Brenda Keltner was proprietor of The Willard Barber Shop from 2005 until her retirement on Saturday, March 3, 2018.
Brenda Keltner, a.k.a. "Brenda the Barber," is a beekeeper and raises cattle--but is also known in Willard, Missouri, as an unabashed advocate of the 2nd Amendment and the right to carry concealed firearms.
KSMU’S Mike Smith visited Keltner in her barbershop the day before her retirement for the KSMU Sense of Community Series on Firearms in the Ozarks.
“I’ve got guys that feel free about coming in. I keep a sign on the door that I recognize Conceal Carry,” said Keltner.
“I have no problems with them coming in carrying a gun. Everybody in this town knows that I carry, and I don’t think it has offended anybody,” she said.
She said she was concerned about being without protection.
"So when I had the opportunity, I got to talking with a customer, and we bartered haircuts and shaves for some gun training. And I feel pretty confident. I pray I never have to use a gun, but I also know if I’m ever in that position, I don’t think I’ll hesitate," Keltner said.
She says the training is key to wearing a concealed firearm throughout the day.
"So now, my focus can be identifying the target and protecting myself the best of my ability, not, 'What if the Gun Jams?' 'Have I got It Loaded Right?' What Are The Laws On This?'"
"I know what the laws are. I know what my rights are," said Keltner, adding that she learned those things from her Conceal and Carry class.
“The reality of it is: with the CCW Classes and the CCW Permit, that’s just the honest people being honest,” says Corporal James Craigmyle of the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.
Craigmyle is a K-9 Instructor with the department and its public relations coordinator.
“They essentially did away with the Conceal Carry Law back in October, 2016. The new law went into effect January 1, 2017, and now, as long as you don’t have a felony, you can possess legally a firearm and have it concealed upon your person. So there is no more having to go through a 40 hour class, and then get your CCW Permit from the county you live in,” Craigmyle said.
Nevertheless, says Corporal Carigmyle, Conceal Carry classes are beneficial, and the Greene County Sheriff’s Office encourages acquiring the permit.
“It’s beneficial for many reasons. For one, it’s going to teach you when you can and can’t use your weapon. You got to know when you can and can’t pull your gun on somebody; there are so many scenarios out there," he said.
"It’s going to teach you Castle Doctrine; it’s going to teach you how to carry on your person, or if you’re a female, how to carry in a purse. They’re going to teach you how to load, shoot, and maintain your gun, and how to properly secure it in your home or vehicle," he said.
He says if someone is going to carry a concealed gun, the department suggests they do go through the class, if not for anything else other than to know the laws and how to protect themselves.
Craigmyle says another reason for obtaining or renewing a Conceal Carry Permit in Missouri is to limit the potential liability of carrying a concealed firearm across state lines.
“We have a new website, www.greenecountymo.gov/sheriff/, and if a person will look, they will see the Conceal Carry Reciprocity state which provide the recognition of conceal weapons permits from every state that issues them. They differ from state to state, and they can have different restrictions and definitions. The 5 year Missouri Conceal Carry permit with Reciprocity is valid in 37 states, but there are 13 states which do not recognize Missouri’s Conceal Carry permit.”
Meanwhile, Brenda (the Barber) Keltner, in her retirement, is now Brenda the Beekeeper, but she doesn’t plan to let her guard down, even one little bit.
“I have honey bees, and I have calves, and yes, I pack on my property. We are so privileged to live in a country where we can protect ourselves, and I plan to stay protected,” Keltner said.