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Mo. Senate backs bill lowering concealed gun age

The Missouri State Capitol building in Jefferson City, Mo.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)
The Missouri State Capitol building in Jefferson City, Mo.

The Missouri Senatehas passed legislation that would lower the age for getting a concealed firearm permit from 23 to 21.

The conceal-carry language was added onto a larger firearms regulation bill.  The bill's Senate handler, Brian Munzlinger(R, Williamstown) says lowering the concealed permit age to 21 would bring Missouri into line with most other states.

“It just provides a way for our legal, law abiding citizens (to) protect themselves from criminals who don’t obey the laws,” Munzlinger said.

The bill passed 27 to 6, mostly along party lines.  All six “no” votes came from urban and suburban Democrats from St. Louis and Kansas City.  Joseph Keaveny(D, St. Louis) is concerned that lowering the concealed permit age could result in more gun violence.

“(The bill's supporters) make the justification that we send our kids to war at 18 and all of that, but you know, those kids go through years of training," Keaveny said.  "Some of these kids that are in some of my neighborhoods don’t have the discipline and the family values that we instill in these guys before we send them to war.”

The bill now goes to the Missouri House, with just two days left in this year’s session. If it passes there, it will go to Governor Jay Nixonfor his signature or veto.   

Missouri’s concealed carry law first took effect in 2003 when the General Assembly overrode former Governor Bob Holden’sveto. 

The National Rifle Association says Missouri's age restriction is the highest among states that allow concealed gun permits.

This year's bill also would allow state officials and their staff to carry concealed guns in the Capitol if they have permits.

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.