Concealed carry permits are down in Franklin County, understandably, just as they are statewide.

It’s due to constitutional carry legislation that went into affect Jan. 1, 2017, that no longer requires a permit to carry a concealed firearm. 

In 2017, there were 233 new concealed carry weapons (CCW) permits issued in Franklin County, compared to 2,592 given in 2016. In 2015, there were 2,694 new permits issued.

The law, now more than one year old, allows residents to carry a concealed firearm without advanced training, law enforcement background checks or a permit.

Prior to passage, to legally carry a concealed firearm, residents were required to obtain the CCW permit, which is a five-year conceal permit, with the approval of the sheriff’s office.

Now it’s easier for a person to carry a concealed weapon than it is to legally drive a car or build a fence in most municipalities.

Constitutional carry goes above the spirit of the second amendment right to carry a weapon by stripping training and permitting requirements.

The law also removes the discretion of the Franklin County Sheriff because those who may be mentally unstable or they are a frequent flyer in the law enforcement world can now legally carry a gun.

As part of some felony plea bargains, a defendant could be given suspended imposition of sentences (s.i.s.). That means that a defendant can plead guilty to a violent crime, yet not receive a conviction for it.

Under the constitutional carry law, people who have pleaded guilty to violent crimes, but have no felony convictions, can still legally purchase firearms and ammunition. That includes those who receive an s.i.s for felonies such as first-degree assault, weapons charges and sexual assault.

While it is not necessary, it’s still a smart move for gun owners to obtain a permit. That’s for their own protection.

Permits would reduce the liability of a gun owner in the unfortunate situation of a shooting. By having that permit it shows that the gun owner has been trained to properly use a firearm, which could benefit him or her in a court of law.

Most Americans agree that more gun regulations are important. Permits like these are not an infringement on Second Amendment rights.

There is a cost associated with a CCW permit, which could be a deterrent to obtaining one.

In 2014, the fee to obtain a new permit increased from $60.50 to $100 after the Legislature changed the law to make sheriffs’ offices responsible for the permitting process.

Previously, the sheriff’s office processed the applications and the applicant had to obtain the actual permit from a Missouri Department of Revenue fee office.

The 10 states other than Missouri that allow some form of constitutional carry are Alaska, Arizona,  Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Montana, New Mexico and Oklahoma have a limited form of constitutional carry.

The phrase does not typically refer to the unrestricted carrying of a long gun, a knife, or other weapons. The scope and applicability of constitutional carry varies by state.

In Missouri, the bill was passed by the Legislature in 2016 but Gov. Nixon vetoed it on June 27, 2016. The Legislature reconvened for the veto-override session on Sept. 14, 2016. The Senate voted to override the veto with a 24-6 vote (23 required) and the House followed through shortly thereafter with a 112 – 41 vote (109 required).