From: Greg Jeffery
Date: Tue Jan 13, 2004 7:59 pm
Subject: PR Firm does "press release" to media in preparation for Court Hearing.
The following was sent out by the Schupp Company, Inc., 401 Pine St., St. Louis, MO, 63102.
phone: 314-421-5200; fax: 314-421-5554.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 9, 2004
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Mark Schupp 314-421-5200
Jeanne Kirkton 314-968-0124
Unintended Consequences of Conceal and Carry Law
Jeopardizes Safety of Communities
Missouri Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on January 22
The new Conceal and Carry law paves the way for
unintentional and grave consequences recently
unearthed by Kansas City, Missouri attorney Richard
Miller. Miller and St. Louis attorney Burt Newman,
will argue the Conceal and Carry law in front of the
Missouri Supreme Court on Thursday, January 22. The
final ruling of the state's highest court is likely to
be a landmark constitutional decision.
The way that the law was unknowingly written allows a
person to carry an exposed assault rifle into a
school, church, child care facility, or place of
employment and no one has the legal right to stop him
until he pulls the trigger.
"This new law destroys the safety of our schools,
churches, home, and communities," Miller says.
There are other disturbing consequences of the new
Conceal and Carry law:
* A gang member, claiming the need for self defense
because he fears attack from a rival gang, could bring
a weapon into high school without criminal
* Anyone, regardless of age and without training, can
carry a concealed firearm while traveling in a
continuous journey through the state.
* Intoxicated persons would be allowed to possess
firearms and use deadly force if they have a
"reasonable belief" deadly force is justified. How
does an intoxicated person form a "reasonable belief?"
* Anyone, regardless of age and without a permit or
training, can carry concealed weapons on school
premises if they claim to be transporting a student to
or from school.
People opposing the new Conceal and Carry law are
urged to contact their local and state elected
officials. For more information call 314-918-7918.
I have been asked to "debate" for five minutes the above accusations at 0840 tomorrow [Wednesday] on KMOX [1120 AM].
I am faxing my contact at the radio station the following response.
The PR you faxed me is just another example of how opponents to this bill incorrectly interpret the law as passed and how it already exists. Quite simply put, they are trying to scare the public.
As promised, what follows is a point-to-point response to their allegations.
Point 1 -- Their claim about gang members/schools is FALSE.
By mentioning "claiming the need for self defense" I presume the PR firm is trying to insinuate that the gang member could invoke Chapter 563 [justifiable use of force] carry "without criminal consequences."
This twisted interpretation of EXISTING Missouri law demonstrates opponents ignorance of the law and how it works or their willingness to twist it to try and frighten the public.
Chapter 563 cannot be used to PREVENT arrest and/or prosecution and/or conviction for an offense. A gang member committing the act described in the PR would be subject to arrest and/or prosecution. He/she could not invoke a "self defense" claim to prevent his arrest. Chapter 563 is EXISTING Missouri law and was NOT changed by passage of HB349.
Or maybe they are claiming the gang member got a permit to carry. IF the "gang member" were 23 years of age, passed an FBI fingerprint check, and passed the training requirment, AND if the gang member were unknown to the local sheriff [very unlikely], he/she MIGHT get a permit to carry... BUT... he/she would NOT be allowed to carry into a school without PRIOR approval from the school.
Similar laws exist in a majority of the states and there is no documented problem of licensed gang members. Plus... what is a 23 year old doing in high school?
Point Two -- continuous journey claim.
Opponents to the law are demonstrating their ignorance of EXISTING Missouri law. Chapter 571.030.3 states that persons "traveling in a continuous journey peacably through this state" may carry concealed firearms... as long as they can lawfully possess them [ie. over 21 yrs old, non-felon, etc...]. This provision of the law was NOT added by HB349 but has been EXISTING Missouri law for many decades without causing any impairment or injury to the safety of our communities and schools.
Point Three -- Intoxicated Possession claim.
PR's claim that the new law would give prior approval of possession of a firearm by an intoxicated person is FALSE.
Chapter 563, EXISTING Missouri law, does NOT allow the possession of a firearm by an intoxicated person. Missouri law before AND AFTER passage of HB349 still allows for any individual who possesses a firearm while intoxicated to be arrested and/or prosecuted and/or convicted for the offense. IF the intoxicated individual discharged a firearm in an act of self defense, the individual would have to claim self defense AFTER his/her arrest and/or prosecution IN COURT and convince a jury that his/her actions were justified.
Since every intoxicated person who may possess a firearm CAN still be arrested and/or prosecuted, the claim of an adverse impact to the safety of our communities is false.
Point Four -- Anyone can possess concealed gun on school grounds claim.
Again, PR firm is either totally ignorant of EXISTING Missouri law or wilfully misrepresenting the impact of HB349 on the existing law in an attempt to scare the public.
Current law as of today allows for anyone who can lawfully possess a concealable firearm to do so while "traversing school premises for this purposes of transporting a student to or from school" [Chapter 571.030.3]. This has been EXISTING Missouri law for many years. It is NOT new and has not been changed by HB349. It also has NOT been a problem.
Since this provision has also been in place for many years and was NOT changed by passage of HB349, the PR's claim of an adverse impact to the safety or our community and school is demonstrably false.
Legislative Chairman, Gateway Civil Liberties Alliance
Legislative Coordinator, Missourians for Personal Safety
Designated Part-time Spokesman, Western Missouri Shooters Alliance.