With Missouri becoming a constitutional carry state back on Jan. 1, it appears that the enrollment in conceal carry classes has decreased.
“Our class enrollment has been really down because people don’t understand the law,” William Doubek, a conceal carry instructor in Neosho.
Even though Missouri is a constitutional carry state, there are still several regulations that restrict citizens from carrying a firearm.
“There are several big towns like St. Louis and Kansas City that don’t allow people to open carry, and if you’re caught without a concealed carry permit, you’re in trouble,” said Doubek.
Missouri is one of eight states that are constitutional carry states. Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Vermont, and West Virginia also allow permitless carry, according to the Missouri Firearms Coalition website.
“Constitutional carry does not cover you once you leave Missouri,” said Doubek. “If you don’t have a license and get caught in another state with a gun, you will be arrested.”
A concealed carry class is not just a class that issues certifications, it is also informative about the gun laws in Missouri, where you can and cannot have a weapon, and basic gun safety.
“We also teach firearm safety. Some generations just don’t understand that there is much safety knowledge and law knowledge that comes with taking the classes,” said Doubek.
A concealed carry permit allows a person to conceal a firearm in several locales, but does have its restrictions.
According to Missouri Carry’s website, a concealed carry permit does not authorize any person to carry concealed firearms in the 17 locations listed. Doing so is not a criminal act under Missouri law, but may subject the permit holder to denial to the premises or removal from the premises.
The 17 locations in Missouri where it is unlawful to carry a concealed firearm are:
• Any police, sheriff, or highway patrol office or station without the consent of the chief law enforcement officer in charge of that office or station.
• Within 25 feet of any polling place on election day.
• The facility of any adult or juvenile detention or correctional institution, prison or jail.
• Any courthouse or building used by a court.
• Any government meeting including state legislature.
• Government-owned buildings except public housing.
• Bars (except owners), without the consent of the owner or manager.
• Any area of an airport to which access is controlled by the inspection of persons and property.
• Any place where the carrying of a firearm is prohibited by federal law (crimes fall under federal law).
• Any school (including colleges) without the consent of the governing body of the higher education institution or a school official or the district school board.
• Any child care facility without the consent of the manager.
• Any casino without the consent of the owner or manager pursuant to rules promulgated by the gaming commission.
• Any gated area of an amusement park.
• Any church or other place of religious worship without the consent of the minister, person, or persons representing the religious organization that exercises control over the place of religious worship.
• Any private property conspicuously posted off-limits to concealed firearms with a 11×14-inch sign with one-inch letters.
• Any sports area or stadium with a seating capacity of 5,000 or more.
• Any hospital accessible by the public.
If the concealed carry individual refuses to leave after being asked and the police are called, he or she may be issued a citation for an amount not to exceed $100; a second offense within six months is a $200 fine and suspension of the CCW permit for one year; while a third offense within 12 months is a $500 fine and the loss of the CCW permit for three years.
According to James Altic, Seneca police chief and a concealed carry instructor at MSSU, classes have seen a slight decrease but staying steady for the most part.
“We do a little more than just a regular concealed carry class. We have a simulator that everyone who goes through our class is encouraged to use. It just gives people a little more training in a real-world setting,” said Altic.
Although Missouri has gone to constitutional carry, concealed carry instructors still encourage people to take the class and get the permit.
“You’re better safe, than sorry. When you’re used to carrying it and you leave the state, you can get in trouble. The permit is just extra security to protect you, so why take a chance by not having it?” said Altic.
All states surrounding Missouri honor the Missouri CCW permit except Illinois. In the United States, 34 states honor the Missouri CCW permit.
Newton County Sheriff Chris Jennings encourages everyone wanting to carry a weapon to have a license.
“It’s more of a safety feature for all of our citizens. If you leave the state with a weapon, you need a license, and by going through the training you will properly know how to handle and clean your gun and also know the Missouri laws with weapons,” said Jennings.