We do not write laws in Missouri to define lawful acts, but rather, we write them to define UNLAWFUL acts (laws are written in a restrictive context, rather than a permissive one). In other words, there is no such thing as a law that says "it is legal to openly carry a firearm".
What we have is a section of our Revised Statutes that defines acts that the State of Missouri considers to be "Unlawful Use of Weapons". For the most part, if an act is not defined in this section, it is not considered to be unlawful (as far as the "use" of weapons is concerned). The section of law in question is:
You will notice the complete absence of any mention of "openly carried firearms" in these 10 subdivisions. That exclusion, in and of itself, is what makes the act of openly carrying a firearm in this state a "lawful" act for most people, as far as the state is concerned. Of course, there is also an entire section of exemptions to most of the subdivisions above which follow in this section:Unlawful use of weapons--exceptions--penalties.
571.030. 1. A person commits the crime of unlawful use of weapons if he or she knowingly:
(1) Carries concealed upon or about his or her person a knife, a firearm, a blackjack or any other weapon readily capable of lethal use; or
(2) Sets a spring gun; or
(3) Discharges or shoots a firearm into a dwelling house, a railroad train, boat, aircraft, or motor vehicle as defined in section 302.010, or any building or structure used for the assembling of people; or
(4) Exhibits, in the presence of one or more persons, any weapon readily capable of lethal use in an angry or threatening manner; or
(5) Has a firearm or projectile weapon readily capable of lethal use on his or her person, while he or she is intoxicated, and handles or otherwise uses such firearm or projectile weapon in either a negligent or unlawful manner or discharges such firearm or projectile weapon unless acting in self-defense;
(6) Discharges a firearm within one hundred yards of any occupied schoolhouse, courthouse, or church building; or
(7) Discharges or shoots a firearm at a mark, at any object, or at random, on, along or across a public highway or discharges or shoots a firearm into any outbuilding; or
(8) Carries a firearm or any other weapon readily capable of lethal use into any church or place where people have assembled for worship, or into any election precinct on any election day, or into any building owned or occupied by any agency of the federal government, state government, or political subdivision thereof; or
(9) Discharges or shoots a firearm at or from a motor vehicle, as defined in section 301.010, discharges or shoots a firearm at any person, or at any other motor vehicle, or at any building or habitable structure, unless the person was lawfully acting in self-defense; or
(10) Carries a firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, or any other weapon readily capable of lethal use into any school, onto any school bus, or onto the premises of any function or activity sponsored or sanctioned by school officials or the district school board.
Now, in addition to the "Unlawful Use of Weapons" statutes above, we also have a preemption law written into a different chapter of our Revised Statutes. It is in the preemption law where the State has reserved sole authority for themselves in legislation that touches, in any way, the subject of firearms, components, ammunition and supplies. Of course, they also allowed for a couple of exemptions in the preemption law which is where local restrictions on openly carried firearms come into play. Our preemption laws:571.030.2. Subdivisions (1), (3), (4), (6), (7), (8), (9) and (10) of subsection 1 of this section shall not apply to or affect any of the following when such uses are reasonably associated with or are necessary to the fulfillment of such person's official duties:
(1) All state, county and municipal peace officers who have completed the training required by the police officer standards and training commission pursuant to sections 590.030 to 590.050 and who possess the duty and power of arrest for violation of the general criminal laws of the state or for violation of ordinances of counties or municipalities of the state, whether such officers are on or off duty, and whether such officers are within or outside of the law enforcement agency's jurisdiction, or all qualified retired peace officers, as defined in subsection 10 of this section, and who carry the identification defined in subsection 11 of this section, or any person summoned by such officers to assist in making arrests or preserving the peace while actually engaged in assisting such officer;
(2) Wardens, superintendents and keepers of prisons, penitentiaries, jails and other institutions for the detention of persons accused or convicted of crime;
(3) Members of the armed forces or national guard while performing their official duty;
(4) Those persons vested by article V, section 1 of the Constitution of Missouri with the judicial power of the state and those persons vested by Article III of the Constitution of the United States with the judicial power of the United States, the members of the federal judiciary;
(5) Any person whose bona fide duty is to execute process, civil or criminal;
(6) Any federal probation officer or federal flight deck officer as defined under the federal flight deck officer program, 49 U.S.C. Section 44921;
(7) Any state probation or parole officer, including supervisors and members of the board of probation and parole;
(8) Any corporate security advisor meeting the definition and fulfilling the requirements of the regulations established by the board of police commissioners under section 84.340;
(9) Any coroner, deputy coroner, medical examiner, or assistant medical examiner; and
(10) Any prosecuting attorney or assistant prosecuting attorney or any circuit attorney or assistant circuit attorney who has completed the firearms safety training course required under subsection 2 of section 571.111.
3. Subdivisions (1), (5), (8), and (10) of subsection 1 of this section do not apply when the actor is transporting such weapons in a nonfunctioning state or in an unloaded state when ammunition is not readily accessible or when such weapons are not readily accessible. Subdivision (1) of subsection 1 of this section does not apply to any person twenty-one years of age or older transporting a concealable firearm in the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle, so long as such concealable firearm is otherwise lawfully possessed, nor when the actor is also in possession of an exposed firearm or projectile weapon for the lawful pursuit of game, or is in his or her dwelling unit or upon premises over which the actor has possession, authority or control, or is traveling in a continuous journey peaceably through this state. Subdivision (10) of subsection 1 of this section does not apply if the firearm is otherwise lawfully possessed by a person while traversing school premises for the purposes of transporting a student to or from school, or possessed by an adult for the purposes of facilitation of a school-sanctioned firearm-related event.
4. Subdivisions (1), (8), and (10) of subsection 1 of this section shall not apply to any person who has a valid concealed carry endorsement issued pursuant to sections 571.101 to 571.121 or a valid permit or endorsement to carry concealed firearms issued by another state or political subdivision of another state.
5. Subdivisions (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9), and (10) of subsection 1 of this section shall not apply to persons who are engaged in a lawful act of defense pursuant to section 563.031.
6. Nothing in this section shall make it unlawful for a student to actually participate in school-sanctioned gun safety courses, student military or ROTC courses, or other school-sponsored firearm-related events, provided the student does not carry a firearm or other weapon readily capable of lethal use into any school, onto any school bus, or onto the premises of any other function or activity sponsored or sanctioned by school officials or the district school board.
You will notice in Subsection 3 above, where the state has made an exemption for "open carrying of firearms" and the "discharge of firearms" in the preemption language. That one, single sentence is what plagues the entire subject of open carry here in Missouri.Firearms legislation preemption by general assembly, exceptions--limitation on civil recovery against firearms or ammunitions manufacturers, when, exception.
21.750. 1. The general assembly hereby occupies and preempts 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. Any existing or future orders, ordinances or regulations in this field are hereby and shall be null and void except as provided in subsection 3 of this section.
2. 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 provided in subsection 3 of this section.
3. Nothing contained in this section shall prohibit any ordinance of any political subdivision which conforms exactly with any of the provisions of sections 571.010 to 571.070, with appropriate penalty provisions, or which regulates the open carrying of firearms readily capable of lethal use or the discharge of firearms within a jurisdiction, provided such ordinance complies with the provisions of section 252.243.
4. The lawful design, marketing, manufacture, distribution, or sale of firearms or ammunition to the public is not an abnormally dangerous activity and does not constitute a public or private nuisance.
5. No county, city, town, village or any other political subdivision nor the state shall bring suit or have any right to recover against any firearms or ammunition manufacturer, trade association or dealer for damages, abatement or injunctive relief resulting from or relating to the lawful design, manufacture, marketing, distribution, or sale of firearms or ammunition to the public. This subsection shall apply to any suit pending as of October 12, 2003, as well as any suit which may be brought in the future. Provided, however, that nothing in this section shall restrict the rights of individual citizens to recover for injury or death caused by the negligent or defective design or manufacture of firearms or ammunition.
6. Nothing in this section shall prevent the state, a county, city, town, village or any other political subdivision from bringing an action against a firearms or ammunition manufacturer or dealer for breach of contract or warranty as to firearms or ammunition purchased by the state or such political subdivision.
In closing, unless a political subdivision has a ordinance or law that restricts or prohibits open carry within their jurisdiction, then it IS lawful by default. And the mere presence of a lawfully possessed firearm does NOT meet the legal requirements of RAS or PC.