Handgun sales steady after introduction of Castle Doctrine law

Friday, October 19, 2007 | 5:51 p.m. CDT; updated 10:31 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 16, 2008

COLUMBIA — Columbia gun sellers haven’t noticed a consistent increase in handgun sales despite the initial spike after the Castle Doctrine law went into effect in August.

The law, which eliminated the requirement that anyone purchasing a handgun in Missouri undergo a background check by law enforcement where he or she lives, sparked a short-term increase in sales after it went into effect Aug. 28, said Barry McKenzie, manager at Target Masters.

“We had some clientele say they were waiting for the new law to take effect before they purchased a new gun,” he said.

Family Pawn Store, 2416 Paris Road, saw a brief surge in handguns sales that lasted about two weeks, with most of the purchases consisting of guns that had been placed on layaway, owner Brian Mayse said.

Mayse attributed the temporary increase to the simplified process of buying a handgun. Before the law went into effect, the Boone County Sheriff’s Department gave gun permits to Columbia residents approved through background checks. The local background check was required in addition to a mandatory federal background check that businesses selling guns have to conduct under federal law.

“The background check by law enforcement was a redundant inconvenience,” he said. “They did about the same check, charged $10, and there was a waiting period involved. The old system was also inconsistent from county to county, and that was problematic.”

Lee Brandkamp, who’s been selling guns in Columbia since 1983, said travelers can now purchase guns more easily, which leads to an increase in sales.

Before, Brandkamp noticed that people from out of town would stop in his store, Powderhorn Guns and Sporting Goods, and wouldn’t purchase guns because of the hassle of having to go back to the county they resided in to get a permit.

The new law didn’t affect the federal requirements. Businesses that sell guns still have to conduct a national background check that is administered by the FBI, said Dan Trim, manager at Tiger Pawn.

“Every customer has to go through the National Instant Check System,” Trim said. “Since it’s run by the FBI, whose business is to regulate firearm sales, I feel they do a thorough job.”

Tiger Pawn, which recently sold out of handguns, didn’t notice a change in sales.

“We only probably carry four or five handguns at a time,” Trim said. “Currently, we are sold out, but that’s not uncommon for us. We’ve been sold out in the past.”

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