Weapons Charges in Missouri

Learn about Missouri’s limited restrictions on possessing, carrying, and using firearms.

By , Legal Editor
Updated by Rebecca Pirius, Attorney · Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Updated 3/27/2023

Missouri has some of the most permissive gun laws in the country and is considered a constitutional carry state. Despite this, rules still exist regarding who can possess or carry a gun and where. Read on to learn the basics of Missouri's gun laws.

Missouri Gun Laws: Open and Concealed Carry

You don't need a license to carry handguns or other firearms—either openly or concealed—in Missouri. The state generally allows open and concealed carry by individuals who are not prohibited persons and who don't carry in restricted places. (More on these restrictions below.)

However, there's an exception to the general rule allowing open and concealed carry—the law prohibits exhibiting any weapon capable of lethal use in an angry or threatening manner around one or more persons. A violation carries Class E felony penalties of up to four years in prison. (Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 571.030, 571.037 (2022).)

Missouri Gun Laws: Who Is a Prohibited Person?

Very few restrictions exist on who may possess or own a gun in Missouri. The main prohibition applies to felons.

Can Felons Own or Possess Guns in Missouri?

No. Having a felony conviction makes one a prohibited person in Missouri. Other persons prohibited from possessing a firearm include fugitives, those adjudicated mentally incompetent, and anyone who's habitually intoxicated.

Possessing a firearm (unless it's an antique firearm) as a prohibited person is a Class D felony in Missouri and carries up to seven years in prison. The penalty increases to a Class C felony—and up to 10 years of prison time—if the person was convicted of a dangerous felony (as defined in law).

Can Minors Possess Firearms in Missouri?

Missouri law doesn't specifically make it a crime for minors (under age 18) to have guns. However, it's a Class A misdemeanor to sell or give a firearm to a minor without the consent of the child's parent.

Selling or Giving Firearms to Prohibited Persons

You can be charged with a Class E felony if you knowingly give, loan, or sell a gun or ammunition to a prohibited person. It's also illegal (a Class A misdemeanor) to give a gun to anyone who's intoxicated. A person convicted of a Class A misdemeanor faces up to a year in jail.

(Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 571.060, 571.070 (2022).)

Missouri Gun and Deadly Weapons Laws: Restricted Places

It's against the law in Missouri to carry a gun or other deadly weapon (such as switchblade knives, daggers, billy clubs, or metal knuckles) in the following places:

  • a K-12 school, on a school bus, or anywhere a school function is taking place
  • a place of worship
  • an election precinct on election day, and
  • a federal or state governmental building.

There are many exceptions, including for those with concealed carry licenses, law enforcement officers, and anyone acting in legal self-defense. The restrictions also don't apply if the gun isn't accessible or functional, or if it's unloaded and you don't have accessible ammunition.

For a violation, you can be charged with a Class E felony for bringing a loaded gun to school or a Class A misdemeanor if it's loaded. It's a Class B misdemeanor (up to 6 months in jail) for bringing a firearm to one of the other restricted locations.

Missouri Gun Laws: Prohibited Places for Concealed Firearms

A number of other places in Missouri are off-limits for carrying concealed firearms even with a permit, including:

  • a police, sheriff, or patrol office or station
  • within 25 feet of a polling place on an election day
  • a courthouse, jail, or detention facility
  • a government meeting (with exceptions for members of the governing body)
  • bars and other licensed businesses that get more than half of their income from liquor sales for on-site consumption (without consent)
  • schools, colleges, and universities (except for school protection officers)
  • childcare facilities (without consent)
  • churches or places of religious worship (without consent)
  • large sports arenas and stadiums
  • amusement parks
  • hospitals, and
  • any private property where the owner has posted signs prohibiting guns.

The penalty for a violation is a Class B misdemeanor, except for violations of entering onto posted private property, which is punishable by citations and fines only.

If you have a concealed carry license (which are still available), you won't be charged with a crime for violating these restrictions. You'll simply be asked to leave—and may only receive a citation if you refuse to cooperate.

It's also generally okay to keep a gun in your car at these restricted locations.

(Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 571.030, 571.107 (2022).)

Unlawful Use of Weapons in Missouri

Except when you're acting in self-defense (or as part of official law enforcement or similar duties), Missouri outlaws shooting a gun in the following circumstances:

  • at a person
  • from or at a vehicle
  • into a house, train, boat, aircraft, motor vehicle, or any building where people gather
  • across or along a public highway, or
  • within 100 yards of an occupied school, courthouse, or church building.

Other illegal uses of weapons include:

  • handling or using a firearm in a negligent way while you're intoxicated
  • having a firearm while in possession of a felony amount of illegal drugs, and
  • setting a spring gun.

Criminal charges for these offenses range from Class B misdemeanors to Class E felonies.

You may also face more serious penalties in Missouri if you use a deadly weapon to commit some other crimes, like assault. (Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 565.052, 571.030 (2022).)

Finding Legal Help

Any time you're facing a possible weapons charge, it's important to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can evaluate your case and help protect your legal rights throughout the criminal justice process.

Changes in the Law

States can change their laws at any time, but you can use this Library of Congress search tool to find the current versions of Missouri statutes discussed in this article. However, court decisions may affect the interpretation and application of those laws—another good reason to speak to a lawyer if you're concerned about actual or potential we

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