JEFFERSON CITY - With only weeks left in the legislative session, senators considered a House-passed bill that would nullify any federal attempt to limit gun ownership in Missouri.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Doug Funderburk, R-St. Peters, passed through the Missouri House earlier this month, and was debated by the Senate General Laws committee on Tuesday, April 15.
If passed, the bill would declare invalid any federal law that infringes on a Missourian's Second Amendment rights. It would also give school districts the option to designate specially trained teachers to carry concealed weapons on school grounds. Democratic opposition of the bill claims that more public opinion is needed to decide whether or not guns should be allowed in schools.
Democratic senators heavily debated the bill during the hearing, proposing a possible amendment that would require a public meeting before guns would be allowed on school grounds.
"Don't you think that a parent has a right to voice their opinion on such a large decision, whether their children are going to be exposed to someone carrying a six-shooter on their hip?" asked Sen. Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City, during the hearing.
Holsman suggested that school officers being trained in the use of non-lethal options, like pepper sprays, would be a much safer option for school boards to consider.
The amended House version of the bill removed a provision that made it a crime for a federal worker to infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of a Missouri citizen. Instead, it provides options to file suit against federal workers that infringe upon these rights. However, the Senate version of the bill would still criminalize federal workers for doing their jobs.
This key difference could be a deciding factor in whether or not the bill would be vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon. It certainly would not be the first time; a similar bill sponsored by Funderburk was vetoed by the governor in 2013.
The measure was approved by the committee.