Dear Governor Nixon,
As the representative of over 6,400 law enforcement officers across the state of Missouri, I am imploring you to veto SB656.
We are staunch supporters of the 2nd amendment. We feel, however, that the enactment of SB 656 – specifically, the allowance of giving anyone not currently prohibited from possessing a firearm the ability to carry a concealed firearm without a permit – will cost not only citizen lives, but will also be extremely dangerous to law enforcement officers.
We support the right for citizens to carry concealed weapons – those who have had the training and education, mandated by state law, and comply with all of the requirements necessary to secure a concealed carry permit. SB 656 would allow anyone not currently prohibited by state or federal law to possess a firearm, to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.
This is an extreme concern to us across Missouri, but particularly so in the urban areas of our state. We have a severe gun violence problem in St. Louis and Kansas City. Enactment of SB 656 will allow any non-felony convicted person (which includes suspended imposition of sentence verdicts) to carry concealed weapons with impunity.
You will hear arguments that “criminals will carry guns, regardless of laws.” I agree with that. However, we can currently charge those who we arrest with violation of the current statute. We do that and the courts convict them. If SB656 becomes law, we can no longer take guns out of the hands of violent persons. Gun violence will increase.
Please show your support to the citizens of Missouri and Missouri law enforcement officers by vetoing SB 656.
Kevin Ahlbrand is president of the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police and a sergeant in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.