Concealed Carry Permit Applications on the Rise in St. Louis Area

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Concealed carry permit applications in St. Louis County, Missouri increased 63% from Aug. to Nov. 2014 compared to the same time period last year. Prior to the Aug. 9, 2014 shooting of Michael Brown, concealed carry permits had been decreasing, with 274 applications in May 2014 compared to 394 in May 2013.

In Aug. 2014, after Michael Brown’s shooting, permit applications rose to 383 (up from 289 in Aug. 2013), and the numbers have continued to increase. 405 permit applications were submitted in Sep. 2014 (up from 256 in Sep. 2013). In Oct. 2014, the number of applications was 112% higher than in 2013 (575 vs. 271). As of Nov. 12, 2014, 286 concealed carry permit applications had been submitted, more than the entire month of Nov. in 2013. Since Aug. 2014, a total of 1,649 people have applied for concealed carry permits in St. Louis County. Concealed carry permit applications are also rising in neighboring St. Charles and Jefferson counties.

State Representative Stacey Newman told FOX2Now St. Louis that concealed carry won’t necessarily make residents safer. “How are our law enforcement, who we call at a moment’s notice to protect use, how are they supposed to know who is the potential bad guy and who isn’t? There is so much here that’s a recipe for disaster.”

Gun stores in the Ferguson area have reported an increase in sales as high as 300% in recent weeks. John Stephenson, owner of Metro Shooting Supplies, told ABC News that people are afraid of what will happen after the announcement of the grand jury ruling in the case of the officer who shot Brown. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency on Nov. 17, 2014 in anticipation of the response to the grand jury’s decision.

Residents cite the prior civil unrest in Ferguson as well as potential future unrest upon announcement of the grand jury’s decision as a reason to buy and carry a gun. Terri Earls, a local resident, stated, “I want to get a permit for concealed carry, and I want to take the training classes, just for protection.” An unidentified resident stated, “I am concerned with the verdict and how people are going to take it.”

Missouri is a “shall issue” state for permits to residents 19 years old and older. Applicants must complete an 8-hour firearms safety course and permits are valid for five years.

Carrying a concealed handgun in public is permitted in all 50 states as of 2013, when Illinois became the last state to enact concealed carry legislation. In total, 42 states have “shall issue” laws. Eight states have “may issue” laws where concealed weapon permits are approved based on the discretion of local police departments or governments.

Sources:

Kevin Killeen, “A Rush to Get Concealed-Carry Permits in St. Louis County,” www.stlouis.cbslocal.com, Nov. 14, 2014

Missouri State Highway Patrol, “Missouri Concealed Weapons Law,” www.msdhp.dps.missouri.gov, Oct. 2014

Office of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, “Missouri National Guard to Support Law Enforcement Efforts in the Event of Unrest in the St. Louis Region, Gov. Nixon Announces,” governor.mo.gov, Nov. 17, 2014

Steve Osunsami, “Gun Sales Boom Ahead of Ferguson Ruling,” abcnews.com, Nov. 13, 2014

Rebecca Roberts, “Conceal and Carry Permits Have Exploded across St. Louis Area,” www.kplr11.com, Nov. 12 2014