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Gun retailers gear up for training

September 18, 2003
By: Stephanie Hockridge
State Capital Bureau

The House and Senate have successfully legalized concealed weapons and Missouri firearm retailers are focused on what will happen next. Here is Stephanie Hockridge with the story.

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Ever since lawmakers overturned the governor's veto, gun retailers in Missouri have been rushing to start conceal and training classes as soon as possible.

Richard Buchanon, owner of Whetstone Gun Shop in Auxvasse, says that it could take less than a week to train someone:

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"IT WOULD PROBABLY TAKE A COUPLE OF DAYS 'CAUSE THERE HAS TO BE A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF HANDLING AND A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF ACTUALLY SHOOTING."

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Other gun dealers, such as Ammo Alley located in Jefferson City, are halfway through building an indoor range and classroom facilities so that training can be available on the spot.

Training classes are expected to include eight hours of classroom instruction and an additional amount of live fire training.

Ammo Alley owner Doug Alley anticipates the training program will be successful due to the strong interest Missouri residents have expressed so far:

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"ROUNDABOUT ESTIMATE I'D SAY WE'RE PROBABLY RECEIVING ANYWHERE BETWEEN SIXTY AND SEVENTY PHONE CALLS PER DAY."

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Alley says that many of the phone calls are difficult to respond to:

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"A LOT OF IT IS JUST QUESTIONS, YOU KNOW, WHAT DO WE HAVE TO DO IN ORDER TO DO THIS AND ARE YOU GOING TO BE HOLDING CLASSES AND A LOT OF IT WE DON'T KNOW THE ANSWERS JUST YET."

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The Polk County Sheriff's Office says they don't have the information either.

They are waiting for the bill to be finalized before taking any action.

However, not all gun shops plan to offer on the spot training programs.

Lee Brandkamp owns Powder Horn Guns and Sporting Goods in Columbia.

He plans to send his customers to the Green Valley Rifle and Pistol Club in Hallsville:

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"THERE'S GONNA BE SEVERAL PLACES AROUND THAT INDIVIDUALS ARE GONNA BE ABLE TO GET TRAINING. WHAT WE'RE PROBABLY GOING TO DO IS RELY ON ONE OF THE REPUTABLE GUN CLUBS HERE IN TOWN."

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Brandkamp says that he doesn't want to offer training sessions because he doesn't need the business:

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"OTHER SHOPS THAT DON'T SELL MUCH MERCHANDISE ARE JUST LOOKING FOR AN EXTRA WAY TO MAKE ANOTHER BUCK."

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"I DON'T NEED CONCEAL AND CARRY CLASSES TO KEEP MY DOOR OPEN."

Brandkamp says that such training classes would be another source of income for Green Valley.

He says that he would rather support the gun club and see it flourish and continue on for generations.

From the state Capitol, I'm Stephanie Hockridge.