Among the rights you might soon have when you turn 21 in Missouri: the right to apply for a conceal and carry permit.

Perhaps the major change made in the legislation that combines six bills is lowering the age to apply for a concealed weapon permit from the current 23 to 21. Perhaps, but there’s a lot contained in HCS/HB 294, 123, 125, 113, 271 & 215, including the right for legislators to carry concealed guns in the Capitol, an aspect Rep. Jill Schupp (D-Creve Coeur) latched onto, telling colleagues the bill doesn’t increase safety.

“Guns kill. That is their purpose,” Schupp told colleagues during House debate. “I don’t want them on the House floor with me. I don’t want them in the hands of 21-year-olds and I don’t want to support this legislation.”

Yet, Rep. Rick Brattin (R-Harrisonville) countered that legislators shouldn’t be barred from carrying during session.

“I was in the Marine Corps and I know we’re at a huge disadvantage. If somebody walks in with an AK47 and starts shooting rounds off into our chamber, I do feel comfortable knowing that I am able to protect myself,” Brattin stated during debate.

The bill actually only confirms the right of lawmakers to carry a concealed weapon. A right the sponsor, Rep. Jeanie Riddle (R-Mokane), emphasized to reporters that they already have. It also extends that right to staff members who have a conceal and carry permit. Riddle wouldn’t speculate as to how many members of the General Assembly carry concealed weapons. House Speaker Steven Tilley (R-Perryville) suspects “a significant portion” of the General Assembly carries concealed weapons.

The measure also prohibits any taxes from being raised on ammunition and weapons; a tactic supporters say is being tried elsewhere in a back-door effort to restrict gun rights.

The bill passed the House easily, on a 124-to-33 vote. The issue now moves to the Senate.

AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:60 MP3]