Preemption Statutes

Missouri has a comprehensive statute occupying and preempting “the entire field of legislation touching in any way firearms, components, ammunition and supplies to the complete exclusion of any order, ordinance or regulation by any political subdivision of this state.”1 The statute specifically states:

No county, city, town, village, municipality, or other political subdivision of this state shall adopt any order, ordinance or regulation concerning in any way the sale, purchase, purchase delay, transfer, ownership, use, keeping, possession, bearing, transportation, licensing, permit, registration, taxation other than sales and compensating use taxes or other controls on firearms, components, ammunition, and supplies [except as discussed below].2

Any existing or future orders, ordinances, or regulations in this field are “null and void except as provided in subsection 3 of this section [discussed below].”3

Exceptions

Subsection 3 of section 21.750 allows political subdivisions to:

  • Enact ordinances conforming exactly to the provisions of sections 571.010 through 571.070 of the Missouri Revised Statutes, which regulate various aspects of state firearms regulation, including the unlawful transfer of weapons; armed criminal action; the possession, manufacture, transport and repair of certain weapons; and the carrying of concealed weapons4
  • Regulate the “open carrying of firearms readily capable of lethal use.”5 In 2014, the statute was amended to exempt “any person with a valid concealed carry endorsement or permit” from any local ordinance prohibiting the open carrying of firearms6
  • Regulate the discharge of firearms7 This statute also includes the following provision: “No ordinance shall be construed to preclude the use of a firearm in the defense of person or property . . . .”8

Interpretation

In City of Cape Girardeau v. Joyce, the Court of Appeals of Missouri rejected a challenge to section 21.750 under article 1, § 23 of the Missouri Constitution (the state “right to keep and bear arms”). The court stated:

Nothing in the Missouri constitution [sic] limits the power of the legislature to enact laws pertaining to the time, place and manner of carrying weapons. It is entirely proper for the General Assembly to recognize that the use and abuse of firearms are matters appropriately left to local control and to delegate its authority to regulate the carrying of firearms as is deemed necessary by political subdivisions of the state.9

Other Statutory Provisions

Missouri political subdivisions are precluded from filing certain lawsuits against the firearms industry relating to the “lawful design, manufacture, marketing, distribution, or sale of firearms or ammunition to the public.”10

Moreover, the following specific statutory provisions remain on the books:

  • Missouri grants authority to the councils of third class cities (cities and towns containing 3,000 or more inhabitants) and the boards of aldermen of fourth class cities (cities and towns that contain between 500 and 3,000 inhabitants or that contain more than 3,000 inhabitants and elect by majority vote to be treated as such) to “enact ordinances to . . . regulate, restrain, and prevent the discharge of firearms … in the streets or in the limits of the city”11
  • Missouri grants authority to the boards of trustees of villages and towns to “prohibit the firing of firearms”12
  • Missouri grants authority to the board of aldermen of a fourth class city “to adopt ordinances providing for the prohibition of and punishment for the carrying of concealed deadly weapons”.13

Finally, Missouri Revised Statutes section 571.107.1(6) provides that, subject to certain conditions, counties and municipalities may prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms, even by persons permitted to do so under state law, in any building or portion of a building owned, leased or controlled by the county or municipality. Criminal penalties may not be imposed for a violation, but the local laws may deny a violator entrance to the building, order a violator to leave the building and, if an employee of the unit of government, subject a violator to disciplinary measures.

Immunity

For state laws prohibiting local units of government (i.e., cities and counties) from filing certain types of lawsuits against the gun industry, see our page on Immunity Statutes in Missouri.

Notes
  1. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 21.750.1. ⤴︎
  2. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 21.750.2. ⤴︎
  3. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 21.750.1. ⤴︎
  4. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 21.750.3(1). ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎
  6. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 21.750.3(2). ⤴︎
  7. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 21.750.3(1). ⤴︎
  8. Id. ⤴︎
  9. Joyce, 884 S.W.2d at 35. ⤴︎
  10. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 21.750.5. Note that the statute specifically allows actions by the state or a political subdivision for “breach of contract or warranty as to firearms or ammunition purchased by the state or such political subdivision.” Mo. Rev. Stat. § 21.750.6. ⤴︎
  11. Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 77.570 and 79.450.2. ⤴︎
  12. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 80.090.6. ⤴︎
  13. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 79.460. ⤴︎