JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri House gave their stamp of approval to a bill allowing those with concealed carry permits to take a firearm onto college campuses.
The provision, which was a part of a large campus protection bill, was sent to the Senate in a 98-52 vote.
In its original form, HB 575, filed by Rep. Dean Dohrman, authorizes colleges and universities to designate faculty or staff members as campus protection officers. Amendments added during the perfection process included opt-outs for campus health care and limitations for on-campus living requirements.
Rep. Jered Taylor’s amendment allowing those with concealed carry permits to carry firearms on campus drew the most debate during perfection.
“You should be able to defend yourself,” said Taylor. “How dare we say they can’t protect themselves in these situations.”
He argued that guns can be a deterrent to those wishing to harm others on campus and that it will ultimately make campuses safer by eliminating “gun-free zones.”
Another supporter pointed to Kansas as an example of the success of firearms on campuses. The lawmaker noted that we Kansas enacted the law, assaults on college campuses decreased.
“If somebody tries to assault me, they’re in big trouble,” said Rep. Dottie Bailey. “I would just not take it and not defend myself.”
There was still pushback on the provision.
“We have to quit these superhero stories, that I have my gun and now I am untouchable,” said Rep. Wiley Price.
“Good guy with a gun is so often a myth,” said Rep. Peter Merideth.
Opponents argued that guns on campus will actually make them more dangerous and that students, parents, and employees do not want them there.
One lawmaker pointed out that the bill removes the requirement for private school officials to okay firearms on campuses. The representative said that allows anyone to bring a firearm to a private school at any time.
Other provisions in the bill include a prohibition on college from requiring on campus house unless for first-time freshmen during their first year, allowing students who show proof of health insurance coverage to be excused from paying health care fees imposed by a public institute of higher education, and any individual seeking designation as a campus protection officer must submit a certificate of completion from a campus protection officer training program approved by the Department of Public Safety.
Alisha Shurr was a reporter for The Missouri Times and The Missouri Times Magazine. She joined The Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University.