COLUMBIA — House Bill 294, which lowers the age required to obtain a conceal and carry endorsement from 23 to 21, was signed by Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday. The law will go into effect Aug. 28.
*Section B, the part that specifically pertains to the age of applicants, goes into effect on January 1, 2013, or whenever the Department of Revenue issues a non-driver's license with a conceal and carry endorsement. Those expire three years from the date of issue.
“I don’t see why the restriction from 21 to 23 was necessary in the first place,” said Target Masters sales representative Steve Brown. “I really don’t see a lot of people that all of a sudden reach some magic age then suddenly develop an interest.”
Zach Moosa, 21, said he will feel safer and more protected when walking around Columbia.
“I feel that if you’re, you know, able to be trusted to buy a firearm when you’re 21, they should be able to trust you can go through the conceal and carry class,” Moosa said.
Guns are not permitted on campus, according to MU rules and regulations, but some want that to change.
“We prefer that everywhere in town would allow all to conceal carry,” said Target Masters manager Barry McKenzie.
Harry Tyrer of the MU Faculty Council does not expect to see a change in policy even though the law will make a larger percentage of the student body eligible to conceal and carry.
“Most students that I come across are really not concerned about carrying guns or carrying weapons with them," Tyrer said. "I think they see the campus as a safe environment, and they don’t need to be worried about protecting themselves."
MU professor Leona Rubin said guns make it too easy for people on campus to respond to disagreements with a potentially deadly level of force.
“I think that’s true for everyone, not just students,” Rubin said.
Applicants for a conceal and carry endorsement must complete a safety training course. They must fire 50 rounds each with both a semi-automatic pistol and a revolver and 20 rounds from each with an instructor present.
Target Masters offers a concealed carry course for experienced shooters.
“The main goal of the course is to have a person qualified to carry a gun, not just a piece of paper that says they are qualified,” McKenzie said.
Thirty-seven states honor Missouri concealed carry endorsements.