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Prohibiting Open Carry Guns in Wildwood Violates Rights, Claims Residents

TAKE POLL: Some Wildwood residents believe not allowing open carry guns in the municipality is a violation of their Second Amendment rights. They said open carry is allowed in 95 percent of Missouri, and ask why not in Wildwood.

Two Wildwood residents appealed to Wildwood city council members to consider changing the city's prohibition of open carry guns at the city's most recent council meeting on Feb. 27.

"Wildwood's ordinance that prohibits open carry goes well beyond simply having a hand gun on your hip in a holster," said Marc Perez, a resident who said he is working with Jefferson City legislators to remove what he considers an infringement of Second Amendment rights.

"If you have a firearm in your vehicle, on the seat, or a rifle rack in a city which prohibits open carry, you can be arrested. If you have a conceal carry permit and it becomes visible to a law enforcement officer by accident, same thing," said Perez.

Perez said the question he poses is:  "What other constitutional right can be regulated by local government, and which should. Would you want your right to speak, assemble, pray, or vote be regulated by local government? I certainly hope not. That is why we have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights for all citizens. Open carry is completely legal (except in buildings where state employees conduct business) in Missouri State Parks, however it is not legal in because it is in the city limits of Wildwood. The State constitution is trumped by a local law."

Scott Eguires, another Wildwood resident, also asked council members to reconsider the prohibition. "A handful of people sitting on a community board should not be allowed to make decisions based on personal feelings that go against what is granted to us as law-abiding U.S. citizens. As representatives, their job is not only to defend the Missouri Constitution but also the Constitution of the United States. They must put aside their disdain and stand by the oath by which they took." 

To allow the banning of open carry in municipalities is no different than banning freedom of speech, Eguires told Patch after the meeting. "Both are protected by the constitution and are fundamental rights. Furthermore, it should be left to owners of private property and business owners as to whether or not to allow people carrying within their homes or establishments. It should not be the role of government," he said.

While Perez said it has never been legal to point a firearm at another person, or to threaten another person in any way with a firearm, Missouri law indicates any home owner or business may prohibit firearms. He said a list of prohibited places in the Missouri statutes includes, but is not limited to, schools, places of worship, voting places, secure parts of airports, public transportation, stadiums and hospitals.

All but seven states and the District of Columbia have some form of open carry gun laws, said Perez.  

Open carry has been legal under Missouri Constitution (Article 1, Section 23, Aug. 28, 2010):

Right to keep and bear arms--exception.

Section 23. That the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall not be questioned; but this shall not justify the wearing of concealed weapons.

Source: Const. of 1875, Art. II, § 17.

(2004) Section does not prohibit the General Assembly from enacting statutes allowing or disallowing the carrying of concealed weapons; the Concealed-Carry Act is therefore constitutional. Brooks v. State, 128 S.W.3d 844   There is a statute which allows local government to prohibit open carry:

21.750.3

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.

Perez said he and others believe this statute is unconstitutional. 

"The cost to challenge a Missouri Law through the court system is to say the least a problem," he said. "A group of 'pro-open carry' citizens are actively seeking to see the Missouri statute changed. There are several bills pending in the Missouri legislature at the present time." 

One website hosts open carry gun discussions and chat groups by state; click here to access that information.

Perez said Missouri is a patchwork of legal versus illegal when it comes to local laws governing open carry guns, and that these local regulations can be difficult find.   

What About Incidental Exposure of Guns?

Eguires told Wildwood council members he recently was having dinner with his family when halfway through the meal he noticed his jacket had risen above his concealed weapon, thereby exposing it. "This is called Incidental Exposure. Because the city where we were contains a no open carry clause in their municipal code, I was technically in violation. This has happened on more than one occasion—for example the simple act of reaching up in local stores or bending over often causes my weapon to become exposed," he said.

Eguires said he prefers to conceal his weapon, however when it becomes warm, he tends to wear lighter clothing, making him more susceptible to incidental exposure. 

He agrees that local municipalities overriding open carry gun laws violates his personal rights. 

He cites the Fourteenth Amendment in section 1:  “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

"It is clear by the Supreme Court’s decision and the Fourteenth Amendment that the ability to ban open carry by local municipalities in Missouri infringes on the fundamental right to bear arms (the word bear should not be interpreted as conceal)," said Eguires.

Mark Schmiedeskamp March 06, 2012 at 12:58 PM
If Wildwood choses to actively enforce this ordinance then I guess I won't be eating/shopping within their city limits. Just another case of the uninformed violating the rights of the majority.
Scott Eguires March 06, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Wildwood already enforces the ordinance. The idea is to repeal the ban. Also there was an accidental ommission in the article where the supreme court was alluded to. This part should have been in there "This was upheld by the Supreme Court in the case McDonald versus Chicago in which the Court held that the right of an individual to "keep and bear arms" is protected by the Second Amendment. " Scott Eguires
Marc Perez March 06, 2012 at 02:59 PM
If you have questions, please post them. The 2nd amendment is really very simple as is Art. 1 Sec. 23 of the Missouri Constitution. Rights are easily lost, they are difficult to regain!
Stu Strickler March 06, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Some of us prefer to conceal our personal protection. Others prefer to open carry. Both are legal in most of Missouri. If you are afraid of the people who legally carry a firearm, you are either uninformed or misinformed.
Chuck Cook March 06, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Missouri needs statewide preemption to prohibit municipalities from inacting bans on constitutionally protected lawful activities. This would illiminate the current patchwork of "carry" "no carry" zones within the state. Who should we approach to bring such a bill before the state legislature?
Marc Perez March 06, 2012 at 07:08 PM
There are two preemption bills for open carry this year in the legislature... one in the House and one in the senate. Write your elected officials and ask them to help move these bills through the legislature.
Chris Young March 06, 2012 at 11:15 PM
I, along with my wife and 2 children, are long time Wildwood residents. Count me in on helping to preserve our rights.
Marc Perez March 07, 2012 at 01:38 AM
Chris, please take the time to go to a City Council meeting and let them know your thoughts. Monday the 12 of March and every other Monday. Public comments after the sart of the meeting 7:30 PM. It's our right! 1st and second amendment of the Bil of Rights. Use them or lose them.
William Corley March 07, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Legally armed individuals are neither inclined or apt to commit crimes.
Mark Schmiedeskamp March 07, 2012 at 05:12 PM
I guess I should remove the NRA decal from my truck so that when I drive through Wildwood I don't give the police "cause" to pull me over.
zekester March 24, 2012 at 04:15 PM
‘‘Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.’’ — Jefferson's "Commonplace Book," 1774-1776, quoting from On Crimes and Punishment, by criminologist Cesare Beccaria, 1764

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