ROLLA – Since August of last year, issuing concealed carry weapons permits has been the responsibility of local sheriff's departments.
Senate Bill 75, passed last year, transferred the responsibility from the Department of Revenue (driver's license stations) to county sheriffs.
At first, there was some concern as to how some sheriffs would pay for the equipment and the extra man hours.
But here in Phelps County, most of that concern has been alleviated.
"We just got the equipment in about 30 days ago, and now we're just trying to get the glitches out," said Phelps County Sheriff Rick Lisenbe.
Lisenbe said the Missouri Sheriffs' Association provided the new system, which includes a computer system and a printer.
"The association applied for a grant and got it,” the sheriff said. “They say once it's up and functioning, it's our responsibility."
The new system is connected to a statewide network, allowing sheriffs fast access to information that could take days and even weeks to find.
The printer prints a CCW permit quickly, which for the last several months was a somewhat laborious task.
"We were making our own with a laminating machine," the sheriff said. "There was no reason for us not to issue these permits, so we started laminated our own."
Another change to the CCW procedure includes the renewal price and time period. The three-year renewal for $35 is now a five-year renewal for $50.
Currently, the department handles 20 to 30 CCW applications per week, the sheriff said.
First-time applicants for a CCW permit must complete a course with an approved instructor, bring his or her paperwork to the department for processing and submit to fingerprinting and a background check. The cost for fingerprinting and the background check is $100.
Once approved, the applicant will be notified by phone.
When the law went into effect last summer, Lisenbe said his only complaint was the lack of funding.
"Nobody had any issues with it at all," Lisenbe told The Leader-Journal last year. "We're doing the biggest part of it anyway, so why not just do this part too?
"Right now we want to allow all 114 sheriffs to have the same type of equipment and for everyone to do it the same way. That way, it's a no-brainer, and we can do it all together.
"The good thing is I get to see a lot of the people who come in and apply for it," Lisenbe said. "Other than just running you through a computer, I get to look through the computer and see if we've been called to your house.
“There are things we can do that they don't get to do with a regular criminal history check.
"A lot of these people I know already. And who better to do this than your local sheriff?