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      New gun law makes it easier to open carry

      Columbia firearms instructor Jim Hill said itâ??s better to conceal your weapon than carry it openly.

      Missouri lawmakers overrode Governor Jay Nixon's veto of a bill that changes several gun laws.

      The measure would lower the age for a concealed-carry permit to 19.

      It will also let anyone with a concealed carry permit to carry a firearm openly anywhere in the state and set training standards for teachers selected to serve as armed school protection officers.

      The measure also makes it a crime to carry a firearm while possessing a controlled substance.

      The law also makes it easier for Missourians to openly carry their weapons.

      Columbia firearms instructor Jim Hill said Missouriâ??s new gun law will likely encourage more gun owners to open carry. Hill said itâ??s better to conceal your weapon.

      Hill said, â??In Columbia if somebody walks down the street carrying a firearm, 911 becomes overloaded. That is an issue for public safety. If people canâ??t get through for a real emergency because there are people who donâ??t understand the law and are uneducated, it just creates a hazard for the community. Plus, we discourage it because if you are walking around with open carry and somebody burglarizes are robs your place, you are going to be the first target.â??

      Last year, Columbia Public School Board members rejected the idea of letting 2 retired police officers carry guns. The retired officers are the districtâ??s safety and security directors. Board members are expected to look at the issue again because of the new gun law.

      Columbia Public Schools spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said, â??This will just be an opportunity to bring that discussion back to the forefront and give the school district and the board of education an opportunity to have a similar discussion.â??

      Boone County Sheriffâ??s Investigator Tom Oâ??Sullivan said the new gun law will not change his departmentâ??s policies. He said it doesnâ??t matter if more people open carry.

      Oâ??Sullivan said, â??We really havenâ??t had any problems with people who legally conceal and carry. I anticipate that we wonâ??t have problems with this new law.â??

      Oâ??Sullivan said the new law should not have a big impact on Missouri gun owners. He said most people with conceal and carry permits prefer to keep their guns out of sight.

      The new gun law starts in about a month.
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