Missouri House green lights bill allowing guns on college campuses
JEFFERSON CITY – A last-minute addition to a House gun bill is upsetting some gun control advocates. Language on elementary and secondary schools was added to the bill, which would allow concealed carry on college campuses. The House approved it on Tuesday night.
Before that vote, Rep. Jered Taylor, R-Nixa, added an amendment with a clause saying guns could not be carried in public elementary or secondary schools. That clause could change the way guns are handled in private schools.
“The only thing it changes is it allows private elementary and secondary schools to allow or not allow guns on campus,” Taylor said.
Catey Terry of Moms Demand Action said she feels the addition of the last-minute amendment was undemocratic and unfair.
“We were deeply disappointed with Rep. Taylor tacking on an amendment to an already dangerous bill late in the evening,” Terry said. “These elected representatives represent the people of Missouri and taking on an amendment late at night doesn’t seem like it is in the best interest of anyone.”
Since the bill was introduced, Moms Demand Action has been critical of it. The group testified against it during the public hearing.
“We don’t believe in what the amendment does in allowing concealed carry on college campuses,” Terry said. “It is just a fallacy that more guns make people safer. It is just not true, and we have the research to prove it.”
Terry said the issue is personal for her because both she and her husband work on college campuses.
“We are fighting for our safety,” she said. “At Mizzou, for examples, there are bars on many of the streets there are campus buildings. It is just not a safe environment, no way, no how.”
Terry said she worried the new laws could lead to more incidents like the altercation between two Senate staff members at a Jefferson City bar last month.
“That is what we are fighting against, that is not safe,” Terry said. “That gun could have gone off and hurt an innocent bystander. Guns make for dangerous situations.”
Taylor said he hopes the bill will have as positive of an impact on Missouri as a similar bill did in Kansas in 2014. Taylor said since then, violent crime on college campuses there has decreased 50 percent.
It was part of a separate bill that would allow some faculty and staff to be designated as campus security officers.
Taylor said the overall bill is necessary because of the dangers students and staff face on college campuses.
‘When we are seeing violent assaults, rapes and sexual assaults increase on college campuses, I want to be able to give people an ability to defend themselves if that situation were to arise,” he said.