Carrying a concealed weapon
By Jeff Goldfarb
Recently, the Missouri Senate endorsed a bill to nullify federal gun laws. While more symbolic than anything, it does raise a question about how to legally carry a gun in Missouri.
Missouri allows for citizens to carry a concealed weapon provided they obtain the proper permit. But, what if you do not have the carry concealed permit and you wish to transport a gun for a legitimate reason? Some time ago I had a client charged with carrying a concealed weapon as he had a gun locked in a gun case in his trunk. Since the gun was "concealed" and the client did not have a permit, the officer thought it was illegal. More bizarre, a local prosecutor agreed and filed the charge. Obviously, the case was ultimately dismissed but not before the client had to get a lawyer and attend a number of court dates. Thus, the question remains - how do you legally transport a weapon in your car in Missouri if you do not possess a carry concealed permit?
The simple answer would be to leave the weapon in plain view on the seat next to you so it is not concealed, therein complying with the law. However, doing so invites theft, not to mention a very bad situation should you be stopped for a traffic offense.
Fortunately, the Missouri State Highway Patrol provides guidance in this area. An article on their website explains the Missouri Concealed Weapons law and how it relates to a weapon in your car. Put simply, provided you are over 21 and are legally allowed to possess a gun, you may conceal a gun in the passenger compartment of your car without the need for a conceal carry permit. The article further details what to do should you have the weapon in your car and are stopped by law enforcement. Specifically, you are advised not to attempt to retrieve the weapon and you should notify the officer that you have it upon initial contact.
The article does an excellent job of explaining certain locations where it is improper to go with a gun in your car and further explains how to obtain a carry concealed permit. As I get asked what to do with a gun on a regular basis, I would urge anyone with questions to read the Highway Patrol's article.
In addition to defending the rights of the accused on a daily basis, Jeff is often a guest lecturer at Washington University in St. Louis. Jeff is one of a select group of lawyers chosen to be a lead panel attorney for the United States District Court in St. Louis and has served as an arbitration judge for the Better Business Bureau as well as a municipal court judge.