Commission approves concealed weapons ordinance
By Ben Holman
On Dec. 1, the Vernon County Commission approved an amendment to ordinance number 35 relating to weapons being carried on county property.
According to commissioners, the ordinance, which was passed in October of 2003 in response to Missouri's new concealed firearms law, did not go far enough to ensure that weapons were not brought into county buildings, such as the courthouse. "The old ordinance only referred to firearms," said presiding commissioner David Darnold. He said that the newly amended ordinance prohibits all weapons on County property, whether concealed or not, with the exception of those who are legally required to carry a weapon in the course of their employment, such as police officers.
In addition to firearms, the new ordinance now includes, "any ... knife, blackjack, or any other weapon readily capable of lethal use into the Vernon County courthouse or any other county building, whether concealed or not ...."
The new ordinance also details action that may be taken against those who violate the ordinance.
The old ordinance simply said that anyone in violation would be simply asked to leave county property -- the amended ordinance now states that those with a "concealed carry" permit who carry a firearm onto county property will be asked to leave.
It also states that anyone in violation of the ordinance will be subject to prosecution for weapons charges under Missouri law.
Since Missouri passed the law allowing citizens to carry concealed firearms, Vernon County Sheriff Ron Peckman reports that 73 concealed carry permits have been issued by his office.
Under the law, Missouri residents over the age of 23 who have not been convicted of, or currently charged with, a felony, not been convicted of a crime of violence within the last five years nor had two or more misdemeanor driving while intoxicated offenses, not been dishonorably discharged from the armed forces, not been a respondent of a valid order of protection that is still in effect, nor been judged mentally incompetent in the last five years -- and who have passed an eight hour firearms training course -- may receive a concealed weapons permit.
Permits can be obtained through the Vernon County Sheriff's Office.