New gun law delayed by injunction

Firearm training centers say their business is affected.
Sunday, October 12, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:33 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 13, 2008

There was no line outside Hallsville’s police department Saturday morning although the building had planned to open at 9 a.m. for people seeking concealed-weapons permits.

“I’m just going to post some signs on the doors that the issuance of permit applications has been postponed until further notice,” Hallsville Police Chief Pete Herring said Friday. The signs, printed on neon-pink paper taped to the doors, were hard to miss.

Late Friday afternoon, St. Louis Circuit Judge Steven Ohmer issued an injunction on the conceal-and-carry law, delaying it from going into effect Saturday until the state Supreme Court rules on the law’s constitutionality.

Ohmer’s injunction hinged on the posting of a $250,000 bond to cover revenue lost by Missouri businesses through Oct. 23, the period of the injunction.

Target Masters, a shooting range and gun training center in Columbia, was planning to begin teaching classes this week to certify gun handlers for the conceal-and-carry permit.

“We can still teach the classes, but we decided to hold off in case something like this happened,” said Garson Chen, a store employee. About 800 people have signed up to take gun safety classes, he said.

Target Masters is not the only business in town impacted by Friday’s injunction.

Tim Oliver said he has invested thousands of dollars in his Columbia-based firearms education and training business called “Learn to Carry.”

“I’ll be harmed if the injunction goes into effect and if they make it permanent,” Oliver said Friday.

The state Supreme Court decided Friday to hold off on a ruling, said Beth Hammock of the attorney general’s office. The plaintiffs, represented by Burton Newman and Richard Miller, will meet the defendant, the state of Missouri, in Ohmer’s court on Oct. 23, when the trial will begin.

“I believe the court took appropriate action today by preventing this ill-conceived law from taking effect,” Gov. Bob Holden in a prepared statement said.

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