In self-defense trials, prosecutors and judges instruct the jury to consider whether the defendant might have had the opportunity to retreat rather than use lethal force against the attacker. This is referred to as “duty to retreat”. The so-called Castle Doctrine asserts that there should be no duty to retreat from our own homes and our own vehicles to avoid using lethal force against an attacker. A Castle Doctrine law was adopted in Missouri a few years ago.
This bill would amend RSMO 563.031 to expand Castle Doctrine beyond the dwelling itself to include the private property owned by or leased by the individual acting in self-defense.
This bill also amends RSMO 571.101 to reduce the minimum age required to apply for a concealed weapon endorsement (CCW) from 23 to 21, and to allow a processing fee of up to $10 for change-of-address notification.
The bill also amends RSMO 571.070 to allow convicted felons to possess antique firearms.
Last year, a bill containing similar provisions, HB668 of 2009, passed in the House, but failed to receive a vote in the Senate. It contained other provisions, including state-wide open carry and the possibility of allowing CCW at higher education institutions. The latter provision was substantially mis-characterized by the media and became quite controversial. The result was that none of it passed.
I eagerly support this bill.
Update: On March 30, this bill was amended and ordered “perfected and printed” in the House. Now the perfected version is online, I need to revise this analysis for the following amendments:
House Amendment No. 1 allows legislators with a CCW endorsement to carry in the state capitol building.
House Amendment No. 2 prevents someone from receiving a suspended imposition of sentence unlawful use of weapons more than one time.
House Amendment No. 3 makes it a crime to possess a firearm while in possession of controlled substances (illegal drugs).
House Amendment No. 4 relaxes the prohibition of possession of a firearm while intoxicated to only apply when the firearm is used in an “negligent or unlawful manner”.
On principle, I have somewhat of an issue with HA3, but I will write about that later when I write about comments recently made by St. Louis Mayer Slay. Overall, I don’t have strong feelings about any of the amendments, and I still support this bill.
Update: On April 8, this bill passed the Missouri House of Representatives (Ayes: 128, Noes: 23). I presume that this bill now goes to the Senate.
Update: On May 4, this bill came out of Senate committee with a recommendation of “do pass”. Unfortunately, the bill did not receive a floor vote before the end of the session. However, a couple of these provisions were included in HB1692 which did pass, and will become law.