Applications for new concealed-carry weapon permits in Boone County are on pace to top the record established in 2013. The Boone County Sheriff’s Department on Monday requested a budget amendment to account for additional revenue and expenses related to administering CCW permit applications.
The 1,063 applications for concealed-weapon permit renewals in Boone County processed in 2015 have surpassed the previous high of 1,035 applications processed in 2014. New concealed-weapon permit applications already total 821, a pace that should exceed the previous high of 1,017 in 2013.
Sheriff’s Capt. Gary German presented the sheriff’s request to add $108,000 to the revolving fund the department uses to account for revenue and expenses related to the permits. German said permit revenue for 2015 was expected to be about $78,500, but the figure will be closer to $152,000. The sheriff’s department will pay the Missouri State Highway Patrol about $36,000 for processing fingerprints for background checks, instead of the budgeted $17,000, he said.
German said the department does not know what is behind the major increase in applications. “It could be current trends in society,” he said.
Barry McKenzie, store manager at Target Masters at 4101 Range Line St., said the reasons seem clear to him.
“There’s more people concerned about the crime in Boone County,” he said. “It’s obvious a lot of people are worried about their safety.”
All applicants fill out the paperwork, pay a fee and have their fingerprints recorded. Applicants are subject to a nationwide background check.
Applicants also have to provide proof they have completed an eight-hour training course about the state’s concealed-carry law and how to use firearms. McKenzie, who has managed Target Masters for eight years, said the firearms store and indoor firing range has held one to two training courses per month this year.
“It’s always full, with people waiting,” McKenzie said.
Chief deputy Maj. Tom Reddin said the permit numbers are shifting to more renewals than new applications. For example, 61 new applicants sought permits in September while 99 renewed their permits.
“It’s kind of been this way” for several months, he said.
Starting in August 2013, concealed-carry permits are good for five years. Missouri has issued concealed-carry permits since 2003, and until the law was changed in 2013, Hallsville and Ashland police also issued permits. The change placed the burden of processing the applications and determining who is eligible to receive a permit solely on sheriff’s departments in Missouri.
Reddin said the sheriff’s office has tracked county wide permit numbers since 2007, with more than 12,000 permit applicants processed since then.
The number does not reflect how many licenses are active, he said. “There are probably people who had the permit for a period of time and didn’t renew it.”
The 1,884 applications in 2015 include 16 denials, Reddin said.
Reddin said officials choose not to collect information about age, gender and other factors from permit applicants because officials already are restricted from gathering some information.
“We’re only allowed to ask certain specific questions,” he said. “We do not ask the people who are applying why they are getting it or renewing. We’re just not allowed to ask that.”
McKenzie said in addition to the training classes at Target Masters, the business also gives as many as 250 private lessons a year. He said more than 80 percent of those students are female.
“If you want to learn to shoot, you’ll do one of these basic courses,” McKenzie said. He said only 20 percent of the concealed-carry class is about actual shooting. Most of the training is about Missouri’a law and “what’s going to happen if you use your gun.”   By Jodie Jackson Jr. Columbia Daily Tribune