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Numbers rise for concealed carry

The number of concealed carry permits, largely for handguns issued in St. Charles County, continues to climb.

Through early June, the St. Charles County Police Department has issued 4,097 permits in 2015. That is a pace that could push permit totals close to 8,000 by the end of the year, far ahead of permits issued by the county since at least 2010.

Last year, the county issued 5,203 permits, short of the 6,052 issued in 2013. In 2012, the county issued 4,527 permits, which was up from the 3,389 permits issued in 2011 and the 2,754 permits issued in 2010.

St. Charles County Police Chief Dave Todd said the upswing could be a response to events and news in the national media.

“A lot of it is a personal security thing,” Todd said.

People may be worried by the situation last year in Ferguson and stories in the national media about other civil disturbances, such as what happened in Baltimore, he said. Todd added that local residents also may be concerned about reports of illegal drug activity.

In Missouri, anyone carrying a concealed firearm is required to have a permit and a state or federal government-issued photo identification. State law changed in August 2013 and now Missouri residents must go through their county sheriff’s or police department, rather than the state Department of Revenue.

Applicants have to be at least 19 years old (18 if a member of the Armed Forces), not been convicted or pled guilty to a crime with more than a one-year prison sentence or a misdemeanor crime of violence within five years before the application. Other requirements include not having a dishonorable discharge from the Armed Forces, receiving firearms safety training, being fingerprinted and being subject to a background check.

The county charges a $100 fee for processing concealed carry permit applications. A five-year renewal of the permit costs $50.

Because of the increased number of permits, the county recently has had to juggle some funding in the police department budget to pay the initial expense of background checks for applicants through the Missouri Highway Patrol. Those funds will be paid back to the county when individual applicants pay their fees; however, the moving of funds required approval from the St. Charles County Council.

Passage of the requisite bill came at the council’s June 29 meeting, adding $100,000 to the police department’s budget to cover the cost of the background checks.

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