Missouri State Capitol Building. ALEC photo credit.​

 

A proposed law would allow designated individuals to carry a concealed weapon at Missouri colleges and universities.

House Bill 575, sponsored by Missouri Representative Dean Dohrman (R-51, La Monte) would allow institutions of higher education to designate one or more faculty or staff members as “campus protection officers.” The bill has already cleared the House and was sent by the Missouri Senate to the Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee, on Tuesday, April 9, 2019.

If approved, HB 575 stipulates that any faculty or staff member seeking designation as a campus protection officer, and who wishes to carry a gun on campus, must submit a certificate of completion from a campus protection officer training program, approved by the Department of Public Safety. A campus protection officer could then be authorized to carry concealed firearms on campus, after submitting proof that he or she has a valid concealed carry endorsement or permit.

This bill also makes changes to the list of locations an individual can carry a concealed firearm within this state, removing institutions of higher education from the list of locations an individual with a concealed carry permit can carry a concealed firearm within the state to include institutions of higher education. It does, however, allow public institutions of higher learning to create their own regulations about who may possess a firearm on campus.

Advocates of the bill say this would make campuses safer by doing away with gun-free zones, and it would allow people the right to defend themselves.

Opponents say it could cause more shootings on college campuses. “Talk to the teachers and professors in the colleges: they don’t want guns on their campus,” Rep. Peter Merideth (D-80, St. Louis) said.

This bill would prohibit the state, political subdivisions, and public institutions of higher learning from imposing any policies or contractual requirements that would have the effect of prohibiting employees or students from the carrying of concealed firearms into locations where concealed carry is not otherwise prohibited by law.

Other provisions of the bill include:

Prohibit any public institution of higher education in Missouri from requiring students to live in campus housing except for first-time freshmen.
Creates a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Studies Enhancement scholarship for students enrolled in a STEM studies enhancement program who meet the eligibility requirements stated in the bill.
Any student who shows proof of existing health insurance coverage to a public institution of higher education at any time during the student’s enrollment at the institution shall be excused from the payment of any fees, costs, or related expenses imposed by the public institution of higher education for the provision of health care or health insurance.

This bill is similar to HB 258, HB 435, HB 1093 (2019) and HCS HB 1942 (2018).

Bill to Nullify Mandated Gun Free Zones Stalled in Committee

A bill that would make sweeping changes to locations where individual can carry a concealed firearm within Missouri has been stalled in the General Laws Committee by Chairman Dean Plocher (R-89, St. Louis). House Bill 258 is sponsored by Missouri Representative Jered Taylor (R-139, Republic).

HB 258 would make changes to the list of locations an individual can carry a concealed firearm within Missouri and the list of locations an individual with a concealed carry permit can carry a concealed firearm within the state. These locations include daycares, churches, voting precincts, certain types of hospitals and restaurants, sports arenas with more than 5,000 seats and publicly owned bars.

“So often churches are the target of mass shooting attacks,” Missouri Firearms Coalition Policy Advisor Aaron Dorr said. “The idea that a rational law-abiding citizen gun owner is going to go crazy and begin shooting is wrong. When I go to a restaurant with my family, I want to be able to defend them. What happens is guns are deemed off-limits to good guys in these locations, but not for bad guys, because the bad guys are going to carry a gun, whether or not it is legal. That is the reality of this situation.”

If approved, HB 258 would also prohibit the state, political subdivisions, and public institutions of higher learning (colleges and universities) from imposing any policies or contractual requirements that would have the effect of prohibiting employees or students from the carrying of concealed firearms into locations where concealed carry is not otherwise prohibited by law.

It is illegal to carry a firearm on campus, even with a permit. A statement made by Rep. Jered Taylor (R-139, Republic) solidified the vote to move the bill to committee. “One in four women are assaulted on college campuses,” Jared said. “Fifteen percent are raped on campus. We have got to give them a means to fight back with conceal and carry.”

HB 258 has 21 republican house sponsors. The sponsors include: Representatives Jered Taylor, Ben Baker, Bryan Spencer, Jason Chipman, Phil Christofanelli, Hardy Billington, Jeff Shawan, Chris Dinkins, Suzie Pollock, Cheri Toalson-Reisch, Glen Kolkmeyer, Dirk Deaton, Mike McGirl, Brad Hudson, John Simmons, Jeff Porter, Jack Bondon, Dave Muntzel, Chuck Basye, Tony Lovasco, Ron Hicks and Andrew McDaniel. This bill is similar to HB 1936 (2018) and HB 630 (2017).

No changes have been made to the penalties for carrying a concealed firearm in locations prohibited under these sections.

Missouri Firearms Coalition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQewEU7_9n0

By Janet Dabbs | Lake Expo