If you’ve followed local news, you might have seen that there has been an increase in shootings while driving. This has not been unique to Missouri however. Across the country, there have been a significant uptick in these incidents – Atlanta alone has registered over 45 shootings on their roadways with 15+ fatalities. Before anyone panics, it is important to note that these have primarily been linked to either road rage or personal tiffs.
How does this impact you? The increase in gun-related vehicular crime means that officers will be even more vigilant about looking for, and enforcing, the rules governing guns in vehicles. To make sure that everyone understands what they can and cannot do, we decided to put together a quick cheat sheet:
Let’s get this out of the way immediately: Missouri state laws are very clear that you CANNOT mix firearms and intoxicating substances. Period. You should not be drinking or drugging and then driving anyway – but drinking/drugging and being in possession of a firearm is JUST AS DANGEROUS and JUST AS ILLEGAL. I have personally seen many bad things happen as a result of being intoxicated and in possession of a firearm.
Missouri state law allows open carrying of firearms. It is important to note that according to Mo. Rev. Stat. § 21.750.3(2)(a) local ordinances coming from a county, city, town, or municipality may regulate the “open carrying of firearms readily capable of lethal use,” but may not restrict a person in possession of a valid concealed carry permit who is open carrying a firearm, or the use of a firearm in the defense of person or property. We will come back to this concept of “defense of person or property” in a bit.
Carry a concealed firearm in a company vehicle if your employer prohibits employees or other persons from doing so. Since it could create big problems for you if the concealed carry is listed in a police report, is seen by someone, or if it otherwise becomes an issue, it is best to check your company policies and ask your HR department for clarification if you are at-all unclear.
Purchase a rifle, shotgun, or handgun without a permit to purchase, registering the weapon, licensing, or a permit to carry. This means that if you are pulled over, you will not have to worry about demonstrating proper licensing, registration, or permissions to carry. Open carry is generally legal in Missouri, but cities and local governments have the right to limit to an extent.
Additionally, no permit is necessary to carry a concealed handgun if the person is at least 19 years of age, or eighteen and a member of the US Armed Forces, or honorably discharged.
Meanwhile, you do not need a permit to carry your firearm in your vehicle while in Missouri. Concealing a firearm on your person while in a vehicle is okay, as long as you do not step outside of the car while concealing it.
Transport a loaded gun, especially where it would be accessible to you while driving. You also cannot brandish or present any weapon “readily capable of lethal use in an angry or threatening manner.” This means you cannot wave a gun at someone in a threatening manner, point your gun at someone, or perform menacing actions with it. This is an especially bad idea because doing so could be perceived as a life threatening event, and if they took an action (like shooting you) it could get you wrapped up in a complicated case of figuring out if they were acting in self-defense.
Possess a concealable firearm in your vehicle as long as it is:
- Not readily accessible
- Transported in a nonfunctioning state; or
- Unloaded and the ammunition is not readily accessible
If you have questions around what you can and cannot do with a firearm in Missouri, please do not hesitate to reach out to the highly experienced team at Liberty Trial Law Group for answers.