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Archive for Friday, February 27, 2004

Missouri’s concealed weapons law ruled legal

February 27, 2004

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— The Missouri Supreme Court's decision clearing the way for carrying concealed guns brought joy and jitters on Thursday.

Joy in suburban St. Louis: John Thurik, an employee of a computer company, said he has undergone the required training and is ready to pay the $100 fee for a permit to pack a hidden pistol. For Thurik, the need is clear: "I want to protect my family against violent crime, and I want to keep the criminal guessing."

Jitters in Columbia: Marcie Davenport, assistant manager of Old Chicago, said she's now talking with her bosses about whether to post a sign barring guns at the business, which promotes its pizzas, beer and family atmosphere.

The law includes a ban on guns in bars, but Davenport wondered whether Old Chicago qualified since it sells a lot of food as well as alcohol. "I can't just look at a guest and say, 'Hey, he's safe,"' she said. "Now we have to consider whether we must post a no-guns sign."

Missouri's highest court issued a mixed decision -- generally upholding the Legislature's right to allow concealed guns, but also ruling the permits don't have to be issued in four counties where it was shown to impose an unconstitutional state spending requirement. Those four counties -- Jackson, Cape Girardeau, Camden and Greene -- had been cited as being impacted by an unfunded mandate from the state, even though the sheriffs are authorize to collect a $100 fee from each applicant.

In those counties, sheriffs said they would ask for authority from county officials to accept the fees, apply them toward equipment and training as the law requires, and use other department money to pay for the permitting process.

It could take a couple of weeks for the Supreme Court's order to be considered final.

A conceal-carry proposal is under consideration in the Kansas Legislature.

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