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NEWS: Thousands take advantage of concealed gun law

4978 Views 22 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  jamz
As reported on 2.6.06 by KY3 of Springfield, MO:

Thousands take advantage of concealed gun law
by Maria Neider, KY3 News

SPRINGFIELD -- Billie Jo Whaley was 13 years old when a gun changed her life.

"We had just gotten home from school and we were sitting around the kitchen table, doing our homework,” said Whaley. "My mom turned to look out the window and get up and answer the door. At that time, he leaned over the balcony and shot my mom twice.”

Whaley heard the two gunshots.

“I was screaming, ‘My mom, my mom!’” she said.

She remembers staring at her mother, who was bleeding on the kitchen floor. Whaley blamed guns.

"I hated every bit of them and I always felt that, if guns weren't in this world, he wouldn't have been able to shoot my mom," she said.

Many Missourians feel the same way – and fought for years to stop a concealed carry weapon (CCW) law. The fight included one statewide vote against legally concealed weapons, vetoes and veto threats by Gov. Mel Carnahan and Gov. Bob Holden, and a legislative override of one of Holden’s vetoes.

The biggest concern was whether it would cause an increase in gun crimes. Critics feared more criminals would get handguns. Greene County Sheriff Jack Merritt recalls when his own trained deputies worried their jobs would become more deadly.

"Oh, all these people are going to have guns. It's going to be more dangerous when we make car stops," Merritt recalled them saying.

When it came down to it, however, the realistic and final argument was: people who will go through the trouble of taking safety courses and weapons qualification courses are not the criminal element.

One recent safety and certification class included a minister, an attorney and people like schoolteacher Lalea Lazar, who wanted a way to defend herself and her 5-year-old son.

"You need to be prepared,” said Lazar. “It's not a matter of if an incident will happen; it's really a matter of when.”

A rancher from Christian County worried about cattle rustling also was in the class.

"You really need to have the weapon with you if you're going to interrupt a crime in progress, which you very well could,” said Dan Hartley.

Instructors say many people who take the classes to get permits have survived violent crimes against themselves or loved ones. Eighteen years after her mother’s shooting, Whaley shot a gun for the first time.

"I was a little nervous,” she said. “It was a little scary but it was all right."

The sound of gunshots still make her jump, and she was a bit shaky, but Whaley has her sights set on putting the past behind her and no longer living like a victim.

In order to qualify, each applicant must hit 15 out of 20 rounds in the black of a silhouette, seven yards away. In the past 18 months, the Greene County Sheriff’s Department issued more than 2,000 CCW permits.

Merritt says the law hasn’t had the effects that opponents feared.

"I have not seen any road rage, where people jump out of a wrecked car and start waving around a weapon. That's what people were afraid of," he said.

Records show 43 gun crimes were committed in 2003 in Missouri. In 2004, that number dropped to 32 -- 13 incidents before the law became active in July 2004 and 19 more through December. There were 34 firearms crimes in 2005.

"I think it's very much a success," said Merritt.

It was an empowering experience for Whaley. After some extra time on the firing range, she hopes to get her CCW permit in case, some day, she would have to shoot to save her life.

""I'm so ready to do this that I don't really think I'm nervous anymore or scared. I'm just ready to do it. I'm ready to change my life," she said.

To date, the Greene County Sheriff’s Department has issued 1,122 CCW permits. It revoked three after issuing them. It has denied no applications but Merritt says that’s because of the extensive screening process. Now the department is working on a renewal procedure for CCW permits, which are good for three years.

Of course, the department denies many permits to purchase guns, concealed or not concealed. That procedure has been in effect for many years.

Click here to view video of report

The article can be found at

- Janq
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Absolut I agree it would be nice to live in a world where you only saw guns at the range. However I can't agree with banning civilian gun owner ship or CCW. Taking guns away from the general public would not take them away from the criminals. As Janq said they are criminals and it is in their nature to break the law. Banning guns would not stop them, it would in fact make their crimes easier by weakening their targets. Banning personal ownership of a handgun would slightly decrease the amount of gun related violent crimes, but as with everything else that is banned if people want it bad enough they will get it.
Yeah, I agree with that especially in a place like the states where there are so many guns. I guess my position is more from the position of a brand new country that is starting 100% fresh. There is no way we could disarm America, as I said there are way too many unregistered guns, and only the guns we know about could be removed, thus leaving criminals armed and citizens close to defenseless.

Janq-You're right my stats only envolve murders, but I can't find any statistics on violent crimes that are detailed enough to show which were done with or without a firearm, the closest I could come was what I posted earlier. It would be interesting to see what the lower level (non-murder) crimes are like, but from my statistics it does show that there are less deaths, which is generally considered better than more deaths. :wink:

Anyways, as I point of view is very normative, and in today's world it is next to impossible to achieve...but I still think no guns, or at least more strict regulations for owning(and having a CCL) is better than the current rules and restrictions that the US has.

Either way, I can't wait until I get my CCL. :D
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I would only be cool with the No Guns idea only under a couple of conditions: the police and military would not be able to have them either. Reason being, if they exist at all, bad guys will get ahold of them.
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