Republicans in the Missouri House are pushing a bill to eliminate gun free zones at colleges and churches around the state.
The bill is sponsored by state Rep. Jered Taylor (R-Nixa).
The Kansas City Star reports that the bill passed the House Rules and Legislative Oversight Committee Wednesday by a vote of eight to three. The chairman of that committee, state Rep. Shawn Rhoads (R-West Plains), said, “The problem right now is our gun-free zones where people aren’t allowed to carry guns, and this is what this tries to defeat.”
Rhoads added, “If I know that I’m going to commit a crime on a college campus and I plan this out but I don’t know who’s there carrying a gun or not, I’m probably going to think twice. But if I know for a fact that no one on that campus is allowed to carry a gun, then I have a soft target, and I am able to do exactly what I want to do within there.”
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Paul Wagner, executive director of Missouri’s Council on Public Higher Education, spoke against the bill. While concealed carry proponents talked of enabling female college students to defend themselves, Wagner said “the instance of someone jumping out of a bush and attacking someone is not common.”
House Democrats also spoke up against the bill. State Rep. Deb Lavender (D-Kirkwood), said, “We call it the guns everywhere bill — schools, churches, bars, college campuses.”
The Hill reports that Missouri public colleges can currently allow students to carry concealed for self-defense, but none have chosen to do so. Taylor’s bill fixes that, in that it “outlaws colleges and universities from establishing ‘gun-free zones.’”