Missouri state troopers are told to approach every vehicle they stop as if its driver has a loaded weapon. That training will be even more important, says the Kansas City Star, because of a new state law allowing people to carry loaded, concealed handguns in vehicles even if they do not have a conceal-carry permit. “It does raise a lot of concerns because we know there’s going to be a lot more weapons in vehicles,” said Capt. Chris Ricks, a parol spokesman.
The law grants conceal-carry permits to anyone 23 or older who meets the qualifications and who goes through training. It allows anyone 21 or older to conceal a “lawfully possessed” weapon in their vehicle regardless of whether they have a permit. Previous law allowed people to carry loaded handguns in their vehicles if the weapons were in plain view.
“If you’ve got a loaded gun in that car under the seat, the first thing you should do is tell that officer and keep your hands on the steering wheel where he can see them, Ricks said. “If you reach under the seat innocently and pull out your gun and say, `Hey, look at my gun,’ you’re going to have a Glock sticking in your ear.”
Unlike concealed-weapons laws in some other states, Missouri’s has no requirement that citizens alert police officers to the fact that they are carrying a concealed handgun in their vehicles.
Gun rights advocates like Rep. Larry Crawford, a Centertown Republican, say criminals carry concealed handguns in their vehicles already. The law affords law-abiding citizens the same right, he said.