Conceal and Carry Laws Up for Debate

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COLUMBIA - The Missouri Senate will return from the legislative break next week, and vote on a bill to lower the age to have a conceal and carry permit. The Missouri House has already approved the bill that would lower the minimum age to have a permit from 23 to 21.

Missouri citizens have a variety of opinions about the bill. Several gun shop owners and employees in Columbia believe that lowering the age requirement would not have a negative impact on the state. Some supporters argue that Missouri should lower the age requirement because the state already acknowledges out-of-state permits.

"As a Missouri resident, you can gain a non-resident's permit. Basically, order a permit in the mail. And Missouri currently honors all other states' permits," said tactical firearm instructor Todd Burke.

Allowing younger people to get permits will bring in revenue to Missouri.

"I see a lot of people waiting, who are 21, who legally own hand guns, waiting until they turn 23 to get their permit," said Powder Horne Guns employee Dave Shene.

One gun shop customer said he thinks the two year difference between 23 and 21 years old is vital, because young people mature quickly after college graduation.

"A person should probably have to be a little older to carry a gun around and conceal it. Younger people tend to have higher emotions," said bill opponent Neil Ishmael.

MUPD Captian Brian Weimer said regardless of the outcome of the senate's vote, it will not affect the University of Missouri. MU does not allow weapons on campus, and the proposed bill includes a clause exluding university campuses. However, one MU student said she didn't think the clause or MU regulations would stop students from bringing guns to campus if they were allowed carry a weapon.

"I feel lowering the conceal and carry law would probably allow students to get weapons onto campus anyway, and it'd probably increase violence on campus as well as the general area," said MU student McKenzie Morris.