Law enforcement academy fires off new weapons class

Hobie Brown

If you want to carry a concealed weapon in the state of Missouri, you may want to pay attention before strapping your piece on and heading out into the public.

The Missouri Southern Law Enforcement Academy offers a conceal and carry class for those wanting to get a permit to carry a firearm in public.

“The state of Missouri passed the legislation to carry concealed weapons in 2004,” said Wayne Thomason, department head of the Criminal Justice department. “Part of the legislation includes several steps anyone must go through to get their permit. The first step is they must apply at the sheriff’s office in the county in which they reside. Secondly, they must undergo a background check, which is done by the sheriff’s office to ensure the individual hasn’t been convicted of any serious felonies or any misdemeanors involving violence or weapons. They also are required to go through an eight-hour training session at an approved provider.

“The Missouri Southern Law Enforcement Academy was the first provider to provide training to citizens on conceal and carry in the state of Missouri.”

The class entails a set guideline established by the legislation.

“The first four hours covers the conceal carry law itself, the procedures part, getting a conceal carry permit, the provisions of the law, where they are prohibited to carry a gun, firearm statues, and use of force statues,” Thomason said. “The afternoon session involves firing the firearms and target shooting.”

One must connect with the target with 15 of the 20 rounds they are provided to shoot with at a distance of seven feet.

“The legislation also requires that the individual can show how to properly load and unload a weapon and using safety procedures,” Thomason said. “The participants must show how to load and unload the weapon to the instructors.”

Other topics included in the class are storing the concealed weapon in a vehicle and in the home and gun cleaning.

Some may wonder if they are allowed to bring their own weapon to the class. Thomason said bringing your own weapon would be beneficial.

“We encourage the bringing of your own gun so you can get used to it,” he said. “The class offers free gun inspections, so getting your weapon checked out is very beneficial.”

For someone who doesn’t bring their own weapon, an additional fee is charged for ammunition for the usage of the school’s weapons.

The permits are issued through the sheriff’s office, and last for three years.

“As long as you have the permits reissued through the sheriff’s office, you don’t have to retake the class,” Thomason said. “If your license expires, then you have to go through the training again.”

The concealed carry classes are offered every third Saturday every other month, with an average class size of 25 to 40 participants.

The cost of the course is $95. Participants are required to bring their firearm, eye protection, ear protection and 50 rounds of ammunition. Participants who do not supply their own firearm and ammunition must pay an additional $25 charge.

The fee for the course must be prepaid. The fee for the three-year concealed carry permit is $100.

Persons may contact the Southern Law Enforcement Academy for information and upcoming class dates.