Gun Violence in Columbia

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COLUMBIA - According to Lieutenant Scott Young, the spike in shots-fired incidents
in the past few months is nothing out of the ordinary.

"It's at a little bit of a peak right now," Young said. "But we've had other peaks just like

In January, a teacher found one student with a loaded handgun at Douglas High School.
The teens involved were also tied to a shooting at Town and Country bowling alley.
One person sustained minor injuries, and the Columbia Police Department ruled it gang-
related. However, Young urged that the gang activities are not a widespread problem.

"We're talking this is four or five people...maybe six...who have some kind of feud
going on and they're mad at each other," Young said. "So they're shooting at people, and
they're not very good at it because they're shooting at people who aren't involved."

In fact, this year's gang-related gun violence is much smaller than a few years ago.

"Two or three years ago, we arrested and sent 18 people to federal prison for organized
gun activity," Young said. "Almost everyone in the department was involved."

Despite the small scale the violence was on this year, it still had an affect on the
community. Target Masters, a shooting range and gun store in Columbia, has noticed an
increase in people wanting to learn to protect themselves.

"The criminal activity drivers customers to our door," said part-time gun salesman Dale
Roberts. "And it certainly results in more people wanting to protect themselves in their

He also said that the rise in customers has caused a rise in people wanting to know more
about conceal and carry laws.

"It also results in more people wanting to take the conceal and carry classes so they can
learn not only how to defend themselves, but when they can lawfully do so." Roberts said.

Although a bill was passed in the House recently that would lower the age needed to get a conceal and carry permit from 23 to 21, it has yet to pass in the Senate. State Representative Jill Scchupp said that although the state would gain money from more permits being issued in the state, she feels that it would make missouri less safe.

Roberts disagrees since Missouri recognizes conceal and carry permits from other states with lower age requirements already. The bill is expected to be debated in the Senate this week.