Missouri looks to pass bill allowing concealed carry weapons on campus

House Bill 575 passed the Missouri House of Representatives in early April and is now in the senate. The bill has an amendment sponsored by Rep. Jered Taylor allowing for concealed carry on college campuses in Missouri.

The Missouri House of Representatives passed a bill allowing for concealed carry weapons on college campuses on April 2.

House Bill 575 was sponsored by Dean Dohrman and the underlying bill is in regard to allowing institutes of higher education to appoint staff members or faculty as campus protection officers. MU currently already has the ability to do so.

Rep. Jered Taylor (R-Ozark) added an amendment to the bill with language to allow for concealed carry weapons on campuses.

HB 575 states that “No institution of higher education shall impose any contractual requirement or condition of employment upon any employee, faculty member, or student that generally prohibits or has the effect of generally prohibiting the lawful possession or carry of firearms by such persons.”

The amendment would make it to where MU could not prohibit CCW holders to carry concealed weapons on campus. Current MU policy prohibits it. Six republicans co-sponsored the bill. The final vote was 102-44.

“I think it’s important to be able to allow individuals on campuses to be able to protect themselves,” Taylor said. “You don’t lose your constitutional rights just because you step onto a college campus.”

Taylor has introduced language similar to the amendment for the past three years and plans on introducing it into the next session if it does not become law.

As of right now, universities have had the power to decide whether or not they will allow CCW on their campuses. Taylor is frustrated that they have not allowed it.

“We’ve left it up to them for the last 18 years and not one of them allows CCW on campuses,” Taylor said.

He pointed out that no college that currently allows for CCW has had any incidents from a CCW holder relating to violence or suicide attempts.

Opponents of the bill, such as House Democrats and advocacy groups, claim it will make campuses less safe.

“I appreciate the second amendment, but I do not believe having an unregulated amount guns on campus, in classrooms, in residence halls will make anyone any safer – in fact, I believe it sets up a very real possibility of making campus less safe for everyone,” Rep. Kip Kendrick (D-Columbia) said.

Kendrick believes that it should be the school’s choice to talk with campus safety officers and local law enforcement to decide what is best for that specific campus. He said that experts on the issue would know how to keep campuses safe more than people in the general assembly.

Kendrick also stated that local law enforcement, including MU Police Department, were opposed to having guns on campus partly due to the difficulty it would cause identifying who the bad guy with the gun was.

The bill is currently in the Missouri Senate and had a public hearing on April 18.

Edited by Ben Scott | bscott@themaneater.com

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