Getting a permit to carry a concealed firearm in Missouri is a pretty straightforward process.
Applicants have to complete a gun safety training class and pass a criminal background check performed by the local sheriff. With a clean record and no history of mental illness, a permit must be issued.
But a bill sitting on Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk would make that system moot for many Missourians by eliminating the requirement to get a permit to legally walk around in public with concealed guns. The penalty for carrying a firearm into buildings where it is not allowed would be reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor.
The wide-ranging legislation, which was approved by Missouri lawmakers in the final hours of the 2016 legislative session, would also implement a so-called stand your ground law that says people no longer have a duty to try to retreat before using lethal force if they think their life is in danger.
It would also expand the castle doctrine to permit invited guests in a home to use deadly force on intruders. And for those who still want to get a concealed-carry permit, the bill creates a lifetime version that never expires.
Nixon, a Democrat, has until mid-July to decide what to do with the bill, which passed both the Missouri House and Senate with large enough majorities to override a veto.
The legislation has drawn the scorn of gun-control advocates, who predict it will lead to more gun violence, especially in urban centers like Kansas City and St. Louis.