 would “recognize thousands of lawful Missouri citizens’ inherent ability to protect themselves and others with a firearm.”
In that same recording, Rep. Tishaura Jones, D-St. Louis City, said she didn’t disagree with the right to bear arms for “people who are using [firearms] for the right reasons.” But she said there are sometimes “unintended consequences” to relaxing gun laws.
“While I’m empathic with [Riddle]’s intent for this bill, again I am reminded every day when I look in the paper… that innocent lives are being lost because young people have easier access to guns,” Jones said. “And some will say to me and I know—guns don’t kill people, people kill people … But I think we have to err on the side of caution.”
“Again, I have no problem if you’re being responsible with it,” Jones added. “But the unintended consequence happens in the urban areas when young people—for lack of education, for lack of access to jobs, for lack of access of basic things to do —turn to violence.”
The bill will need to be signed by the governor to go into effect. As of press time, Nixon has taken no action on Riddle’s legislation.