by Dave Workman
Missouri citizens will have to wait until next year to learn whether the states new concealed carry statute will be allowed to stand.
The Missouri Supreme Court announced that it will hear oral arguments Jan. 22 in a case challenging the constitutionality of the new law, which was passed by the Legislature in September, overriding a veto by Gov. Bob Holden. An injunction was issued by St. Louis Circuit Judge Steve Ohmer, who ruled that the state Constitution prevents concealed carry legislation because of the wording of the states right to bear arms provision, which recognizes the right, but stipulates that it does not justify the carrying of concealed weapons.
Attorney General Jay Nixon had wanted the state high court to hear arguments Dec. 3, but plaintiffs in the case said they needed more time to prepare, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Nixon is defending the law. He is so far arguing that the constitutional prohibition against concealed weapons should not be considered absolute. Instead, he maintains that the constitution allows the Legislature to determine whether to allow the carrying of concealed firearms.
The law was to have originally taken effect Oct. 11. It was opposed by most Democrats, but some Democrats turned their backs on Holden and voted for the bill.
The override was close, with a deciding vote being cast by state Sen. Jon Dolan (R-Lake St. Louis), who had returned from military duty in Cuba just in time for the vote. Anti-self-defense activists cried foul, insisting that Dolan could not legally return from duty just to cast his vote.
The CCW override was one of three bitter defeats for the anti-gun Holden. He also lost on his veto of legislation that prevents frivolous lawsuits against the gun industry, and on a bill that mandated a 24-hour waiting period on abortions.
Anti-gunners wailed over passage of the legislation, contending that it would lead to gunfights in the streets and an increased number of child gun fatalities. Those predictions have followed concealed carry debates in other states, and consistently have been proven false with the passage of time, according to gun rights proponents.
Under the law, if it is affirmed by the Supreme Court, law-abiding Missouri residents over age 23 could pay $100 and go through a training program to obtain a concealed pistol license.
According to the courts schedule, written arguments must be submitted by Jan. 20.