Bill would allow for concealed carry weapons on public transportation

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JEFFERSON CITY – It is currently illegal to conceal and carry a weapon on public transportation in Missouri, but St. Sen. Bob Onder, R-St. Charles hopes to change that with a new bill.

If passed, the bill would let Missourians carry loaded firearms onto public transportation only if they have a legal concealed carry permit. 

It would also apply to people carrying non-functioning or unloaded firearms

Missouri passed its first concealed carry law in 2003 and expanded the law in 2016.

Onder said allowing people to have their concealed weapons on public transportation will reduce crime.

"It’s really putting doubt in the mind of the criminal that a victim would be able to defend him or herself," he said.

Chloe Maltagliati rides Columbia Public Transit buses to get to and from MU’s campus. She said she has mixed feelings about concealed carry.

“If they had the gun and it was a malicious reason I would definitely feel unsafe,” she said. “But if someone were to also have a gun on the bus and be able to protect you, then you are safe. So, it’s definitely a two-way street.”

Columbia transit and parking manager, Leah Christian, said if the bill passed, it wouldn’t have a huge impact on operations.

“We don’t have a process in place currently to monitor what folks are bringing onto our buses if it’s concealed,” she said.

Since she became manager three months ago, Christian said Columbia Transit hasn’t had any incidents with guns. 

“Safety is our number one biggest emphasis for all of our Columbia transit passengers and drivers,” Christian said. “We do have cameras in all of our buses and if there are ever incidents, we always have the ability to look back and see what happened.”

Christian said if the bill passes, she will have to prepare her staff for the change.

"We’re going to have to think about the best route that we can take to continue to ensure safety that we do now," she said. 

If passed, the bill would not apply to Amtrak trains in Missouri.