Columbia Missourian: Expansion of concealed weapons to campuses, public transportation fails in committee

by Shane Sanderson

JEFFERSON CITY — It’s still illegal to carry a concealed weapon on college campuses and public transportation in Missouri.

A legislative conference committee revamped a bill on Tuesday, dumping provisions to allow concealed carry on state campuses, buses and trains. The bipartisan group of legislators kept the portion that would let any legal gun owner carry a concealed weapon without a permit.

Sen. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, shook her head disapprovingly throughout the conference session. She said in a later interview that she opposed the bill, even after the changes.

Among the seven committee members, Schupp and Rep. Judy Morgan, D-Kansas City, actively resisted the expansion of concealed carry, while committee members Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, and Sen. Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, vocally supported it.

Onder and Munzlinger are among a bevy of lawmakers that proposed concealed carry legislation this session. The Senate passed the bill in February, and the House passed it last week with amendments.

Munzlinger’s chief of staff, Pat Thomas, said more language might be removed, but nothing would be added to the bill. She expects the committee to report to the legislature Wednesday.

Onder said he was disappointed by the removal of campus carry from the legislation. He did not rule out further action regarding concealed carry on public transit when he said, “You never know what’ll happen the last week of session.”

Campus carry became law in Tennessee on May 2. The following day, the governor of Georgia vetoed a bill that would have allowed campus carry.

Amendments that remain attached to the bill would also allow peace officers to conceal and carry firearms anywhere and create lifetime concealed carry permits.

The original bill, introduced by Munzlinger in December, grants active military service members an extension on their concealed carry permit renewal window.

The bill specifies that service members would have two months to renew a permit after returning to Missouri. Incapacitated soldiers would also have two months after they regain their health to renew a permit.

Munzlinger’s bill must return to both chambers for approval before it can reach the governor’s desk.

The legislative session ends Friday.

Supervising editor is Jeanne Abbott.

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