Concealed Carry Q&A

By Steve Jones, Outdoor Guide Magazine Conservation & Legislative Affairs Editor

[Originally published in the Late Summer 1998 issue of Outdoor Guide Magazine. For a free copy call 800-706-2444]

Unless you've been in a deep coma for a few months, you know the campaign to pass a law allowing Missouri citizens the opportunity to carry concealed weapons is underway. But most Missouri gun owners have several misconceptions about what is in the law, how it will work, and what this vote really means. Volunteers who have manned booths at gun shows report there is a great deal of misunderstanding about the issue.

Here are a few questions and answers that should clear things up.

Q: Won't this get vetoed by the governor, or amended into something else by the legislators?

A: No. The legislators have already turned this over to the people for an up or down vote on Tuesday April 6 1999. The governor and the legislators have no further say on the matter. It cannot be vetoed or amended. We, the people, are voting yes or no on a pretty good CCW bill on April 6 1999.

Q: Will I need to prove the need to carry a weapon?

A: No. We are voting on a "shall issue" law. If it passes, in order to get the permit, good for 3 years, you need to do only the following:
- Be at least 21 years old and have a clean record
- Not a drunk, drug addict or mentally ill.
- Complete a handgun safety course of at least 12 hours approved by the MO Dept. of Public Safety.
- Give your sheriff $80 ($35 for renewal) and a set of fingerprints
- Wait up to 45 days for background checks.

Q: Won't anti-gun sheriffs just find an excuse not to issue any permits?

A: No. In order to deny you, the sheriff is required to state exactly why, in writing. If anyone feels they have been improperly denied the permit there are clear processes for appealing the decision in small claims court. You will not need a lawyer. The sheriff may be forced to pay court costs if the denial is found by the judge to be "arbitrary and capricious."

Q: Won't more guns mean more shootings and more accidents?

A: Quite the opposite. Those who say "More guns is not the answer" don't really understand the question, and then support gun-control laws that impact only law-abiding citizens. CCW laws have been conclusively shown to significantly reduce violent crimes such as murder and rape. Nowhere have CCW laws been found to increase firearms accidents or crime. Only about three of every 100 eligible citizens will apply for a permit. This is sufficient to make criminals avoid crimes where they might encounter an armed citizen. Less than one tenth of one percent of those issued a permit ever commit crimes involving their firearms, nearly all of which involve being discovered after forgetting they are carrying in a restricted area, usually in an airport.

Q: Won't permit holders be prohibited from carrying just about everywhere?

A: The only places where a permit holder may not legally carry are: church, into any school, into any election precinct on any election day, or into any building owned or the portion of building occupied by any government agency. Also, businesses may legally prohibit CCW by posting such restrictions clearly at all entrances. Violators of this restriction risk being charged with the infraction of trespass. In other states that have passed similar laws, a few businesses have decided to prohibit CCW by their customers. Nearly all have changed their minds within a few weeks or months.

Q: Will permit holders be able to carry in bars or restaurants that serve alcohol?

A: Yes. However, Missouri's existing strong prohibition on carrying any firearm while under the influence of alcohol remains in full force. Permit holders would commit a serious crime if they carry while under the influence. Some states allow CCW in bars, some do not. Those that do have not experienced the horrible results predicted by anti-gunners. Across the nation, the same scenario is repeated over and over: permit holders prove extremely responsible, safe and law abiding.

Q: Won't there be gun battles in the streets? Won't many incidents such as routine traffic accidents result in gunplay?

A: No. It didn't happen in any of the other 43 states that have CCW. There is no reason to believe Missouri is going to be the first place that CCW laws result in such behavior.

Q: Why worry about it now? The vote isn't until April.

A: The anti-gun forces are working hard on this now. We need to work harder. It is going to take at least 2 million dollars to pass this. It will take time.

Q: Won't cities such as St. Louis and Kansas City ban CCW?

A: No. They cannot. Permit holders will be able to carry in every city and county in the state.

Q: I support it and hope it passes, but don't have the time or money to help right now.

A: The only answer to that is to quote Edmund Burke: "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing."

Q: What is MPS?

A: Missouri for Public Safety. It is a grassroots group of Missouri citizens fighting to pass this law at the polls on April 6 1999.

Q: How can I help?

A: Send email to, visit the website at, or most important of all, send a check to MPS at PO Box 10170, Columbia, MO 65205.

Q: Can someone from MPS visit with my group?

A: Yes. Conact MPS as listed above, or see the "Speakers Bureau" link on the home page.

For further information, visit our website at or send email to .

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