You have the right to own a firearm in the United States– if you follow the rules. That can sometimes be tricky, especially when you’re living near the border of two states that have very different approaches to gun ownership.
Even though Missouri and Illinois are neighbors, their handling of gun laws is very different. If an officer arrests you while you’re on the wrong side of the line, you could face serious consequences that may not have amounted to anything in St. Louis.
Wrong side of the river
Even if you’re unaware you’re breaking regulations, a weapons charge can come with minimum mandatory sentencing. While Missouri generally shows more leniency for possessing a firearm, Illinois remains a bit more buttoned-up when it comes to carrying a gun:
- Concealment: While Missouri will honor other licenses, Illinois doesn’t accept any out-of-state permits for holding a concealed firearm.
- Out in the open: Illinois won’t let you carry handguns out in the open. Missouri does allow for open carry, but limitations can be put in place by entities like cities, federal buildings and businesses.
- Castle doctrine: While both states have laws in place to protect homeowners who protect themselves, Illinois requires that an intruder show violent intentions while Missouri puts less burden on you to prove intent.
Understanding the rules of the state you’re in is extremely important, even in difficult cases that involve state lines. Make sure you know the laws of the area you’re in, and it could save you a lot of trouble while exercising your second amendment right.