The Senate Judiciary Committee has heard testimony on HB 668 – legislation that would expand the castle doctrine regarding the carrying of guns and the rights of those bearing arms. Current law allows a citizen to use a gun to protect his or her home and property against intruders. The proposed change would extend the doctrine to private property that is leased. It would also lower the minimum age requirement for obtaining a concealed carry endorsement from 23 to 21 years of age.

Another key component of the legislation is one that would allow for the possession and carrying of firearms on college and university campuses. Among those testifying in favor of the legislation was Isaiah Kellogg, a PhD candidate at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla.

"This is very important to me to have the ability to protect myself," Kellogg testified. "I’ve been carrying a gun, every day, since I got my license in 2005, and every day I’ve been locking my gun in my car instead of taking it on campus."

Mark Buckner, a member of the Board of Directors of , told the panel he supports the right to protect oneself in more places.

"The castle doctrine portions of this legislation are of particular interest to us," testified Buckner. "Because of the fact that currently the castle doctrine allows protection of an individual in their home and in their automobile, but denies them that same protection when they, let’s say, on the sidewalk between the two."

The hearing ended with no vote taken, and supporters are aware that with time running out in the session, there is little chance of the legislation passing this year. If the bill is voted out of committee and sent to the floor, it will undoubtedly face opposition in the form of filibusters. The session comes to a close at 6 pm Friday.

Download/Listen: Steve Walsh report (:60 MP3)