Deputies and employees of the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office will soon start to change -- in looks that is. Starting October 1, they will begin growing beards and/or dressing down, as sheriff's office has once again kicked off its annual internal fundraiser to support a county children's charity that provides Christmas gifts to those children in Lawrence County in need at Christmas time.

Under normal protocol, deputies must be clean-shaven and in a standard class A or B uniform while on duty. However, in an effort to raise money for the charity, they may pay a fine during the months of October, November and December to grow facial hair or chose an alternate uniform.

"So if you see a 'hairy' deputy or one that doesn't appear to be in a normal uniform, please be patient. It's for a wonderful cause," said Sheriff Brad DeLay. "Come January 1, 2019, they will be back to 'normal.'"

Message from the sheriff

The Lawrence County Sheriff's Office has received calls regarding CCW (carrying a concealed weapon) permits and Missouri's new law and whether or not Missouri residents need permits or not. The questions stem from CCW permits that are due for renewal and the new law and if they are even needed any longer. The sheriff provided the following information in order to answer those questions as simply as possible.

Missouri is now a Constitutional Carry State. This means that as long as a Missouri resident meets certain qualifications, they are legally allowed to carry a concealed weapon on their person without a permit. This allows them to carry that weapon almost anywhere (however schools, churches, government buildings, etc. are still prohibited).

"However, if you leave the state of Missouri and travel to another state and carry a weapon concealed under Missouri's Constitutional Carry, you will be subject to arrest for unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon -- a potential felony charge," said DeLay. "Even if that state is also a Constitutional Carry state. Missouri and other states Constitutional Carry do not reciprocate."

Those who wish to carry concealed in other states need to possess a valid Missouri five-year CCW permit. Most all states now reciprocate and accept Missouri's five-year permit.

Missouri also offers CCW permits that range from 10 years through a lifetime permit. However, these permits are not recognized by other states and are essentially useless in Missouri.

In short, if someone never plans to leave the state of Missouri, they probably don't need to obtain a CCW permit. However, those who plan on traveling outside the state of Missouri and wish to carry a concealed weapon on their person need to possess a valid Missouri five-year CCW permit. This permit also affords holders other protections that Missouri's Constitutional Carry law does not.

"I hope this answers most of [the citizens'] questions, but if you have others, please feel free to contact my office," said the sheriff. The sheriff's office phone number is 466-2131 and is available 24 hours a day.