In 30 days the Boone County Sheriff’s Department could begin issuing right-to-conceal handgun permits for the first time since the 19th century.
On Thursday, the Missouri Senate voted to override Gov. Bob Holden’s veto of legislation that will allow Missourians to carry a concealed handgun. Since 1879, Missouri has had a law on the books making it illegal to carry a concealed weapon.
Columbia Police Chief Randy Boehm is opposed to the new legislation.
“More concealed handguns is not positive,” he said. “It means more potential for problems,”
But he said the new law does have some good components, such as requiring more extensive background checks and training courses.
Columbians wanting to purchase a license to conceal must first complete a handgun safety course, which includes classroom training and live firing exercises. They also must fill out a written application and submit it to the Boone County Sheriff’s office.
The bill removes the existing prohibition on “the carrying of a firearm capable of lethal use into any public gathering,” but it does put some limits on where concealed firearms can be carried. Locations where guns aren’t allowed include amusement parks, stadiums and hospitals.
Those who violate the restrictions can be denied access to the facilities or removed from the premises.
Sheriff Ted Boehm of the Boone County Sheriff’s Dept. opposes the law because it allows a person who committed a violent misdemeanor to obtain the right to conceal after five years.
“I disagree with the way it was written, but I will do my part to uphold the law,” Boehm said.
Major O.J. Stone of the sheriff’s department said they will have to adjust to the new law.
“Currently, we only track the number of handgun permits issued,” he said. “Now we will track the number of people in Boone County applying for the right to carry a concealed weapon and create a system to identify who they are.”
Lee Brandkamp, owner of the Columbia gun shop Powder Horn, said the law was the logical step to take.
“Responsible gun owners have been carrying concealed weapons already,” he said. “Now they will be able to do so legally.”