Residents of Missouri will no longer need to obtain a permit or pass a background check to carry a concealed gun in the state.
Overcoming a veto from Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, lawmakers in Missouri's Republican-controlled state house and senate reached a two-thirds majority to push through the new legislation, which also removes mandatory training requirements for gun owners who want to carry concealed weapons, Reuters reported.
Members of the Missouri house voted 112-41 in favor of the legislation, while state senators approved it by a margin of 24-6.
Missouri state Sen. Jason Holsman, a Kansas City Democrat, showed fellow lawmakers his own concealed carry permit while imploring them not to do away with training requirements for carrying concealed weapons.
“I don’t think it’s a burden to take an eight-hour course to understand the dos and the don’ts, the shoulds and the shouldn’ts, of carrying a loaded firearm,” Holsman said, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The vote garnered national attention and sparked the interest of lobby groups such as the National Rifle Association, which supported the measure, and New York-based Moms Demand Action, which opposed removing the permit requirement.
Lawmakers who supported the measure argued that it will make Missouri a safer state as more law-abiding citizens carry guns. Criminals, they said, carry guns regardless of whether they have permits or not, the Columbus Missourian reported.
State Sen. Kiki Curls, also a Kansas City Democrat, argued that allowing permitless concealed carry would negatively impact policing in the state, and lead to a more adversarial relationship between police and citizens.
"The institution of this law really provides no protection or security for law enforcement," Curls said. "And the same issue that they have had with Michael Brown and other murders by police -- whether justified or unjustified -- around the country, it leads to more of them. They are gonna be fearful that anyone could be carrying a concealed weapon."
The law will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2017.