As we reported previously in the U.S. Law Shield Newsletter, an expansive pro-gun bill was sitting on Governor Jay Nixon’s desk for his review. At the time of that earlier publication, there was no indication as to the direction the Governor was going to take. But over the ensuing few weeks it became more clear of the Governor’s disapproval of the measure.
It therefore came as no surprise that Governor Nixon has rejected Senate Bill 656 and vetoed the measure because, in his opinion, the proposed law was a “drastic departure” from current rules that would make the state less safe. You can read his reasoning in his veto message here.
The major piece of gun legislation the Governor refused to sign into law would have:
- eliminated the requirement to get a permit to legally walk around in public with concealed guns
- reduced the penalty for carrying a firearm into buildings where it is not allowed from a felony to a misdemeanor
- implemented a so-called stand your ground law that says people no longer have a duty to try to retreat before using lethal force if they think their life is in danger
- also expanded the castle doctrine to permit invited guests in a home to use deadly force on intruders
- created a lifetime version that never expires for those who still want to get a concealed-carry permit.
“But all is not lost for supporters of expanding gun rights in Missouri,” said U.S. Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Deborah Alessi.
“Under Article III, Section 32 of the state constitution, the Legislature reconvenes for ten days in September to consider any piece of legislation vetoed by the Governor,” she went on to say. “This year, the Legislature will go back into session on September 14 and will address Senate Bill 656.”
“It takes a two-thirds vote by the elected members of both the House and Senate to override the objections of the Governor,” explained Alessi. “In the case of Senate Bill 656, it would need 109 votes in the House and 23 votes in the Senate to pass.”
“When the measure was initially passed by the Legislature, it received 114 votes in the House and 24 votes in the Senate,” Alessi added. “So long as those numbers hold, there are more than enough votes to override the veto and enable Senate Bill 656 to become law.”
Republican lawmakers were quick to denounce the veto and pledged to attempt an override during the veto session in September.
“This is why the people of Missouri elected a super-majority of conservative supporters of the Second Amendment to the House and the Senate,” said House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff in an interview in The Missouri Times. “Senate Bill 656 is the first meaningful step forward on gun rights in over a decade; it passed both chambers with more than enough votes to override the governor’s veto. We have to await action by the Senate on a senate bill but, if given the opportunity, I anticipate the House having the votes to override.”
We will continue to monitor the process when the legislative veto session reconvenes in September.