Missouri sees huge spike in seniors giving gun training a shot

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HARTSBURG – Missouri’s senior citizens are pulling the trigger and getting trained to own and operate guns 400 percent more than in 2010.

The National Rifle Association reported the national increase, but the owner of Ammo Alley in Hartsburg is also seeing this spike locally.

“We’re having a lot more seasoned citizens come in for concealed carry training,” Doug Alley said. “A lot of them are seeing their neighborhoods deteriorating around them, so they feel the need to have that to protect themselves.”

Alley expects the number of seniors undergoing training to stay high, even after Missouri’s constitutional carry law is implemented in January.

The NRA applauded lawmakers' decision to override Gov. Nixon's veto against constitutional carry last week.

"This bill will improve the ability of law-abiding gun owners to exercise their Second Amendment rights," the NRA's website said.

In the NRA’s statement, it also outlined other changes to Missouri gun law under constitutional carry: 

  • Expands Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground protections
  • Adds additional permit options to include extended and lifetime permits
  • Specifies that with the exception of credit card fees, no additional fee beyond $100 may be charged to process concealed carry permits
  • Allows members of the military extra time to renew their permits

Alley said there are more things the public doesn't know about the new law.

“There’s a lot of items that haven’t been reported in the news as far as where you can carry without a permit and where you can not,” Alley said.

He said many people don’t realize there might be city ordinances in the state that still prohibit people from concealing a weapon without a permit in metropolitan areas.

One man and his grandson spent the day at the shooting range, and said their gun hobby stemmed from what they feel is a much more basic need for protection.

“There’s been a lot of drug problems and gang-related issues,” gun owner Jay Gill said. “To feel better for me and my family, we decided it was time to own a gun.”

Gill’s grandpa is 70 years old and also owns a gun. He said he’s not alone in his age group.

“I belong to the Disabled American Veterans and also the VFW,” Marlo Vansickle said. “A lot of my friends in both organizations, around my age, they all have weapons.”

Even though the gun shop sees many veterans like these two, Alley said the most popular concealed carry training course is an introductory course and can help people with little or no knowledge about guns.

“As we age, we have a tendency to be more of a potential victim, so taking the steps to ensure that you are not that potential victim is a wise idea,” Alley said.

Alley said safety should always be the number one priority, and that means sometimes undergoing training even if it’s not required.