Columbia Public Schools weighs in on gun veto

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools spoke out Tuesday against carrying guns in schools.

On Monday KOMU 8 News reported the legislation would have allowed select teachers and administration to carry guns in schools in case of an armed intruder.

Columbia Public Schools Community Relations Director Michelle Baumstark said the school would decide against carrying guns.

"Our school board several months ago discussed whether or not we would allow our safety and security directors to carry and ultimately the board decided against that. We really felt like guns ought to be in the hands of police officers or those that are licensed to carry them."

Baumstark said some concerns lie in the amount of training and safety issue having a gun in the school would create, such as security.

"We want our teachers to be focused on what they need to be focused on, which is providing education in the classroom," she said.

Baumstark said the schools already have safety resource officers licensed police officers.

"That is their sole goal, is to serve in a safety capacity and to keep our school buildings safe and to be that resource for us. We feel like that is really the best option when it comes to having guns in our schools."

Missouri Republicans said Monday they are disappointed in the veto. Republicans said Senate Bill 656 was meant to increase safety for Missourians and increase school security options. 

KOMU 8 News contacted several other school districts Tuesday but no one returned our calls.