New law Jan. 1, 2017: No permit necessary for concealed carry in Missouri
In Missouri, anyone able to own a gun legally is able to open carry. Through Dec. 31, 2016, you have to have a permit in order to carry a concealed firearm. However, starting Jan. 1, 2017, you don't have to have a permit in order to conceal your weapon.
Keep in mind, there are still some places where if you do NOT have a permit, you can NOT pack heat.
"Conceal carry permit will allow you a little bit more places, a little more jurisdiction," says Grant Seiner, manager at Eagle Armory in north Springfield.
Those with a Missouri CCW permit are also able to legally carry a concealed weapon in several surrounding states.
Some gun owners are glad they will no longer have to pay a fee and wait for a permit in order to conceal. Some sheriff's offices still have a backlog of CCW applications.
Some police departments say the so-called "Constitutional Carry" law puts the public and officers in more danger.
In 2015, Missouri sheriffs denied nearly 2,000 people a permit to conceal, based on run-ins with the law such as a history of domestic violence.
If caught with a concealed gun without a permit, it used to be a felony,
but on January 1st, those previously denied permits can conceal carry anyway.
"The most dangerous aspect of this is there are criminals out there and people who have not been convicted of felonies or those people who failed a background check and sheriff did not give them a concealed carry permit, and I guarantee you every one of those folks will go out and get a gun now and be carrying it around," says Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams.
Former Missouri Representative Eric Burlison, who sponsored the bill and the effort to override the governor's veto of the law, says it makes sense to let people conceal if they can already carry openly.
"The same right you have to carry on the outside of your jacket or pocket, we want to extend that right to be able to carry on the inside of your jacket or pocket," said Burlison.
Earlier this year, 86% of Missouri voters in a poll said they supported permits and mandatory training, but although they are no-longer required, training and practice are still recommended.
"We want to make sure everyone is actually responsible enough to carry a firearm, they know what they're doing, they know the safety and legal sides of it, when it's appropriate to carry when not is just as important as carrying it," says Seiner.
The law which changed the open carry rules also modified the "stand your ground" law. Those changes took effect in October.