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St. Louis City Begins Conceal Carry Permit Process

By Kim Hibbs

Two years after Missouri lawmakers passed the controversial law, St. Louis city will begin the application process to carry concealed weapons.

The process begins at 8:30 a.m. Monday at the sheriff's department at the civil courts building in downtown St. Louis where appointments will begin being made.

St. Louis County began taking applications two weeks ago. Both St. Louis city and St. Louis County had refused to take applications and issue permits because they stated the law was unconstitutional.

Missouri voters first said "no" to concealed weapons in 1999. But state lawmakers said "yes" in 2003. The bill ended up in the courts as both sides argued whether the law was constitutional. The Missouri Supreme Court finally ruled it was.

But both St. Louis City and St. Louis County refused to take applications because the law did not address the funding process.

That has now been worked out, and despite the objection by some city officials, the application process begins Monday.

St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer Joyce says, "I think that any time you have any kind of legislation that results in more guns being in the city and more guns being on the streets, that's going to have a negative impact on the crime rate. I think that the city will be less safe as a result of this law."

Supporters of the concealed-carry law claim it's a person's right to protect themselves. Those against it fear it will lead to more violence.

St. Louis Police Chief Joe Mokwa says, "I don't know that will have any impact on crime one way or another. I know that proponents will hope that carrying a concealed weapon will reduce the opportunity of them being victimized. I don't know how logical that is. On the other hand, I don't think that because people are carrying guns, there'll be more violent crime."

But Joyce says, "There's no way that having all those additional guns out there is not going to have a bad effect on crime."

Chief Mokwa says if you decide to carry a concealed weapon, make sure you are prepared for the responsibility that comes with it, "A gun is only as good as the person willing to use it."

"A gun is not a magic wand. Pointing it at somebody doesn't necessarily prohibit criminals from attacking you," Mokwa adds. "The only benefit to having it is if you're willing to pull it out and shoot somebody and I would tell you that if you pull it out, you'd better be prepared to shoot somebody because we've seen plenty of circumstances where people have been disarmed."

To apply for a permit in St. Louis:

You must be 23 years old

The permit costs $100

Have a current Missouri driver's license or I.D.

Have a firearms safety training certificate

The formal application process begins next Monday, but you must make an appointment. Walk-ins will not be accepted.

To make an appointment call 314-613-7150.
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