One Missouri county is seeing a dramatic rise in the number of people applying for a concealed carry permit.
Although you still can't carry it in places where it's banned like schools or churches, Missouri's CCW permit allows someone to carry a weapon out of the view of others. The permit holders are trained to carry the gun and to use it.
Marion County Sheriff Jimmy Shinn has seen almost as many applications already this year as he had all last year.
when he processed151 applications all year long. As of mid-March this year, Shinn has already processed 138.
At this rate, his office could be issuing close to a thousand permits.
Shinn says there are two main reasons for numbers for the rise in applicants.
"Because of the violence that we've seen recently. Especially the large-scale violence that we've seen involving schools, public areas, things of that nature. That's one reason. And then the second reason I believe that the public has this fear that the federal government is going to step in and try to control our gun rights; Our Second Amendment rights," said Shinn.
Shinn says he's had to train additional CCW instructors to teach the mandatory class to get people certified to carry concealed weapons.
Jared Frost at Butch's Sports World in Palmyra says having his permit gives him a sense of security. He says he used to carry his gun out in the open, but now he says he conceals it so as not to spook anyone.
"One thing about the concealed carry is criminals and people that want to harm you," said Frost. "If there's a possibility that you may be armed, I have a feeling that they're probably going to be less lenient towards attacking you."
Shinn says violence and talk of gun control have a record number of folks seeking the permit to let them arm themselves for protection.
"And I'm very much for every law-abiding citizen that wants to take their CCW class to do it. Come in and see us and we'd be glad to issue out a CCW. I'm all for law-abiding citizens to have their guns and have the CCW permit," said Shinn.
Shinn says he sees the rise in numbers as a good thing. He says his residents are arming themselves and protecting themselves.
Shinn says he sees only one problem with the process.
He says when someone applies for the CCW permit and goes through the concealed carry class, the background check will not provide information about any mental health issues. And that's something he says he would like to see changed.
If you are interested in getting your Missouri CCW permit, Shinn says you can do so by contacting your local sheriff's office to get a list of instructors you can take your CCW class from.
Butch's Sports World is trying to get a class together, so if you're interested in that, you can contact organizers there.
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