The Missouri legislature passed a bill lifting the permitting requirement for the concealed carry of firearms on Friday.
The bill passed in a 114 to 36 vote in the House and a 24-8 vote in the Senate, with Republicans generally supporting the measure and Democrats generally opposing it. The vote came on the last day of Missouri's legislative session and despite a last minute effort by gun control activists to pressure lawmakers against the move.
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Now Gov. Jay Nixon (D.) will decide whether or not to sign the measure into law.
The bill would allow any law-abiding adult who can legally posses a firearm to carry a firearm concealed on their person, without having to obtain any additional permit. It would also extend "castle doctrine" protections to house guests and remove requirements that somebody in a public place retreat before using deadly force to protect themselves from an attacker they reasonably believe is threatening their life.
Gun rights activists celebrated the move and called on the state's governor to sign the bill into law.
"With Governor Nixon’s signature, Missourians will have several options when it comes to protecting their families and homes," Lars Dalseide, an NRA spokesman, told the Washington Free Beacon. "Hopefully the governor won’t buckle when the Bloomberg gun control machine makes him decide between political capital and the safety of his constituents."
Gov. Nixon has not yet announced whether he will sign or veto the bill, but other Missouri Democrats have harshly criticized the legislation.
"Senate Bill 656 is embarrassing and dangerous," St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, a Democrat and member of Everytown for Gun Safety, said in a statement before the vote. "The Missouri Legislature has abandoned this state. It is more concerned about the endorsement of the NRA than the safety of its citizens."
If the governor does decide to veto the legislation and the original vote count holds, the legislature would be able to override his veto.
Update 9:02 A.M.: A spokesperson for Gov. Nixon told the Free Beacon that the bill will be delivered to the governor by the end of May and that the governor will have until mid-July to act on it.