Plenty raring to carry firearms

The county and gun clubs are preparing for concealed-carry law to take effect.
Tuesday, September 23, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 2:52 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Thousands of Missourians are waiting.

They’re waiting for Oct. 11 — the date Missouri’s new concealed-gun law kicks in. And they’re joining waiting lists in droves to get into firearms-training classes required by the law, which passed two weeks ago when the Missouri General Assembly overturned a veto by Gov. Bob Holden.

“The ink wasn’t dry on the override vote when we got a call saying they wanted to be first on the list” for permits, said Mike Stubbs, a detective with the Boone County Sheriff’s Department. But the department isn’t ready to process applications yet, because the application form doesn’t exist.

“Why they did not have something already set up, I don’t know,” Stubbs said.

Sheriff Ted Boehm said a statewide application form is in the works, but Boone County will go ahead with its own form if the statewide template isn’t ready by the time the law goes into effect.

“I hope by that time the application will be on the Boone County Web site,” Boehm said.

Meanwhile, local gun clubs are waiting for the application form to be finished before they start training classes.

And their lists are growing with people eager to start the eight-hour course required to carry a concealed gun.

“I’m getting 10 to 15 e-mails every two to three hours, plus phone calls,” said John Skaggs, director of range operations for Green Valley Rifle & Pistol Club in Hallsville. The club has a waiting list of more than 300 for its classes. Skaggs estimated the cost for the class will be less than $125 per person.

More than 350 people are on another list at Target Masters indoor range in Columbia. Doug Grindstaff, operations manager for Target Masters, said he hopes to start his classes by the end of the month.

“We’re going to have higher standards than some others,” said Grindstaff, a former detective with the Boone County Sheriff’s Department who had a hand in drafting the conceal-and-carry legislation.

Grindstaff estimated the Target Masters class will cost about $125 per person. That cost will include classroom rental, he said, because the range has no facility that can accommodate the 20 people expected for each class.

Boehm said instructors who want to teach classes must be recognized by his office to be able to sign off on individuals’ training certificates. Thus far, he has received information from 10 instructors, he said.

“I’ve asked these people to send me their certification of instruction and to break down the curriculum,” Boehm said. Instructors can obtain certification from the National Rifle Association, a private firearms company, or training academies such as the Law Enforcement Training Institute at MU.

The training classes required by law will include classroom instruction and live firing exercises. But Skaggs said one of the most important things for participants to do is review the law itself. He said he’s concerned that misinformation is circulating about the ins and outs of the new law.

“There’s a lot of information floating around,” Skaggs said. “People are working on rumors these days.”

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