October 15, 2018

Missouri Legislature debates gun possession

A Pro-Gun Rally which took place last April in the Missouri State Capitol fueled debate on Missourians possession of guns. The Missouri House discussed the matter during a floor meeting in April, where two bills were proposed but never traveled out of the House.

Missouri is one of 22 states that ban guns on college campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But legislators and college students across Missouri are debating the merits of Missouri’s policy on guns on campus.

Rep. Mike Kelley (R) proposed House Bill 70 during the 97th general assembly. House Bill 70 would allow teachers and/or school administrators to carry a firearm on higher education institutions such as Webster University, as well as elementary or secondary schools if the conceal-carrier has a valid endorsement or permit.

In April, Kelley gave an update and said the bill would not be traveling out of the House for the 97th session. The main goal of the bill was to get legislatures and schools talking. No future hearings have been scheduled.

Liza Schultheis, Webster University Public Safety Communications Specialist, believes that if students and faculty have gone through the proper training then they are capable of carrying a firearm and should be allowed to carry on campus.

“A lot of people do not realize that the school boards already have the authorizations to do this (conceal-carry),” Kelley said.

Rep. Jeanne Kirkton (D) said she supports conceal-carry licenses, but with limitations. She referred to a law in Iowa that states that if law enforcement believes you have a good reason to carry a gun, you can carry a gun.

“Where is the dividing line from I’m a law-abiding citizen?” Kirkton said. “It just takes a second to overstep that line.”

Colorado, Utah, Mississippi, Oregon and Wisconsin are the only states that allow firearms on college campuses.

Other Missouri House Bill Being Considered

House Bill 170 specifies that a federal official may not enforce a federal firearm law when the firearm is manufactured and remains in the state of Missouri. The bill is currently in House for a third reading. If passed, the bill would also allow Missouri citizens to conceal and carry as early as age 19.

Olivia Bacott and Romare Haller contributed to this article.

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