February 27, 2003

Munzlinger's "Right To Carry" Bill Gets Through Committee

State Representative Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, introduced HB 328 along with three colleagues whose bills were combined into HCS/HB 349 to give citizens the right to carry a firearm. The substitute was heard February 18 and passed out of the Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee this morning.

"I believe the Second Amendment guarantees this right and 33 other states have already passed it. There is no reason Missouri citizens should not be given this basic constitutional right," stated Munzlinger.

House Committee Substitute for House Bill 349, known as "The Right to Carry" bill, will give law-abiding citizens the right to protect and defend themselves. A background check and firearms safety training will be required in order to get a permit. The permit fee will be $100 the first time and $50 to renew.

Munzlinger added, "Although there are a few things such as the fee that I don't like, overall it is a bill that we can get passed."

Current law prevents law-abiding citizens in Missouri from carrying a concealed weapon. A very different right-to-carry measure was defeated with 52% of the vote by statewide voters in 1999. Seven counties voted overwhelmingly against the measure while the rural areas of the state overwhelmingly passed it.

When asked if he thought it would pass, Munzlinger said, "I am fairly certain it will pass through the House and probably the Senate. The most likely roadblock will be having Governor Holden sign it. He has stated in the past he will veto any right-to-carry legislation and we will be working on an override attempt."

Supporters of right-to-carry emphasize that a key reason to support this legislation is to give individuals in rural areas the chance to protect themselves, particularly where meth use has become a real problem. Our sheriffs and local police departments do not have the budget to cover their large rural counties and we have to rely on ourselves for protection. We shouldn't have to break the law to protect our families," concluded Munzlinger.

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