JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — In one of its last actions of session, the House gave final passage to SB 656, an omnibus firearms bill that included the controversial stand your ground law and an expansion of the castle doctrine to include specified guests.
The legislation passed an earlier, brief filibuster in the Senate before passing 24-8 along party lines. The legislation started as a bill to expand concealed carry rights.
Opponents of the “stand your ground” provision have said it would bring more violence, rather than acting as a self defense principal.
“To me, this is modern day lynching,” said Rep. Kimberly Gardner, D-St. Louis. “We need to put things in place that protect citizens, not increase violence against our fellow man.”
“’Stand your ground’ is not about self defense. It is not about self defense,” said Rep. Michael Butler, D-St. Louis. “It is about a remedy during a court case about those who use the most heinous weapons in our society to use deadly force, to murder, to allow those to commit the most heinous crimes to go free.”
Outside of the Capitol, groups were also decrying the stand your ground provision.
“We are disappointed to see some of our lawmakers side with special interests over the wishes of a majority of Missourians and pass a bill that puts public safety at risk,” said Becky Morgan, a volunteer with the anti-gun violence group Moms Demand. “This bill would dismantle our current law and make it easier for dangerous people to carry hidden, loaded handguns in public while also turning everyday conflicts into deadly encounters by emboldening people to shoot rather than resolving disagreements in another way. We strongly urge our Governor to veto this dangerous legislation—the safety of our communities depends on it.”
While the “stand your ground” provision drew a lot of ire, many of the legislation’s supporters focused attention on what they said were a lot of common sense provisions, including the expansion of the castle doctrine.
Both Rep. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, and Rep. Joe Don McGaugh, R-Carrollton, said expanding the castle doctrine would allow them peace of mind to know that their children could be protected in their own home while they were on the campaign trail or in Jefferson City.
McGaugh said he supported expanding the castle doctrine, “so my father in law, when I’m in Jefferson City, can protect my children. If you’re saying it’s about fear when I want to protect my children, then so be it.”
Other representatives celebrated the expansion of the concealed carry laws. Rep. Warren Love, R-Osceola, said he often carries a firearm while working on his ranch. If it starts to rain and he puts on a raincoat, he doesn’t want to be committing a felony.
“I believe in our constitution and individual rights,” said the legislation’s sponsor, Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield. “What we do to citizens who want to protect themselves, we make them pay heavy fees. … If you want poor people to be defenseless, vote no. If you want more law-abiding victims to be victims in a barrell, vote no.”
The concealed carry portions of the law includes a cap the fee for a five-year concealed carry permit at $100. It also allows Missouri citizens to get 10-year, 25-year and lifetime permits at a cost of $200, $250 and $500, respectively.
“This is an important change that will strengthen the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Missourians. I want to thank my colleagues in both chambers for their support and for working together to ensure citizens can exercise their constitutional right to carry,” Burlison said later in a statement.
The House truly agreed and finally passed the legislation 114-36.