BENTON - After nearly a month of accepting applications for permits to carry concealed firearms, the Scott County Sheriff's Department still has under 100 background checks to conduct.
"We've taken 70 applications," said Captain Jerry Bledsoe said. "We've actually issued no permits."
As the longest possible wait for applicants is 45 days, the first permits will be issued on May 15 at the very latest. "If we have not received the criminal history check back, we have to go ahead and issue the permit," Bledsoe said. "Then if something comes back on the background check after that, you have to address it at that time."
April 1, the first day carrying concealed weapon permits applications were accepted in Scott County, was the busiest day. April 2 was nearly as busy, and the number of applications tapered off from there.
"They're trickling in now," said Bledsoe. "Yesterday we had two. It kind of goes in spurts."
Bledsoe said there doesn't seem to be any increase in the number of applications for permits to acquire a handgun or concealable weapon.
"It appears that the folks that probably already had handguns have come in," he said.
Bledsoe said he thinks most applicants for concealed guns won't actually carry weapons on a daily basis.
"I'm sure that some of these people are just getting these to have them in case someday they would want to carry a concealed weapon," he said.
Pemiscot County Sheriff Tommy Greenwell said Monday that his office will begin accepting and processing concealed firearm permit applications May 3.
According to a press release from the Pemiscot Sheriff's Department, sheriffs have been advised by the Attorney General's Office to take whatever action they deem proper given the failure of the legislature to clarify the concealed gun bill.
Greenwell asked county residents to be patient with his office as this is a new process and it may take some time before it is streamlined.
The fee in Pemiscot County will be $62 plus $38 for the fingerprint criminal history check from the Missouri State Highway Patrol and FBI.
Payments may be made in cash or with separate money orders made payable to the "Pemiscot County Sheriff's Revolving Fund" and "MSHP Criminal History Records Fund."
Applicants must be 23 years of age; provide proof of training from a qualified firearms safety instructor; and have a valid Missouri drivers license, non-driver license or military identification.
Greenwell said those over the age of 21 who have a permitted concealable gun can legally conceal it in their vehicle without having a permit to carry concealed weapons.
Terry Burns, administrative director for the Mississippi County Sheriff's Department, said Sheriff Larry Turley is "still waiting to hear from the Missouri Sheriff's Association" before making a decision on issuing applications for concealed firearm permits.
The New Madrid County Sheriff's Department will begin accepting and processing applications May 5.
The department will accept applications only on Wednesdays from 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.
The cost will be $38 in a money order made out to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Scott County residents may apply for concealed weapon permits weekdays from 8:30 a.m.-noon or from 1--5 p.m. at the Sheriff's Office in Benton. Permits to purchase or acquire a handgun are also available at the Sheriff's Office.
Applicants in Pemiscot County should call the Sheriff's Office during business hours, 9-11:30 a.m. or 1-4 p.m. Monday through Friday, at 333-4101 to make an application processing appointment.