Missouri keeps concealed arms ban

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The Independent Online
THE US gun lobby suffered a setback yesterday when the mid- Western state of Missouri voted to retain its ban on carrying concealed firearms.

It was the first time that the United States had put the contentious question of gun control to a popular vote, and the result was seen as a sign that the gun lobby's influence could be on the wane. The National Rifle Association spent almost $4m (pounds 2.5m) on presenting its case, with newspaper and television advertisements, and speakers,including Charlton Heston, atmeetings across the state.

The turn-out was far higher than expected, and exit polls indicated that it was primarily inner-city voters (predominantly black) and suburban voters (predominantly white) who had clinched the victory.

Missouri is one of only seven states in the US where carrying a concealed weapon is banned. The state resorted to a referendum after pro-gun politicians had repeatedly tried and failed to have the law changed in the legislature.

The "right to carry" lobby has made steady inroads over the past decade, with a majority of states legalising the right. Carrying a concealed weapon is now permitted in 31 states, and allowed with restrictions in a further 12.