November 13, 2003

‘Permanent’ Court Injunction Halts Conceal and Carry Permits

It will take action by the Missouri Supreme Court to finalize the new law to allow law-abiding citizens of the state to receive permits to carry concealed weapons.

On Friday, November 7, Judge Steven Ohmer of the 22 Judicial Circuit in St. Louis made his temporary injunction of the newly passed law, permanent, stating the bill was in violation of the Missouri Constitution.

The judge’s decision cited Article 1, Section 23 of the state constitution, which discussed the right to bear arms but states that right “shall not justify the wearing of concealed weapons.”

The law was set to go into effect October 11 before Judge Ohmer issued his temporary injunction the day before. The Missouri State legislature garnered enough votes to override a veto of the bill by Governor Bob Holden.

“The court took the appropriate action today by preventing this ill-conceived law which the legislature passed over my veto and despite the will of the people, from taking effect,” Governor Holden said following the announcement of the ruling. “Today’s ruling will help protect the people of this state who voted against conceal and carry in 1999.”

The governor referred to the original demise of Proposition B, which lost by a popular vote of 52 percent, thanks in large part to the urban vote. The right to carry law passed in all but two counties in the state and in St. Louis.

Scotland County Sheriff Wayne Winn stated the decision has not had a significant impact on local citizens. He said his office had received half a dozen inquiries regarding the process prior to the October 11 starting date but after the temporary injunction was announced he has not had any further inquiries.

Winn said Adair County was not as fortunate as the sheriff’s department in the neighboring county to the southwest had spent more than $3,000 for a computer system and training to handle permit sales. Currently the department has no possibility of recovering that expense unless the $100 conceal and carry permits do inevitably go on sale.

Sheriff Winn said even with the $100 price tag, the sheriff’s department must split the money with the state and then spend approximately $38 on performing the required background checks including finger print checks.

That’s still a far cry from the $250,000 price tag backers of the injunction have on the line. The opponents of the conceal and carry law placed the quarter million dollar bond to secure the injunction to cover expenses of the delay of the law if it ultimately is found to be constitutional.

The law would have allowed citizens over the age of 23 with the required background checks and completion of training course on firearms, to secure and maintain a permit to carry a concealed weapon. The $100 fee would have covered three years with a $50 renewal fee after that period had expired.

Winn reminded citizens, that if the Supreme Court does over rule the injunction, businesses and property owners have the right to prohibit concealed weapons on their property. A similar sign has already been posted at the entrance of the Scotland County Courthouse.

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