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Some counties aren't ready to issue concealed-carry permits
Missouri sheriff's offices on Wednesday were to begin issuing concealed-carry permits as a result of a lawsuit filed in Stoddard County over the copying of personal identification records by a license bureau.
At least, that was supposed to happen.
Sheriff's offices already were responsible for handling permit paperwork and fingerprinting required for background checks. They now will issue concealed-carry permits, preventing a trip for applicants from a sheriff's office to a license office to have a permit printed. Personal documents no longer will be scanned.
With the change comes the need for required technology so sheriff's offices can issue the permits.
But in third-class, or the smallest, counties such as Bollinger County, sheriff's offices still are waiting to receive grant money from the Missouri Sheriffs' Association to purchase software that allows them to issue the permits, according to Bollinger County Sheriff Darin Shell.
"It's kind of put all of us third-class counties in a bad position," he said.
The Bollinger County Sheriff's Office should be ready to issue concealed-carry permits by the end of the year.
"Until then, we're not really prepared," he said.
Another issue with the statute that went into effect Wednesday is the way it reads, Shell said. It suggests sheriff's departments do not have to operate in that manner until 2014.
In Senate Bill No. 75, section 57.100 states: "Beginning January 1, 2014, every sheriff shall maintain, house and issue concealed carry permits as specified under chapter 571."
Section 571.101 of the bill states: "For the purposes of this chapter, 'concealed carry permit' shall include any concealed-carry endorsement issued by the department of revenue before January 1, 2014, and any concealed carry document issued by any sheriff or under the authority of any sheriff after December 31, 2013."
"There's a big gray area there, as to who will be responsible from now until the beginning of the year," Shell said.
Until the office receives the grant money allowing them complete the permitting process in the office, Shell said they will operate as usual by handling concealed-carry permit paperwork and then sending applicants to the Department of Revenue to have a permit issued.
"Once we get the grant money, we will be up and going pretty quickly," Shell said.
In December 2012, the Missouri Department of Revenue began making electronic copies of concealed-carry permit applicants' personal documents, including birth certificates, Social Security numbers and concealed-carry permits. The policy accompanied the department's shift to a centralized system, where the cards were printed and mailed by a single contractor instead of being produced at Missouri license offices. Department officials defended the system as a cost-saver and the retention of scanned documents as a security measure intended to fight fraud.
An Advance, Mo., man filed a lawsuit after being told his personal documents would have to be scanned, and if he did not comply, he would not receive an endorsement for a concealed-carry permit.
Nixon stopped the scanning and retention of concealed-carry permits in April, and the legislature moved the processing of the permits to sheriff's offices.
Bollinger County, MO