New gun bill could allow faculty staff to carry on campus

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COLUMBIA - Full-time employees at Missouri college campuses may be able to carry guns on campus if a bill is approved by the Missouri General Assembly.   

House lawmakers voted 101-28 Thursday in favor of the proposal that would allow employees to carry guns on college campuses in Missouri, with some exceptions. People could also carry concealed guns on buses and other forms of public transportation.

The bill also aims to cap fees for concealed carry applicants at $100 and would give members of the military whose grace period expires while they’re on active duty, additional time.

There would also be some limitations as to where the employees will be allowed to have their guns on public campuses, unless the institution consents. Guns would not be allowed for daycare workers or any location where an elementary or secondary school-sponsored activity is happening. Guns would also not be allowed at polling places or any patient care area, hospital or patient care office. NCAA events, events with more than 5,000 people or any ticketed even would not allow guns.

Debbie Dougherty, MU Communication Professor, said she comes from a family that has firearms, but does not support the bill.

"We were trained how to use firearms in a proper way," Dougherty said. "And we were also taught there are places you just don't bring a gun." 

"Schools would represent one of those places. I just can't imagine why anybody would think that's a good idea." 

Lael Keiser, MU Professor of Public Policy and Administration, shared a similar sentiment. 

"In my opinion, I would not want employees to have guns on campus," Keiser said. "It would not make me feel any safer, and if a situation arose where an employee needed to be removed from campus, it would be a lot harder to do so if they had a gun."

However, not all faculty feel the same. Back in September 2015, MU associate law professor Royce de R. Barondes filed a lawsuit against the university for prohibiting guns on campus. 

Barondes claims the university's ban on firearms violates his Constitutional rights. 

KOMU 8 News reached out to Barondes for comment on the bill being discussed by the Missouri House, but did not receive a response. 

One MU student told KOMU 8 News she would support employees having weapons. 

"Given all the things that have happened in the past few years with gun violence," Kelsey Walling said. "I feel like it would be a really good idea to have some extra protection."

Another student who declined a formal interview told KOMU 8 News he believes guns on campus should only be in the hands of law enforcement officers because he said he believes they are the only people properly trained to handle a situation that requried a gun. 

That opinion was shared by both Keiser and Dougherty.

KOMU 8 News viewers responded on KOMU's Facebook page with their opinions. 

James Kirk posted "As a retired military members I feel that every legal age citizen should carry a firearm. Those working in schools or on college campuses should be allowed to carry BUT they should enroll in yearly training courses to keep skills sharp and avoid negligent discharge."

His comment received more than 50 "likes."

Lynne Booth posted a different view writing, "More guns = more shooting, more deaths. Is this really how people want to live?"

Booth's post prompted a response from Mike Orbin who wrote, "You are showing your ignorance about firearms. If more guns means more deaths then please explain Virginian Tech. If someone on the Virginia Tech campus would have been armed casualties would have been much lower or non-existent."

KOMU 8 News also looked into 66 campus shootings since 2013. Most of the suspects in the shootings looked into were students or former students. In 24 shootings, a student was the shooter, and in five a former student was the suspect. 

24 of the shootings involved an shooter with no relation to the university or college. Often, the victim had no affiliation to the school as well. In 9 instances, the shooter was never found or it was unclear based on research whether the shooter was a student. 

In two of the events police were involved and shot the suspect, and in the two remaining instances a faculty member was the shooter.

If you look at the infographic below you can see where these shooting took place. Each of the shootings are color-coded by type of shooting; Student, Outsider, Unknown, Faculty member and Police.