Your View: KOMU addresses confusion following Missouri's gun law story
COLUMBIA – KOMU 8 did a story in September involving a new gun law in Missouri. There was some confusion in KOMU 8’s coverage as to the specifics of the state’s conceal and carry policy.
Starting January 1, 2017, Missourians will be able to conceal and carry their guns without a permit.
Gov. Jay Nixon had originally vetoed the measure, but the Republican-held legislature overrode his veto.
Missouri is joining a short list of states to allow anyone who can purchase a gun to conceal and carry it without a permit or training. The law currently allows people to open carry their weapons in public.
Jim Hill, who works at Target Masters in Columbia and is a conceal and carry instructor said: “Legally you can open carry in Missouri. So, if you want to put on a holster like I've got right here and carry the gun down the street that's totally legal. If you've got the hard card from going through the class you can carry in Missouri and 34 other states."
After KOMU's initial story, Dana Sewell asked on the station's Facebook page about the need for a lifetime permit after the start of 2017.
She asked, “Why anyone would want to buy Lifetime permit when after January 1st no permit is needed the answer I got was because they are honored in other states. According to a different TV station that is not true anything beyond a five-year permit is not honored in any other state so again why would anyone want to pay $500 for a lifetime permit that means nothing after January 1st?.”
KOMU 8 found out Sewell wasn’t the only person left with questions on the complex bill.
"I agree with that viewer. That is so confusing. That is the first question i asked the reporter. Why would you get a permit if you no longer need a permit."
We took the viewer's question back to Hill, who explained that the lifetime permit is only good in Missouri. He could understand the viewer’s confusion. After the first of the year, people can constitutionally carry which allows them to carry their weapon without any permit or training. Hill said there are still some benefits to getting a permit.
"It gives you a little more freedom in general,” Hill said. “It allows you to drop of junior at the public school with your gun on you, where, with a constitutional carry, that has to be locked up somewhere.”
KOMU’s chief investigator Jamie Grey explained why she believes there was a gap in KOMU's coverage.
"Unfortunately in television news, our deadlines come fast. They come six times a day at KOMU 8 and we can’t get the answer to every question before that deadline happens. So we do the best we can and get the most that we can by deadline and of course continue to follow up."