The Battle To Save License To Carry
If you live in Missouri, you probably know that a permanent injunction was imposed against the License-To-Carry Law which kept it from going into effect.
What you may not know is how our Defense of the License-To-Carry Law got started.
Just before the lawsuit was filed, I caught wind of the plaintiffs' plan and immediately consulted with a number of knowledgable pro-LTC individuals and attorneys. Based on their input, I personally retained a solid team of lawyers and contacted a willing party who would intervene in the case on our behalf. With only hours to go, our Legal Team got right to work. When the suit was filed, we were ready and waiting, and filed our motion to intervene. From the beginning, we were working and fighting alongside the AG's attorneys (and shortly thereafter, NRA attorneys, too) in a coordinated Defense of the License-To-Carry Law.
Follow our legal battle "as it happened" in the Timeline of Events.
Although the plaintiffs included a number of challenges in their original petition, the judge soon dismissed all claims save one: that the License-To-Carry Law violated Article I, Section 23 of the Missouri Constitution*. The plaintiffs argued for an interpretation of Article I, Section 23 that includes a complete prohibition of concealed carry (and thus, the Legislature had no authority to regulate it).
But this shall not justify...
Despite arguments and evidence to the contrary -- which included the clear meaning of Article I, Section 23, the historical reason for its additional language (which was to give the Legislature the power to regulate concealed carry!), previous and existing law in which the Legislature had already regulated the banning and allowances of concealed carry, earlier court decisions which upheld the Legislature's authority to regulate concealed carry, the similar language of other states' constitutions whose legislatures regulate concealed carry -- and despite that the plaintiffs presented no evidence but are required to meet an extremely heavy burden of proof for this type of case, St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Steven R. Ohmer agreed with the plaintiffs and granted the permanent injunction to block implementation of the new law (a decision which would have ramifications far beyond that action alone, if it were allowed to stand).
Our side immediately appealed. The opposition cross-appealed. In the cross appeal, a number of the claims struck down by Judge Ohmer were again addressed by the opposition -- the primary claim being that the LTC Law was in violation of the Hancock Amendment.
The Missouri Supreme Court heard the case January 22, 2004. On February 26, 2004, they issued their ruling. After a long and hard battle through the Courts, we won! Although there were some issues with Hancock (to be remedied by the Legislature soon), all other claims were denied, and the injunction was dissolved. (Opinion Analysis to be posted separately.) Especially satisfying: The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the License-To-Carry Law is clearly NOT in violation of Article I, Section 23.
Battles are not won without cost...
The License-To-Carry Legal Defense Fund, established to cover the legal fees incurred during our Defense of the License-To-Carry Law, has been highly effective in providing necessary funds during the battle. Thanks to that ongoing support of the pro-LTC community, the Victory was ours! But we're not quite finished, donations are still needed to pay the remainder of the legal fees. Continued support is therefore critical -- our Legal Defense Team was called to battle on extremely short notice, provided exceptional legal services, and delivered a great victory! Please continue to donate to help retire the fees still owed to our Legal Team.