BELLEVUE, WA – Missouri lawmakers and Gov. Bob Holden should take a lesson from legislators in Minnesota, and that state’s Gov. Tim Pawlenty, by passing a concealed carry bill before the weekend, and signing it into law.

That was the renewed call today from the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA), as debate continued over whether Missouri residents should be allowed the same self-defense rights as citizens in 35 other states. Minnesota lawmakers passed a landmark concealed carry statute Monday and Gov. Pawlenty immediately signed it.

“Missouri residents should have the same rights as their fellow Americans, from Florida to Alaska,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “We are renewing our call on Gov. Holden to abandon his irresponsible opposition to this sensible gun law reform measure. Missouri residents are no less trustworthy than citizens of Minnesota, New Mexico, Virginia or Colorado, all four of which have adopted new concealed carry statutes.”

CCRKBA Executive Director Joe Waldron added that state lawmakers should move quickly to pass a final version of HS HCS HB 349, the current concealed carry measure now under consideration in Jefferson City.

“With Minnesota’s new law, there are now 35 states with so-called ‘shall issue’ laws,” Waldron said. “Missouri should join this growing roster. Armed citizens have proven in many cases to be not merely responsible with their firearms, but have actually prevented crimes and saved lives, including their own.”

Both Gottlieb and Waldron criticized the rhetoric of concealed carry opponents, whom they consider elitists and pro-criminal.

“Personal safety should not be a political football, subject to the prejudices of anti-gunners in the legislature,” Waldron observed. “Right now, Missouri residents are pretty much at the mercy of thugs, and opponents of concealed carry want to keep it that way. That’s not just irresponsible, it’s criminal.”

Gottlieb summed it up: “Missouri residents who value their personal safety need to call their representatives, and Gov. Holden. Tell them to stop giving criminals the upper hand.”