Boone County gun owners will now have to go to Ashland or Hallsville if they want to apply for conceal-and-carry permits.
The sheriff’s department will not be accepting applications for conceal-and-carry permits, according to a department press release. The decision was made during a two-hour meeting Monday with Boone County Sheriff Ted Boehm, the county’s legal adviser and the Ashland and Hallsville police chiefs.
Residents will still be able to get permits from the Ashland and Hallsville police departments starting May 1.
The sheriff’s department said, at the advice of legal counsel, that accepting applications at the county level would constitute a “clear violation of the Hancock Amendment,” which makes laws passed by the state unconstitutional if they are not also funded by the state.
High court rules
The Missouri Supreme Court ruled Thursday that, according to the amendment, the conceal-and-carry law passed by the legislature last year contained an unfunded mandate in the way the permit fees were allocated.
However, Boehm said Monday that the conceal-and-carry law allowed for sheriffs’ departments to delegate the task of issuing permits to local police departments, which would then receive the funds from the fees. In other words, the Hancock Amendment wouldn’t apply to city police departments.
“The law doesn’t address the chiefs of police, it just addresses the sheriffs’ departments,” Boehm said.
Police chiefs Mel Rupard of Ashland and Pete Herring of Hallsville agreed to help the county process the permit applications when the law was supposed to take effect in November. They have agreed to start accepting permits as soon as contracts can be worked out with the cities and the county, which should take about 60 days to finalize.
Rupard could not be reached for comment and Herring declined to comment.
There are at least three bills in the legislature right now to fix the unfunded mandate problem with the conceal-and-carry law. According to the press release, if and when the law is fixed, the sheriff’s department will make “appropriate changes” to their permit processing procedure.