(MO) Refusal to give gun permits may end


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Drizzt
March 25, 2005, 05:29 PM
Refusal to give gun permits may end
By Clay Barbour
Of the Post-Dispatch
Thursday, Mar. 24 2005

An earlier version of this story incorrectly noted the caliber of the handgun
fired by Audrey Sementilli. The corrected version appears below.

The blast from the 38 caliber handgun produced a surprisingly strong kick, one that caused Audrey Sementilli to shake her head as she placed the pistol back on the counter in front of her.

"I didn't like that one," said the retired teacher. "I'll stick with my Glock."

Sementilli was one of eight St. Louis County residents taking part in a gun
safety course Saturday. The eight-hour class, which started in the Florissant
branch of the St. Louis County Library and ended at the Piasa Rifle and Pistol
Club in Alton, covered everything from the laws of justified force to safety
and basic marksmanship. At the end of the day, students were ready to apply for a state concealed-carry permit.

The problem is, fully a year after Missouri became one of 46 states to offer
such permits, St. Louis and St. Louis County still refuse to issue them.

But this may soon come to an end. A bill pending in the Missouri Legislature
would remove the financial roadblock used by local officials and force the city
and county to fall in line with the rest of the state.

Statewide, about 16,000 background checks have been requested for applications for concealed-weapons permits. A Missouri permit costs $100 for three years and $50 to renew.

Last year, the city and the county decided against issuing the permits, saying the new law violated the Hancock Amendment, which prohibits unfunded mandates.

The original law said the sheriff's revolving fund, which was supposed to pay
for issuing the permits, could be used only for training and equipping law
enforcement officers. The city and county said that without using those funds, they could not afford to issue permits.

The new bill, sponsored by state Rep. Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, would
allow the money to be used for issuing permits as well as training.

The measure passed the House 142-7 and now sits in the Senate. A bill identical to Munzlinger's passed out of a Senate committee already, which means his bill likely will fly through committee.

"I feel pretty good about it," Munzlinger said. "It's a pretty hard bill to go
against. Most people support the idea. We just needed to work out a problem in the language."

Officials with the county said they did not want to comment on the bill until
it's in its final draft.

Officials with the St. Louis County Police Department and the St. Louis
Sheriff's Department, the local organizations responsible for the permits, also
had little to say about the bill.

"But when they finally get this worked out, we will be ready to go," said St.
Louis sheriff's spokesman Mike Guzy.

Some say the change may come too late. Since Missouri passed the law, hundreds and possibly thousands of people from the greater St. Louis area have received concealed-carry permits from other states, such as Utah, Pennsylvania and Florida. Those permits are honored in Missouri.

Jim Stephens, owner of Bullseye Indoor Shooting Range, is one of 20 people in the St. Louis area qualified to teach the state's mandatory gun safety course.

Stephens, who has taught about 1,500 people in the past year and a half,
estimates that about 10,000 city and county residents have received
out-of-state permits.

"I'm guessing that when that bill passes, it won't make much of a difference,"
he said. "Those who wanted a permit probably already have one."

Dale Schmid, Sementilli's teacher Saturday, has taught about 500 people in the past year and a half. He has steered all of them toward Florida.

Schmid, 58, a retired insurance salesman, is president of the Second Amendment Coalition of Missouri and one of the loudest critics of local officials.

"Why should we pay our money to the county?" he said. "They have done nothing but fight this every step of the way. It's clearly personal with them, so I will keep telling my students to go elsewhere."

At the end of Saturday's class, Sementilli had another student snap a picture
of her with her class certificate.

She said it was to prove to her husband that she had passed the class.

Sementilli said she planned to get her Florida permit soon. She said she wanted to carry a gun for safety.

"You can't be too careful these days," she said. "All you have to do is turn on
the TV and see all the trouble out there."

The concealed weapon bill is HB365.

Reporter Clay Barbour
E-mail: cbarbour@post-dispatch.com
Phone: 314-727-6234

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/emaf.nsf/Popup?ReadForm&db=stltoday%5Cnews%5Cstories.nsf&docid=F665F5E78446CE8686256FCF001663AA

The original article listed the handgun as a 38mm.

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Standing Wolf
March 25, 2005, 10:22 PM
Stephens, who has taught about 1,500 people in the past year and a half, estimates that about 10,000 city and county residents have received out-of-state permits.
"I'm guessing that when that bill passes, it won't make much of a difference," he said. "Those who wanted a permit probably already have one."

Government doesn't often pass up free money.

Firethorn
March 25, 2005, 10:33 PM
It still seems odd. Given that residents can pay money to an out of state agency to get a valid license, and that they're getting a $50-$100 fee per permit, even if the money can't be used directly, couldn't they shift some budget items around?

Black Snowman
March 25, 2005, 11:15 PM
It still seems odd.
St. Louis wishes it was Chicago, or maybe even New York! Does that clear it up a bit? They try to be as opressive and corrupt, they try hard, but the good people in MO don't like to put up with their sillyness.

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