Residents from across the Show-Me State packed a Missouri Capitol hearing room in Jefferson City on Monday to hear testimony on concealed firearms legislation.
The House General Laws Committee heard testimony Monday for more than three hours on four gun-related bills.
About 24 volunteers from the group “Moms Demand Action” were in the room. Group members were wearing red shirts.
One of the main gun bills that was heard was State Rep. Nick Schroer’s (R-O’Fallon) bill that makes a business that posts signs prohibiting concealed firearms liable for injuries sustained by people on the premises of that business.
The O’Fallon Republican tells committee members he doesn’t believe HB 96 will pass this year, because of timing.
“The likelihood of this passing through this (General Laws) committee, the next committee and then getting to the (House) floor with the priorities that we have and the bills that are coming over from the Senate, you know, common sense would state that it’s probably not going to pass this year,” Schroer testifies.
The 2017 session ends May 12.
Schroer mentioned the deadly San Bernardino school shooting during Monday’s hearing.
“We’ve got another school shooting in California today,” Schroer told committee members. “I just read about just a second ago. So, these are the reasons why we’re filing these bills, it’s not for some special interests, it’s not for some monetary gain. It’s what we believe is going to keep Missourians safer, so I thank you for having this discussion with me.”
Schroer also says he wants to prevent an incident like Aurora, Colorado, and tells Missourinet he’s trying to preserve Second Amendment rights.
During the hearing, a vocal critic of the bill suggested that Republicans are contradicting themselves.
State Rep. Peter Merideth (D-St. Louis) opposes Rep. Schroer’s bill.
“I hear from folks on your (the Republican) side of the aisle all the time about how we let the private market decide things,” Merideth tells Schroer. “And that, this strikes me as a case where you’re trying to say …. to hell with the private market.”
The bill says that by posting signs prohibiting firearms, the business would assume a duty to defend its customers. Schroer tells committee members the bill’s aim is to keep Missourians safer.
“Moms Demand Action” testified against the bill, urging lawmakers to focus instead on protecting communities and to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.
Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry general counsel Brian Bunten also testified against Schroer’s bill, saying it creates a new cause of action against business owners who are following the law.
The Missouri Hotel and Lodging Association, the Missouri Railroad Association and the Kansas City Chiefs also testified against the bill.
State Rep. Jered Taylor (R-Nixa) says that 98 percent of mass shootings happen in gun-free zones.
Schroer’s House district includes O’Fallon, St. Peters, Wentzville and Lake St. Louis.