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The wife and I have had our conceal carry permits for some time now, and the time to renew rolled around again late in 2013. Honestly, I dread dealing with the government at all, so I put it off for as long as possible. Finally, on a day we both had a little spare time, we headed downtown. My wife, wise in the ways of the world, suggested calling ahead to make sure they were going to be open until 5:00. I called the Sheriff’s office and a pleasant woman said yes, they’d be open until 5:00, but that the deputy in charge of renewing licenses wouldn’t take renewals after 4:00 PM for some inexplicable reason. Since it was 3:50 PM at the time, we knew we weren’t going to make it, turned around and headed back home . . .

A few days later, I arrived at the Civil Courts building. It’s a magnificent edifice, an embodiment of the ideals of justice, even as its minions inside struggle to meet those ideals. I walked in, strolled past the “no guns allowed sign” and headed up to the Sheriff’s office. My cell phone said 3:52 PM, but on that particular day, the deputy in charge of CCW renewals decided that 4:00 came at 3:52.

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I left pissed off, even though the receptionist was as pleasant as one could expect. Then I did what any resident who’d been ill-served by city government should do – I called my alderman and complained.

I returned again a day or two later and was met by the same pleasant lady. She’s a small woman, soft spoken. Her desk faces the people who walk in and she’s quick to rise and meet them at the counter. On the desk, she has some very positive notes about being kind and thoughtful – I wish I had taken a photo to share. My point is that this woman was a tremendous ambassador for the city’s government and my ire at the previous inconvenience evaporated with her smiling professionalism.

My arrival this time was early enough not to qualify as “after 4:00 PM” even by the loosest definition, and the deputy – the same guy – was willing to process my paperwork. Lucky me. I paid my 50 bucks (plus an extra 10 for being late) and in short order he handed me the piece of paper that is my new permit.

While the permit has an official state seal on it, it’s still just a slip of paper. Apparently the state law has changed and your permit no longer needs to be processed by the Department of Motor Vehicles, which means instead of a slick, well-manufactured ID card with my mug on it, my new permit is a slip of paper that looks like it was cobbled together by an office manager with Microsoft Word and a laser printer.

On one hand, I’m delighted to be finished with the process and can skip a trip to the DMV. On the other, this seems a bit cheesy, beneath the gravity of the permit itself. Will other states know that this slip of paper is the official State of Missouri permit? The deputy, who is an otherwise pleasant enough fellow, let me know that the state has yet to fully get its act together and provide the fancy system needed to make official state IDs. I’m free to laminate my card if I want, but I can’t make a copy. Only the original version that’s countersigned by his boss is the real deal. On the upside, the permit is now good for five years. On the downside, I have to make a slip of copy paper last for five years in my wallet.

Weeks later, my wife and I head downtown again. We have to go through the metal detector, and I go first. Then she places her purse on the conveyor. I can see the X-ray and the colorful shadow I see looks like something James Bond would use to battle Goldfinger. The deputy looks a bit perplexed – and I blurt out “Honey, did you grab 007’s purse by mistake?”

My wife had a metal business card case, a cell phone and a spare cell battery that, when combined with a metal flashlight, happened to fall in her purse in the shape of a firearm – (one that I wouldn’t mind reviewing for TTAG).

Our return trip to the Sheriff’s office was pleasant and quick enough. The same woman who has always been sweet and helpful was there again, and the deputy in charge of CCWs thought our story of the metal detector was both funny and prescient – a few months earlier inattention had allowed a firearm into the building.

“So what” was my thought, but I’m a believer in the “shoot back” theory of controlling gun violence. While we waited, I made the acquaintance of a former cop who was renewing his permit. In the course of our conversation, he expressed concern that so little training was needed to get a permit, and none at all for a renewal. Even though he believed that gun violence was on the decline thanks to concealed carry, he still held to the common police attitude toward “untrained civilians”.  I invited him shooting, so hopefully over time I can disabuse his contempt of civilian.

The Second Amendment is my permit, or more accurately, my right to keep and bear arms is part and parcel of being a free citizen before God. While the requirement for a permit offends my inner libertarian, so far the process has been relatively painless, and the trend – at least in Missouri – is moving in the right direction. Constitutional carry may be closer than we think here in the Show-Me State.

50 Responses to Navigating CCW Renewal in the City of St. Louis

  1. And that, in a nutshell, encapsulates why I have so little regard, in general, for cops. Show respect, get shown respect.

  2. Here in AZ, I don’t actually need a permit, but having one offers better legal protection, plus reciprocity in other states. So, I renew my permit when needed… all they want is the money. I was an NRA- and AZ-certified instructor for many years, and I practice every week, so I’m not too concerned about being qualified.

    • I was planning to get my permit for the same reasons you mentioned, but opted to support constitutional carry instead by not applying. I took the required training classes anyway, so if the need ever arises to defend myself legally I can at least question what part of fingerprinting, a monetary donation and a card should afford me privileges that the training does not. Not that I expect the government to support me after refusing to pay their bribe application fee, but at least a point would be made. Besides, I think my odds of ending up in court are too remote to warrant much concern.

      Meanwhile, I noticed recently that Oklahoma apparently honors reciprocity to AZ residents with nothing more than a driver license required. Would be nicer if neighboring states did, but maybe someday….

  3. Dude – move out of the city and into the county. Last I checked – Renewal in STL County is FREE!!! The STL sheriff deputy in charge of the county is pro-ccw. And it takes only 3min. Yes, you have to laminate it yourself but c’mon. Renewal is FREE!! Lamination is $2 at kinkos/fed ex.

    Plus you are paying 1% tax for the privilege of living in the city along w higher insurance rates and a Bloomberg MAIG wanna be in Francois Slay (the dragon).

    I am sure Zimmerman told you the same thing.

      • you will save more in insurance and lower taxes, less crime, less stress, better roads, schools, quality of life, etc.

        • Dirk is right. I used to live downtown and the higher car insurance and insane 1% income tax was a real kick in the balls.

      • Tim, a buddy of mine renewed his last year in St. Charles County and if I’m not mistaken, they (Jeff City) mailed him his new permit. He was told not to CC until the new permit came from the state. I think taking the DMV out of the equation was because of Governor Nixon’s shenanigans with giving the Feds access to CCW info. I won’t see him for awhile, so I can only go by what he told and showed me (his new permit).

  4. I’m on the opposite side of the state, and plan on getting my conceal/carry permit this year. I grew up in New York State, and the process for obtaining a concealed weapon permit is one of the many things I really like about living here.

  5. Well here in Pierce County, WA we now have to go to the LESA building in Tacoma (Law Enforcement Support Agency) at least we do not have to go through the metal detectors in the county/city building anymore. However it is now a bigger PITA than before as at the time I renewed my permit a year ago there is only one person qualified in the county to do the finger printing and the state in all their genius decided that all strippers in WA need to be fingerprinted.
    I talked my brother into getting his CPL, we got there at noon and the cut off was 3pm for fingerprinting, he missed the cut, but lucky for me they still did renewals till 4pm. I think I spent 4 hours doing something that could easily be done online.
    Also WA CPL’s are a piece of paper too, I always opt for the lamination, it’s just a couple bucks. Good for 5 years too. $55 for first time, $35 renewal if it is before the expiration date, always renew early, as they mail it to you even for renewals.

    • mmm, strippers. . . . . that is what we call a target rich environment, esp if they are a little behind on their rent and just want a sugar daddy. . . . 🙂

    • I also went to LESA in Tacoma (That’s LESA, Dirk, not Lisa). I waited a long time, not wanting to lose a day of work, then when I finally went for the renewal there were only two of us in the place! Everyone was efficient and pleasant, especially the old guy that did my fingerprints. The only real complaint I have is that the laminated CPL simply DOES NOT fit into any convenient slot in my wallet! Still working on a solution to that.

  6. That’s a pretty piss poor cc permit by any standard. Arizona’s permit is a nice drivers license piece of plastic, and New Mexico’s even has your DL picture on it (of course, for 100 bucks it freakin better!). Course there are other things about NM’s permit that suck, like that its only good for 2 years, or that you have to qualify by caliber AND gun type, but at least it isn’t difficult to get.

  7. You have to renew your permit IN PERSON?

    My god, that’s horrible.

    In AZ we put a money order in the mail to DPS and a couple days later the new permit shows up courtesy of the US Postal Storage Service.

  8. My very first permit was cardstock, laminated (like drivers licenses and the like used to be). That was a sheriff’s office that suddenly decided to behave as “shall issue” and broke the logjam blocking shall-issue legislation. 1995. So I am one of the very longest holding people in Colorado.

    My subsequent permits have all been on plastic.

    Renewals are technically painful here but us “pre shall issue” people are statistically never a problem, so I was handed my permit that day and told if I heard from them in two months I’d have to give it back.

  9. Just the concept of having to obtain a license to exercise a civil right is abhorrent. I think the same fools in charge of this requirement also are opposed to voter ID.

    • Word. Still, until we knock some sense into the political and judicial system and recover our Constitutional rights, it’s less abhorrent than spending time in jail.

  10. In California, they don’t call it “rice paper” for nothing. And it costs $150 for the initial, plus 16 hours of training $175 and up, depending on your instructor). Fortunately, renewals are only four hours of training, and in most places it is just a class in “recent developments in the law”. Some counties require you to redocument your “good cause,” (special threats of harm, etc.), others are essentially shall issue such that “personal defense” is sufficient good cause and lasts forever.

  11. Here in Fla., the first in the nation CCW license state, we have reached over 1 million permit holders. It gets easier everytime. They have actually reduced the fee, and extended the valid time to 7 years. Mail in everything, and about 3-4 weeks later, you’re good to go. (renewal)

    • I have nothing but praise for Florida’s smooth and speedy CCW process. I sent in the packet a week before Christmas two years ago. I expected the delay over the holidays would result in delivery of the CCW about mid-March. It arrived in the first week of the new year.

    • I wonder, except I don’t wonder for even one second, whether Florida’s smooth concealed carry licensing process is so smooth because it isn’t administered by law enforcement. Rather, it’s conducted by their state Dept. of Agriculture. Yes, I’m sure the D of A does have actual law enforcement agents on the payroll somewhere, since they do cover quite a bit of regulatory territory; but I’m talking about traditional law enforcement, like a state bureau of investigation, department of public safety, local PD, etc. Get the hard core cops out of the equation and concealed carry licensing all of a sudden becomes as routine as a library card.

  12. In clark county NV you get a nice thick plastic CCW. But in Esmeralda a little north of clark I work as a jailer in the small town jail and they issue a completely different ccw. Its on paper and then laminated so in Nevada it depends on what county you are in on what type of permit you will get.

  13. I live in Illinois! QUIT WHINING!

    Thanks to the NRA and ISRA my application for CCW will be submitted Jan 5 2014.

    Qualifications:

    Already have FOID….Firearm Owners Identification Card..Can’t possess a firearm in Illinois or buy ammunition IF you are a resident.

    16 Hours of certified training….costs? $320 and I trained LEOS in the ’80s….been shooting for 40 years. Shoot ‘expert’ with shotgun and many NFA firearms. Traveled coast to coast demonstrating firearms….:(
    Digital ID…look it up for god’s sake!
    ‘Digitized’ pic….OK easy

    ‘Livescan’ fingerprints….another $50 or so….many have to travel a considerable distance to get this….only ISP approved vendors….

    AND the ISP ONLY takes applications ON LINE! I know several Ancient Citizens that have just thrown up their hands! THEY carry ANYWAY!

    THEN I have to wait 90 days!

    SLAP THAT GUY FROM MISSOURI!

    • Sounds like they have all the information they need to know where to go to get your guns, and who to go after if they can’t find them.

      Sorta makes civil disobedience a moot point when they have all that data.

    • $320 is pretty expensive. Mine was only $225 (Lyons, IL). The required class is bullcrap; no reason that I couldn’t demonstrate the same level of marksmanship and knowledge of the law with a short test at the local PD.

    • Prints are not required, but the State of Illinois has an additional 30 days to get you a permit if you do not submit prints.

      You also forgot to tell them that by submitting our applications we waive our right to privacy of our medical records and give the state full access to that information.

  14. Renewing in Jackson County, MO stinks. You have to call the Sheriff and get an appointment based on the date closest to the permit expiration. Too bad if that date doesn’t work for you. OTOH, the lady at the office was quite nice and the process was fairly quick.

    • I didn’t make an appointment. I just showed up at the Sheriff’s office. They are slow as heck, they wait until the last possible moment to issue,

      BTW – don’t you love the MRAP with the smiley face on the rear hatch in the parking lot?

      • Yeah that is cool. I haven’t had the need to “renew” yet, (New issue Feb of 2013) but the process was smooth and fast once you get pass the closet of a waiting room.

  15. In Iowa the sheriff SHALL issue a permit and MAY issue a photo ID weapons permit. I live in a county with a sheriff with a (D) by his name, so I get a Xerox that can’t even be folded into anything resembling the size of a credit card. Laminating it should keep it in decent shape for 5 years, but I do worry that I’ll run into an ignorant cop out of state and have to sit in jail for 72 hours while they figure out their mistake.

  16. I’m going to Kansas City in April for a conference at IHOP. My only worry is transporting my weapon through Illinois, as they don’t have reciprocity.

    • Illinois’ “new” law allows out-of-staters, who possess permits for their own state, to carry a loaded weapon on their person IN their car only. If you leave the vicinity of the vehicle, the gun must be unloaded and in a container; if you’re just driving straight through, then carry as per usual. There is no duty to inform officers until asked (if you get pulled over).

        • Nevermind, found it. I remember reading this back when it was posted, but didn’t really note it as I had no plans to travel to or through IL at the time.

  17. PA is relatively in expensive, It’s been a while, I don’t remember how much, but I feel that any cost and any license is too much.

    My state (or county at least) is the opposite, when it comes to the paper/cards, we have moved from chintzy slips of paper to driver license like id’s. I’ll be getting the new plastic card when I have to renew my ltcf in ~two years.

    Happy New Year!

  18. In “shall issue” New Hampshire as a resident, you stop by the local PD, fill out the application, pay your $10 and pick up your Pistol & Revolver License a few days later. As I recall, they called me to let me know it was all set the next day. Good for 4 years. No fingerprints and pretty simple. Besides obvious complaint that as a citizen I need a “License” at all is that is an odd size paper document that has to be folded multiple times to fit in my wallet.

  19. For anyone living in STL County, do not go to Clayton to renew/apply for your CCW near the end of the month. The office also processes private security permits, and they stack up at the end of the month. Try to get there before the 15th, and it isn’t very crowded.

  20. I renewed my conceal carry in Missouri (specifically St. Louis County). Process was straightforward and painless. I got a piece of paper that was my temporary permit. My official CCW/State ID card came in the mail about 3 weeks later.
    So I don’t know why you just got a piece of paper, you should be getting a card in the mail.

  21. I just did my renew in Clayton, St. Louis County.

    The process was easy – – walk in, give my old permit and drivers license to the clerk… wait 40 minutes for my name to be called (Background checks and stuff!), then give the clerk $40 and she gave me my renewed permit and off I go.

    There is a gotch ya… be forewarned, If you are going in before your current permit is actually expiring, that your renewed permit starts, and expires the day you have it done. A bit of a rip off.

    My old permit expired on September 28th, but my new one expires on September 2nd, because I went in early. (in case there was a problem, I wanted some time to stringent things out before my old permit actually expired.) So I lost 26 days of my old permit – which I paid for…

    Leave it to your government to rip you off – legally.

  22. So basically your one of those people that is always late or waits to the last second and you take you frustration out on everyone else.

    Maby next time you renew it a few weeks early and go into their office at 10am. Call me crazy but that is what I do.

  23. Just got home from renewal of my ccw in St. Louis County. Didn’t have a problem with the system at all. I had been to breakfast with the guys from church, went into Clayton and parked a block away. I parked at 8am and was in Maplewood by 834. That’s 4 miles in traffic south. In and out with a plastic card good for 5 years. And $40 bucks to renew isn’t bad.

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