'Constitutional carry' legislation has law enforcement, some gun - KMOV.com

'Constitutional carry' legislation has law enforcement, some gun rights activists concerned

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Person shooting gun at range (Credit: KMOV) Person shooting gun at range (Credit: KMOV)

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Missouri recently became the 11th state to enact “constitutional carry” (the right to carry a concealed weapon without a permit), and the move has renewed fears about increases in gun violence. While some say there are no causes for concern, police officers and some gun rights supports have voiced their worries.

Starting January 1, the law will allow citizens to carry concealed weapons without going through the training currently required for a concealed carry permit.

Law enforcement officials voiced their concern on the new legislation, which was passed when lawmakers overrode Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of the bill.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said Thursday the new law is “a recipe that is going to leave everyone more at risk.”

He isn’t alone in that stance. Even some gun rights advocates are uneasy with the change, especially the lack of training required to carry a firearm.

Firearms instructor Michael Meyers lobbied legislators in Jefferson City for years for the original concealed carry law. But Meyers says he has concerns. He says without requiring a permit, new gun owners will not only lack the hands-on training for gun safety, they won't know the legal complexities of firearm use. 

“The worst thing about it is the legal ramifications of the use of the firearm,” said Meyers. “How is somebody going to know what to do if they use their firearm and have to deal with police and deal with the legal aspect of it? I suggest everybody still get training and learn that aspect of the law.”

Meyers teaches an eight-hour course for those wanting to obtain a concealed carry permit.  For an example of how complicated legal gun ownership can be, he says about two hours of the class is spent on actual hands-on training. The other six hours cover the legalities of firearm use.

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