More than 200 gun violence prevention advocates visited the Missouri Capitol today to urge members of the state legislature to oppose bills filed this session that would further relax Missouri’s gun regulations. Kristin Bowen with the group called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America says proposed changes would allow people to carry hidden, loaded handguns in places like Missouri schools, colleges, hospitals and daycare centers.

Photo courtesy of group’s Facebook page

“It’s very concerning. The public safety risk and the risk to students is what motivates me to be here today,” says Bowen.

The group includes women, men, concealed carry permits holders and those from the law enforcement and religious communities.

“Where the growth has happened in Moms [Demand Action for Gun Sense in America] has actually been in the rural or smaller communities. We have a group in Springfield. We have a group in Cape Girardeau. It’s not just the big cities. I think there’s a perception that this is an issue that’s really only relevant to urban people and it’s really not,” says Bowen.

State Rep. Andrew McDaniel (R-Deering) of southeast Missouri is proposing to allow those who can legally own a firearm or other weapon to carry one concealed into places other than:

*detention centers,
*airport security areas,
*places where they are prohibited by federal law, and
*private property that has signs forbidding such weapons.

In 2016, the Missouri legislature passed sweeping changes to Missouri’s gun regulations. The law allows those to carry concealed guns without requiring a permit and lets people who are guests in a home use deadly force to defend themselves in that home. It also allows lethal force to be used without retreating by a person who thinks a reasonable threat exists.

The legislation also allows Missourians found guilty of a domestic violence misdemeanor or who were the subject of a protection order to have concealed carry permits. Rep. Donna Lichtenegger (R- Cape Girardeau) has filed a bill this session that’s meant to fix the loophole.

Bowen, of Columbia, says membership has increased since that law passed. The group held a similar event at the Missouri Capitol last year with about 60 members showing up.