Though some gun laws are federal, thus apply in every state, many are state-specific. Missouri's laws have changed as recently as 2013 when the governor signed a law allowing Missouri state employees to keep firearms in state vehicles and on state property and fire chiefs to carry concealed weapons. Generally, Missouri does not require special permits to purchase or own a firearm, though Missourians must have a permit to carry handguns.
Missouri allows adults who are not otherwise disqualified to purchase any legal firearm without a permit. This includes rifles, shotguns and handguns. However, federal law requires purchasers to pass a background check prior to purchasing a weapon. This background check utilizes information in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System which is maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Though some private purchases are exempt from these requirements, professional gun dealers typically must run such background checks before allowing Missourians to purchase firearms.
Missouri has no permit requirements for its citizens to possess an otherwise legal firearm, so there are no special requirements Missourians must meet after purchasing a weapon. However, some weapons are prohibited by federal law, including machine guns and rifles or shotguns that do not meet certain length requirements.
It is illegal in Missouri to possess a firearm while intoxicated, even if the weapon is unloaded. For example, a hunter in possession of his hunting rifle while intoxicated could be convicted of a misdemeanor if the gun is unloaded or a felony if it is loaded.
Federal laws disqualify certain persons from purchasing, owning and possessing firearms, and these laws apply in Missouri as well as all other states. For example, individuals who have felony or domestic assault convictions cannot buy firearms. Domestic assault convictions that were changed to another offense that involves an element of violence are also disqualifying. When Missourians purchase a weapon, they must answer questions on a federal background investigation form that identify disqualifying circumstances.
Concealed Carry Permits
While Missourians can purchase handguns and other firearms without a special permit, they cannot carry firearms in a concealed manner without a concealed carry permit. In Missouri, this permit is a special endorsement on the holder's driver's license. Local sheriffs issue these permits. Applicants must meet certain qualifications, such as being at least 21 years old, U.S. citizens and residents of Missouri or members of the military. Applicants must also attend concealed carry safety training.
Read More: Which States Allow You to Carry a Gun With a Concealed Weapon Permit?
- National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action: Missouri
- Newsmax: Missouri Governor Vetoes One Gun Bill, Signs Another
- Vermont Criminal Information Center: National Instant Check System (NICS)
- Federal Bureau of Investigation: National Instant Criminal Background Check System: Participation Map
- Missouri General Assembly: Missouri Revised Statutes: Section 571.101
Heather Frances has been writing professionally since 2005. Her work has been published in law reviews, local newspapers and online. Frances holds a Bachelor of Arts in social studies education from the University of Wyoming and a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School.