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Government, Politics & Issues

House sends bill to governor lowering minimum concealed-carry age to 21

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 13, 2011 - The Missouri House approved a wide-ranging firearms bill this afternoon that, among other things, lowers the legal age for Missourians to carry concealed weapons to age 21, from the current 23.

The House vote was 125-25, a veto-proof majority.

The Senate already approved a version of the firearms bill, by a similar veto-proof margin, which now goes to the desk of Gov. Jay Nixon.

The bill also expands concealed-carry rights in the state Capitol, even allowing staff to carry weapons on the House floor; legislators already had that privilege.

The proposed law states: "Legislators, full time and legislative employees of the General Assembly, statewide elected officials and their employees may carry concealed firearms in the state capitol building, or at any meeting in the building, if they have a concealed carry endorsement."

The bill also bars local jurisdictions from levying fees or sales taxes on firearms that are higher than the jurisdiction's regular sales taxes on sporting goods.

The sponsor, stat Rep. Jeanie Riddle, R-Mokane, said the bill reflected Missourians' Second Amendment rights. She added that she was reluctantly accepting the Senate version, rather than her own initial proposal that lowered the minimum concealed-carry age to 18.

Opponents, who knew they were outnumbered, kept their rebuttals brief. Among other things, several said that the change could make the streets even more dangerous in some urban areas.

State Rep. Mary Still, D-Columbia, with a tinge of sarcasm, asked if the bill will allow people to carry guns into the Capitol's dome "now that we all have keys'' to take people on tours.

Riddle said the bill did allow that right.

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