JEFFERSON CITY - Prospective gun owners in Missouri will be able to apply for conceal-and-carry permits at an earlier age after a bill was passed in both the House and Senate. The bill lowers the age to apply for a conceal-and-carry permit from 21 to 19. It also prohibits cities from banning open carry laws and allows teachers and school administrators acting as school protection officers to carry firearms.
Sen. Will Kraus, R-Jackson County, sponsored the bill. During the Sept. 10 veto session, Kraus said the purpose of the bill was to protect the rights of gun owners who have earned the open-carry privilege. According to Sen. Jolie Justus, D-Jackson County, the open-carry option is detrimental to Kansas City.
"We have a culture where, unfortunately, for whatever reason, people are killing people with guns," Justus said. "It just sends a message that my city doesn't want."
Other concerns regarding the bill incuded lowering the age needed to obtain conceal-carry permits. Justus said younger minds haven't fully developed and don't have the same decision-making capabilities as young minds. According to Kraus, a young person's ability to serve their country in combat and vote earns them the right to carry firearms.
The possibility of guns on school campuses also became an issue of concern on the Senate floor. Justus said she feared the potential risk involved with arming school teachers and administrators.
The bill would require teachers and other administrators to receive training before being allowed on school property with firearms.
"If you do identify school protection officers, they have to go through POST training," Kraus said. "Once again, this doesn't mandate schools doing this, it's an option."
According to the Department of Public Safety, Peace Officer Standards and Training, or POST, regulates the licensing of peace officers.
Justus said she was not convinced these provisions addressed the issue at hand.
"More guns cannot possibly help this situation, in my belief," Justus said.
The bill was originally vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon in July 2014. It passed in the Senate on a straight party-line vote of 23-8, but passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 117-39.
The bill will become law 30 days after the override vote.