BENTON -- Confusion reigned Friday as sheriffs across Missouri struggled with when, whether and how to begin taking concealed gun applications from residents following a complex ruling by the state's highest court.
Sheriff departments in Southeast Missouri are taking the wait-and-see attitude.
Scott County Sheriff Bill Ferrell said his office was prepared to start the concealed weapon application process Monday morning but a last minute notice from the Missouri Sheriff's Association pointed out a problem with the fees to be charged.
Ferrell said his office would not be accepting applications for concealed weapon permits Monday as planned. As soon as the funding issue is corrected in the statute, the sheriff said his office will immediately begin the application process.
The Sheriff Departments in Mississippi, New Madrid, Stoddard and Pemiscot counties also reported they have not begun taking applications, pending further review.
While several rural sheriffs began signing people up for concealed-carry permits Friday, just one day after the Missouri Supreme Court many others took the more cautious approach similar to area sheriffs while legal analysts dissected a second part of the ruling, which said the law could amount to an unconstitutional, unfunded mandate on counties.
The Supreme Court said just four of Missouri's 114 counties did not have to implement the law. At trial, testimony on the cost of implementing concealed carry was presented for those four counties.
Still, the court's ruling left a clear path for similar cost claims to be raised elsewhere.
The Missouri Sheriffs' Association, in a letter sent late Friday afternoon to its members, said sheriffs ''should begin to prepare to accept applications.'' But the group suggested it would take several days, at best, for sheriffs to calculate the appropriate fees to charge applicants as a result of the court ruling.
The Associated Press also provided information for this article