Last month, we held a webinar with Missouri lawyer and gun rights advocate Kevin Jamison, where we discussed firearms laws in Missouri. A frequent topic of discussion was the difference between open carry and concealed carry rights.
To summarize Missouri’s carry laws, you can carry openly in Missouri, while you must obtain a license to legally carry a concealed weapon. However, this only applies to public spaces, and you are allowed to concealed carry while on your own property, whether it’s your house, your yard, or your car, even without a concealed carry license.
There are six categories of places you cannot carry a firearm under federal and state law. If you enter a public place that has a sign on the door prohibiting weapons, concealed or otherwise, and are caught with your firearm, you may face criminal charges.
However, the likelihood that you will face severe penalties for this beyond a simple fine is extremely slim, especially if you have a concealed carry license. For this reason, it’s always best to have a license to carry if you intend to go anywhere with your weapon, but you should still be mindful of where you are bringing it to avoid any run-ins with the law.
While Missouri does allow open carry, it’s important to keep in mind that the way you exhibit the weapon can affect the legality of your carry. One of the ways we see people most often get arrested for open carry is when they exhibit the weapon in an angry or threatening manner.
If you threaten someone while holding a weapon, this is considered exhibiting, also known as brandishing. The application of this law can be subjective, but the aim is to not make other people uncomfortable while open carrying. Some people are uncomfortable simply by the existence of guns and gun owners, which can make this difficult, so obtaining a concealed carry license is probably the best way to protect yourself if you intend to bring your firearm into public spaces.
If someone feels threatened by your open carry of a firearm, we suggest filming the incident, apologizing, and attempting to calmly walk away from the situation. If you do end up being arrested for brandishing a weapon, contact our criminal defense lawyers immediately.