Missouri lawmakers expanded the potential for teachers to bring guns to schools and for residents to openly carry firearms, in a vote Thursday that capped a two-year effort by the Republican-led legislature to expand gun rights over the objection of the Democratic governor.
The new law will allow specially trained school employees to carry concealed guns on campuses. It also allows anyone with a concealed weapons permit to carry guns openly, even in cities or towns with bans against the open carrying of firearms. The age to obtain a concealed weapons permit also will drop from 21 to 19.
A more far-reaching measure that sought to nullify federal gun control laws had died in the final hours of the legislative session in May. Governor Jay Nixon had vetoed a similar bill last year that could have subjected federal officers to state criminal charges and lawsuits for attempting to enforce federal gun control laws.
The new regulations, which this time garnered the two-thirds majority needed to override Nixon’s veto, take effect in about a month.
Missouri school boards already have the power to allow employees with concealed gun permits to carry weapons on their campuses. The new law requires the state Department of Public Safety to establish training guidelines for schools wanting to designate a teacher or administrator as a “school protection officer” authorized to carry a concealed gun or self-defense spray.
“I think it’s important that we train those individuals if they are going to be carrying,” said state senator Will Kraus, a Republican from Lee’s Summit, who sponsored the bill.