Conceal-Carry Permits Leave Show-Me-State Residents Packing Heat

April 5, 2004 -- Posted at 9:42 p.m. CST

POPLAR BLUFF -- The paper work is completed, finger prints inked and photo's snapped.

now, all folks have to do to get their conceal-carry permit is wait....

"It's been a proven fact that the concealed weapon law has decreased crime in other states, and yes I believe it will make anyone think," said Butler County Sheriff Bill Heaton.

Make them think twice before committing a crime, because you never know who might locked and loaded.

"The criminals have guns, knives, clubs and the private citizens need that right also," said Charles Sisk, firearms instructor.

Deborah Pruitt has completed her safety training and applied for her conceal-carry permit today....she and her husband will have to wait 45 days before they know if the state will issue that permit.

"Basically, just for my own safety. I'm in a rural area and I just feel that I need that protection because you never know whose going to be walking through the door and what they're going to be carrying," said Pruitt.

Missouri's conceal-carry law was ruled constitutional in February, making the state the 38th in the nation with such a law.

"Missouri law requires you to have at least eight hours of training in firearms safety....that's required by law. I've been doing approximately four hours in the classroom and four hours on the range," said Sisk.

Folks seeking a permit must fire 20 rounds from a semi-automatic weapon and a revolver from 21 feet to qualify. Also, 50 rounds must be shot for familiarization of the weapon.

"I feel like I have enough training now that I feel safe with handling it and carrying it," said Pruitt.

But Sheriff Heaton says carrying a concealed weapon should also come with some common sense.

"Just because it's concealed weapons doesn't mean everyone is going to run around with a concealed weapon on their body....this is their right," said Heaton.

The conceal-carry permit is good for three years, and the renewal fee is only $50 dollars. Permit owners do not have to retake safety training when they renew their license.