Highway Patrol data on concealed carry permits show submissions numbered fewer than 1,600 in December 2016. That’s the smallest number processed in the three years of available dating back to January 2014.
No permit is necessary to carry a concealed handgun under these terms of Missouri law.
The 2016 law, SB 656, changing the conceal carry requirements leaves intact the conceal carry permitting system for persons who wish to participate in reciprocal concealed carry permit agreements when traveling to other states
Lawmakers and law enforcement officials say the drop was expected because of the new law.
Republican Cole County Sheriff John Wheeler says he still encourages people to get permits. He says they allow gun holders to carry in states with reciprocal agreements.
Wheeler also says training is helpful for understanding other gun laws and how to act in situations where holders might need to use firearms for defense.
The number of permit applications in Jasper County has dropped a total of 94 percent after the Legislature moved to get rid of the concealed-carry permit requirement, the Joplin Globe reported.
In order to get a permit, residents have to pass a background check and undergo eight hours of firearms training. The FBI still conducted 8 percent more background checks on would-be gun owners last year than in 2015, a record high in Missouri, according to agency statistics.