|This week the Missouri bishops issued a statement regarding SB 656, a bill that would allow Missouri citizens to conceal and carry without a permit or training. Missouri’s concealed carry law currently requires at least eight hours of formal training. This training must include instruction in the loading, cleaning, storing, and
discharging of firearms, as well as instruction in when it is lawful and appropriate to use lethal force.
SB 656 decriminalizes the carrying of concealed weapons without a permit, thereby opening the door for Missouri citizens to lawfully conceal carry without undergoing any training, or taking the other steps necessary to obtain a permit. Governor Nixon vetoed this bill earlier this summer, but legislators are planning to override the veto in August. In the statement, the bishops expressed their concerns about the bill:
“Amending our current statutes to allow concealed carry without a permit is a move in the wrong direction, and we believe it would be detrimental to public safety and the common good. We feel compelled to oppose this change to Missouri’s concealed carry statute. We are not persuaded that this change will make us safer, or that it is in any way necessary. On the contrary, we think that doing away with the training requirement would undermine public safety and potentially put law enforcement at risk.”
The bishops encouraged legislators to stop the veto override to prevent this bill from becoming law. The statement has received positive responses, including one from Chief Sam Dotson of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. Read the full statment on our website.