Can You Break the Law in Missouri to Save a Life?

The following is a video transcript.

What happens if you inadvertently carry into a place you’re not supposed to and you need to use your firearm in self-defense? First, don’t push the envelope; if you’re not allowed to carry your firearm into a prohibited place, you’re best served by following the law.


Section § 563.026 of the Missouri Revised Statutes codifies and defines Missouri’s legal doctrine of necessity. The defense is usually distilled into three essential elements:

  1. The act charged must have been done to prevent a significant harm;
  2. There must have been no adequate alternative; and
  3. The harm caused must not have been disproportionate to the harm avoided.

A judge will make a ruling on whether the doctrine applies to a specific case. Put another way, the doctrine provides that otherwise-criminal conduct is justifiable and not criminal when it’s necessary as an emergency measure to avoid an imminent public or private injury which is about to occur through no fault of yours. You may be able to invoke the doctrine of necessity as an affirmative defense to an otherwise criminal act or in the case of a lawsuit.


Missouri “stand your ground” law recognizes that you have no duty to retreat in places you have a right to be. Section § 571.107.2 of the Missouri Revised Statute states that persons with valid Missouri Concealed Carry Permits who carry in a location otherwise prohibited by state law shall not be considered guilty of a criminal act, but may be subject to denial to the premises or removal from the premises. This includes: schools, churches, and private property (including businesses where proper signage is posted).

Note: If you do not have a valid Concealed Carry Permit, it is a crime to carry into a prohibited place. If you inadvertently carry into a prohibited place, your right to defend yourself with deadly force under Missouri law is still subject to the restriction that you can only use deadly force to protect yourself or another from the imminent use of unlawful deadly force, or in the case of a forcible felony. Be careful not to carry a firearm into a prohibited area. If you find yourself in a situation where you must use force to defend yourself or another, Missouri’s doctrine of necessity may apply.

If you have additional questions about inadvertent carry into a prohibited place, contact U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.

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