In yet another victory by the gun reform group, Moms Demand Action Against Violence, over the National Rifle Association (NRA), Missouri Governor Jay Nixon vetoed a "guns-in-schools" bill, reported the Kansas City Star today. Senate Bill 656 (read the entire bill) was strongly supported by the NRA and is in line with the NRA answer to increasing safety in schools by arming teachers. It is also a bill that feeds into the pro-gun culture in the state. However, this bill not only would have armed teachers, but forced teenagers to carry loaded firearms in public.
Nixon’s veto also means the state for now can’t tell cities they must allow people to openly carry firearms around. Some municipalities in the state have barred that absurd practice, reported the Kansas City Star.
However, the Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America applied great pressure on Gov. Nixon and applauded his veto on what they called a "dangerous guns-in-schools bill (SB 656) that would have forced Missouri cities to allow teenagers to carry loaded firearms in public, would have allowed school districts to arm teachers, and would have made it impossible for parents to find out if someone is carrying a concealed firearm in their children’s classrooms."
The group acknowledged that the bill could be reconsidered during the legislature’s veto session this fall. Gov. Nixon said in a statement, "Arming teachers will not make our schools safer. I have supported and will continue to support the use of duly authorized law enforcement officers employed as school resource officers, but I cannot condone putting firearms in the hands of educators who should be focused on teaching our kids." The Missouri Chapter of Moms Demand Action organized phone calls into the Governor’s office and helping to generate nearly 3,000 petition signatures urging Governor Nixon to veto, moms traveled to Jefferson City to testify against arming teachers and allowing teenagers to carry concealed, loaded weapons in public.
"As Missouri moms and dads who want to know our kids will be safe at school, we applaud Governor Nixon’s veto of this dangerous legislation — but we also know this fight isn’t over," said Melissa Brooks of the Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action. "We call on our legislators to reject this dangerous bill because it never should have passed in the first place. Missourians know that asking a teacher to become a sharpshooter won’t prevent another tragedy like Newtown, and we believe that parents have the right to know if there is going to be a gun in our kids’ classrooms."
The veto of the guns-in-schools bill adds to the positive public safety steps taken in Missouri by Moms Demand Action this session, as a result of grassroots opposition organized by the Missouri Chapter. In May, a nullification bill that would allow domestic abusers to sue police officers for enforcing federal gun laws (HB 1439) was successfully filibustered in the final moments of the Senate session.
Senate Bill 656 also includes the following important pro-gun provisions to the NRA, which included allowing the open carrying of firearms in all localities with a carry permit.
The bill also bans the requirement of health care professionals to inquire about a patient’s ownership or possession of firearms and prohibits the documentation of such information into a database. It also reduces the age from 21 to 19 for those wishing to apply for a concealed carry permit. Allows someone to qualify for a concealed carry permit using a revolver or semi-automatic pistol, rather than having to qualify with each firearm.
The bill also requires one instructor for every forty people for the classroom portion of a firearms safety training course. Current law allows only forty people per classroom regardless of the number of instructors present.
Specifies that no public housing authority shall prohibit a lessee or a member of the lessee’s immediate household or guest from personally possessing firearms within an individual residence, common areas, or from carrying or transporting firearms to and from such residence in a manner allowed by law.