Consistent implementation of CCW laws


I have a bit of a rant tonight. I’ve been working with a friend of mine to start teaching concealed carry classes in Missouri. We’re at that phase where we’re trying to determine what we “legally” need to do in order to properly certify our students so they may apply for their permits from their respective county sheriffs.

Of the 4 sheriff departments we’ve queried, we’ve had four different answers. One allows you to download the form and just copy your credentials to the back of the form. Another let’s you photocopy their form, but they would like for you to fax your credentials and an outline of your class to the records office. The third mentions a state form that you need to fill out but provides no link to it. The forth wants their form notarized which outlines your credentials.

What does Missouri State law require?

1) That I be a qualified instructor according to the criteria in the law,
2) If requested, make the student’s records available to the sheriff,
3) Maintain those records for 4 years,
4) Have no more than 40 students per class, and 5 students per safety officer during the live-fire portion of the class.
5) Cover what is legally required for the training in an 8 hour class.

I have no problem with making myself known to the sheriff’s department ahead of time. If we’re going to require Missouri residents to go through some prescribed training in order to receive their concealed carry endorsement, it stands to reason that Missouri would also require me to do the same as an instructor. While I wish we had adopted the Vermont or Alaska style of permitting, this is what we have, I can’t change that.

But once I’ve met those requirements, doesn’t it seem reasonable to have a standard process for registering yourself as an instructor?? Grumble, grumble. I find it even more ironic that the county which fought the implementation of the law to have the easiest process.

Now that I’m good and frustrated, I’m off to the license branch to finish renewing my Missouri permit. You Hoosiers with your fancy lifetime permits don’t know how good you have it……..

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6 Responses to Consistent implementation of CCW laws

  1. Sailorcurt says:

    We run into these types of things here in Virginia all the time…localities trying to place more restrictions or formalities in place than state law allows for.

    Your law may have written into it discretionary measures that localities can take or your state may observe some sort of “home rule” laws that allow it, so I can’t speak to the state you live in; but here’s the process we (VCDL) follow when something like this pops up.

    1. Send a polite letter (preferably certified, return receipt) informing the senior official of the entity with the problematic rule that they are not in compliance with the law. Include excerpts of state law with section numbers in support.

    Often that is enough to get them to change their policy. Many times these issues are a matter of not understanding the law or something that “sounded good” to whoever dreamed up the regulation, but they just didn’t consider the legal implications. They had no intent to subvert state law or place a hardship on citizens, they just didn’t think it through. In those cases, usually the letter will suffice.

    2. If they don’t respond or respond in the negative, send them an FOIA request for any and all documentation regarding the discussion, formulation and implementation of this rule including e-mails, written correspondence, public announcements etc.

    If they’re hostile to you, they’ll drag their feet and/or just ignore your request. If you know any Second Amendment activist laywers in your state, this is a good time to get them involved. You may have to force them to obey the FOIA law. That’s one that public officials will try to ignore as much as possible.

    3. Armed with the documentation (you can skip step 2 if you want to, but the more supporting documentation you have the better off you are), send a letter to the office of the Attorney General in your state explaining the situation and requesting that the errant officials be formally notified by the state that they are violating state law.

    4. If that fails to do the trick, the only recourse is a lawsuit. You may have to have a student submit their paperwork (following state law to a “t”) and have it denied so that they’ll have “standing” to sue.

    Generally it never gets to step four. If the law is on your side, they won’t let it get to the lawsuit stage, but the petty tyrants among us will resist relinquishing any amount of power they have with all their might, so it can take a while.

    If your state law has an option for localities to enact further restrictions, or you are a “home rule” state that gives broad latitude to local governmental entities, you’ll have to address it from the legislative angle. A strong Second Amendment advocacy group in your state is vital for those efforts.

    It can be a real pain in the butt to get these issues resolved, but it’s worth it in the long run. You’ll be doing your fellow state citizens a service.

    No one ever said self-governance was supposed to be easy.

    “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.”
    — Thomas Paine

  2. KC Lowlife says:

    I’m sorry to hear you’re having such trouble dealing with the different sheriffs.

    There’s one thing you can also bring to bear on Sheriffs that Curt didn’t mention. They’re elected officials. I don’t know at what point in Curt’s 4 steps I would insert it, but at some point I would definitely mention to the sheriffs that they are elected officials, this is a hotbed issue at the moment due to all the crime from unemployment and that you are willing to contact the local papers and TV stations and inform them that their sheriff is not applying state law as it was written. I definitely wouldn’t start with this tactic, but it is one of the ones I would implore if you want them to change.

    On the other hand, if you’re like me and just need to rant to get out the frustration… Well you’ve done that. I make waves when I need to and it will help the public good. But if it’s just a lack of consistency it might be easier to just go along. For that matter, you could always just keep this information in your back pocket and if the sheriffs ever start giving you grief about your classes for no good reason you’d have something to fire back at them.

  3. KC Lowlife says:

    I meant employ, not implore, in the second paragraph. *Must proofread better*

  4. LeadChucker says:

    The thing of it is, I have NEVER had any issues with the sheriff’s office in my county. Back when we had to get a purchase permit for handguns, they were quick, polite, and efficient. No muss, no fuss. The CCW permitting process was super easy the first time through, and the renewal was even easier.

    In Missouri, once you have the permit from the sheriff, you have to take the permit to the license branch to get an ID card made. The records clerk told me to take a birth certificate, even though not required, she’s known the license branch to get finicky about such things and wanted to make the process easier.

    So I’m hesitant to make any waves with any one sheriff’s office. A majority of our students will initially come from two counties, both of which are pretty easy to deal with. My county has made it easy, just fax them my credentials, and all is good. The other doesn’t seem to care.

    Not that I have any issues with Curt’s suggestions, but addressing this county by county (we have 115 entities to deal with) seems extremely time consuming. I wonder if the better route would be to contact my state rep to talk about authoring a bill to change the language regarding the presentation of instructor credentials.

  5. KC Lowlife says:

    Your experiences with your sheriff sound very similar to mine. Usually polite, professional and ready to help.

    I don’t know for a fact, but I strongly suspect that you’ll have the same issues no matter what bills are passed at the state. These guys kind of like to cook up their own rules to see who will buck. But I’m a bit of a pessimist too. Best of luck either way.

  6. We run into these types of things here in Virginia all the time…localities trying to place more restrictions or formalities in place than state law allows for. Your law may have written into it discretionary measures that localities can take or your state may observe some sort of “home rule” laws that allow it, so I can’t speak to the state you live in; but here’s the process we (VCDL) follow when something like this pops up. 1. Send a polite letter (preferably certified, return receipt) informing the senior official of the entity with the problematic rule that they are not in compliance with the law. Include excerpts of state law with section numbers in support. Often that is enough to get them to change their policy. Many times these issues are a matter of not understanding the law or something that “sounded good” to whoever dreamed up the regulation, but they just didn’t consider the legal implications. They had no intent to subvert state law or place a hardship on citizens, they just didn’t think it through. In those cases, usually the letter will suffice. 2. If they don’t respond or respond in the negative, send them an FOIA request for any and all documentation regarding the discussion, formulation and implementation of this rule including e-mails, written correspondence, public announcements etc. If they’re hostile to you, they’ll drag their feet and/or just ignore your request. If you know any Second Amendment activist laywers in your state, this is a good time to get them involved. You may have to force them to obey the FOIA law. That’s one that public officials will try to ignore as much as possible. 3. Armed with the documentation (you can skip step 2 if you want to, but the more supporting documentation you have the better off you are), send a letter to the office of the Attorney General in your state explaining the situation and requesting that the errant officials be formally notified by the state that they are violating state law. 4. If that fails to do the trick, the only recourse is a lawsuit. You may have to have a student submit their paperwork (following state law to a “t”) and have it denied so that they’ll have “standing” to sue. Generally it never gets to step four. If the law is on your side, they won’t let it get to the lawsuit stage, but the petty tyrants among us will resist relinquishing any amount of power they have with all their might, so it can take a while. If your state law has an option for localities to enact further restrictions, or you are a “home rule” state that gives broad latitude to local governmental entities, you’ll have to address it from the legislative angle. A strong Second Amendment advocacy group in your state is vital for those efforts. It can be a real pain in the butt to get these issues resolved, but it’s worth it in the long run. You’ll be doing your fellow state citizens a service. No one ever said self-governance was supposed to be easy. “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.” — Thomas Paine

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