No-permit concealed gun law closes smaller businesses

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OZARK, Mo. (KSPR) – At the start of 2017, the new no-permit gun law went into effect across Missouri. The owner of Armed Citizen in Ozark estimates the training part of the industry has dropped nearly 300% since Senate Bill 656 passed last fall.

John Halley said while firearms business trends are constantly fluctuating, business reached an unusual high in December of 2015. “The training business was definitely booming and concealed carry was obviously a big part of that,” said Halley. He attributed numerous factors to the peak in business. “The political climate was obviously big but I think around that time it was really a combination of things… You had San Bernardino and of course violent crime in our area has really gone up.” He said many people started “rushing out to get the training and start carrying a gun to protect themselves.” Halley said his training classes were completely booked throughout the summer of 2016 two months in advance, training more than 200 people each month.

Fast-forward four months into 2017, Halley said the concealed carry permit part of the business will never be where it was. “In every state that has had some sort of permitless carry we’ve definitely seen a drastic decline in concealed carry training without the requirement of it.” Many of the part-time businesses or people who did concealed carry training as a side job are being pushed out. “There is just not as much of a market portion for them.” Halley felt confident full-time instructors throughout the Ozarks will always be around, saying the need for some sort of training will never completely disappear.

Halley said the training industry is starting to see a slight increase again because people are becoming more educated about the new law. He also said gun sales have increased. “Now that you have more people carrying a firearm you’re definitely going to see some other classes,” said Halley about training options. “A lot more people are interested in defensive pistol training, beginner pistol courses and things like that.”

Halley still encourages people to get a permit. He said there is a level of credibility and many benefits that come with it. He said it’s best for people who travel out of state and that there are still many public locations that technically require you to have one.