Conceal & Carry Seminar Sparks Big Public Interest

By: 
Judy Kramer
County Reporter
Friends of the Benton County Sheriff’s Office (FBCSO) hosted a Concealed Carry Class on Thursday, March 1, at the Knights of Columbus Hall  in Warsaw. An unprecedented 150 attendees showed up. The class instructor was Sgt. Grant Johnson, who talked about changes in concealed carry laws in Missouri.
“Sheriff Eric Knox requested us (FBCSO) to host this class because of the controversy when someone with a gun gets pulled over,” said Martha Foster, Education Director of FBCSO. “We thought at first that about 30 might attend. Then, we raised our expectations to 50, then 80. So we were surprised when we had such a large crowd. I was so busy registering people along with FBCSO President, Carrie Rieman, that I didn’t hear much of what the instructor had to say. All attendees were residents of Benton County, and they were supplied only with information about laws. They did not get licensed.”
Sgt. Johnson talked about changes in Missouri law brought about by Senate Bill 656 that was passed in September 2016, over Governor Nixon’s veto, and put into law on January 1, 2017. He discussed when and where guns can be carried, how to deal with the aftermath of critical incidents and safety while carrying weapons. He also told the class about different types of guns and holsters.
Highlights of SB 656 (from votesmart.org website) are that it 1) Authorizes an individual to carry a concealed weapon without a permit, except in areas where firearms are restricted; 2) Authorizes guests of a property owner to use deadly force against an individual who unlawfully enters said property; and 3) Repeals the requirement that an individual retreat from a location he or she is authorized to be in before using deadly force to defend him or herself from an individual using unlawful force.
 Bryce Booher, who has been a Missouri firearms instructor for over five years, posted his opinion about the changes at www.thetruthaboutguns.com. One point he makes is that even though individuals are now permitted to carry a concealed weapon without a permit in Missouri, there are provisions in Missouri’s law that allow cities to pass local ordinances banning the open carrying of firearms. The new constitutional carry law did not address those ordinances, which means if you do not have a Concealed Carry Weapon permit (CCW) you are not legally allowed to carry a firearm open or concealed in those cities. 
Sheriff Knox pointed out that the Missouri Constitution says that you have the right to carry concealed weapons, but there is a lot of confusion. He said that some states do not recognize our laws and the Concealed Carry Class was planned to answer some of the ongoing questions that gun owners have.
A talk with a member of State Representative Warren Love’s staff on March 5 revealed that Rep. Love has gotten from 12 to 15 emails from constituents asking that there be no more prohibitions against their second amendment rights. Apparently, no constituents have communicated that they want more gun control. Those who want to express their opinions to Rep. Love, may do so by emailing his office at Warren.Love@house.mo.gov.
Sheriff Knox said the March 1 class was held as part of his campaign promises that include being transparent and working with the community. He says that there will be other community seminars this year. The next event will be about Self Defense for women, children and senior citizens, taught by a Lieutenant, ex-SWAT guy, who will be able to pass on information about self defense that you wouldn’t think of. 
FBCSO also plans to host an additional seminar in the fall that is still in the planning stage.

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