As of the new year, Missouri citizens are no longer required to obtain their concealed carry license to be armed in public. While the law, known as constitutional carry, does not extend beyond the state’s borders, there won’t be any restrictions for citizens who wish to purchase and carry a gun. Here's what Rolla Police Chief Sean Fagan has to say . . .

As of the new year, Missouri citizens are no longer required to obtain their concealed carry license to be armed in public. While the law, known as constitutional carry, does not extend beyond the state’s borders, there won’t be any restrictions for citizens who wish to purchase and carry a gun.

Chief Sean Fagan of the Rolla Police department shared mixed feelings about the law on behalf of the local police force.

“I’m for the law, personally,” said the chief. “I think citizens should be allowed to carry weapons as long as they carry them legally. But I do think that some sort of education should be required.” When applying for a concealed carry license, individuals were required to complete a certain amount of training. The way the current law reads, individuals who wish to purchase a gun are not required to receive any training to start carrying one.

“And that’s where it gets a little scary,” he said. “As law enforcement, we’re concerned about  accidents.” Public safety officers aren’t worried about people using guns illegally, but not using them properly. Chief Fagan said even guns that are well maintained and used in the correct fashion suffer misfires occasionally, and someone using a firearm without the proper training only escalates that risk.

The new law also differs from the previous concealed carry method by not requiring weapons to be concealed in public. Citizens may start seeing open holsters when shopping or walking around town. If someone sees a weapon and believes the carrier might pose a risk, they are welcome to call the police station. However Chief Fagan stressed “this is the law now, and we have to work within it.” He said the dispatcher will ask if the carrier is acting in a dangerous manner but will otherwise not be able to do anything, as that citizen is now within their rights. However, just as businesses were able to deny concealed weapons previously, they are still able to deny any open weapons on their premise. They only need to post a sign letting citizens know firearms are not allowed.

Police officers will now start asking citizens if they are armed when being pulled over or otherwise stopped. Chief Fagan said this is simply for the safety of both parties, to avoid any potential accidents, and citizens should not be alarmed when being asked. He repeatedly stressed the need for firearm education. “Any firing range should have an expert able to give someone basic firearm training.”

Rolla experiences relatively few cases where guns become an issue, but Chief Fagan and the rest of the police force are keeping their eyes open moving forward into the new year. Citizens are encouraged not to be alarmed when seeing firearms openly carried, and to educate themselves about firearm safety.