A new year means some new laws for Missouri residents.
In 2017 it is now legal to carry conceal without a permit and fighting in school can now land a student in serious legal trouble.
It is still illegal for students and teachers to bring guns into schools – only select teachers designated by the school district as school protection officers can carry a concealed weapon inside. But under the new law, teachers and students to keep a gun inside their car on school grounds – as long as they keep it hidden and don’t take it out.
The new carry conceal also prevents gun owners from taking a weapon into a courthouse, a jail, police station, sports stadium, the airport, a casino or hospital.
Supporters believe relaxing the carry conceal laws will help prevent future shootings, while others fear it could lead to more violence.
“This is an advantage to people who suddenly pick up a stalker or other dangerous situation, they can carry until they can pick up a class,” Kevin Jamieson, Weston Missouri Shooter’s Alliance said.
“Do I think it would have a huge impact?” Kristy Baughman with the Rose Brooks Center asked. “I am not entirely sure about that. But what I know is any barrier we have to keep in place firearm out of the hands of an abuser, I want to keep it in place.”
Another new law says students caught fighting or bullying in school could face felony charges.
In the past, besides facing a suspension from the school, students caught fighting could be charged with a misdemeanor. The punishment for a misdemeanor is light compared to a felony charge because now, students caught fighting could face up to four years in prison.
The new law will only apply to students over the age of 17 and right now, it’s too early to tell if prosecutors will charge fighting students with felonies. But they at least now have that tool to protect students from bullies.
Also in 2017, if you’re caught with less than ten grams of marijuana and don’t have a prior criminal record, you can still get charged and pay a fine but you won’t have to serve any jail time. Possessing less than 10 grams of marijuana is a Class D misdemeanor so offenders would face a $500 fine, but no jail time. If you have a previous record, it jumps to a Class A misdemeanor. If you are caught with 10-to-35 grams of marijuana on you, it’s now a misdemeanor and not a felony. Lawmakers lessened the punishment on marijuana to free up jail space for more serious offenders.
**Editors note: A previous published version stated that, “You can now carry a small amount of marijuana with you. Those with no prior criminal record can carry up to ten grams of pot and not get in trouble with the law. ” That was not correct. Less than 10 grams is a Class D misdemeanor so offenders would face a $500 fine, but no jail time.