State Rep. Jered Taylor, R-Nixa, wants to bar the state, local governments and Missouri’s public colleges and universities from limiting the concealed carry of guns. A state House committee will consider his proposed changes today.
“Of all of the ones that have allowed concealed carry on college campus, not a single act of violence, or a threat of violence, or a suicide attempt by a single concealed carry weapon permit holder on one of those campuses has ever happened,” Taylor tells Missourinet. “We’ve seen 98% of mass shootings happen in gun-free zones. So, it just proves that just because you post a sign, just because we have it in statute, isn’t stopping anyone from coming into those locations with a gun. It’s actually doing the opposite effect. It’s not allowing an individual who is a law-abiding citizen to protect themselves and potentially protect other people if this happens in one of those locations.”
One argument being raised is the bill would make college campuses less safe.
Taylor points to sexual assaults on college campuses as another reason for the need for change.
“I saw one study that says one out of every six college students have either been raped or attempted to be raped sometime during their college experience,” says Taylor. “We should give these students the ability to protect themselves.”
Under his proposal, Taylor says citizens carrying concealed weapons would still have to have a permit to carry in the Missouri Capitol and on the state’s college campuses.
Taylor is also proposing to expand the number of locations, particularly private businesses like day care centers, casino, churches, and bars, where guns can be carried without a permit.
“In my opinion, it should be up to the private business owner whether or not they allow guns into their facilities or businesses,” says Taylor. “It shouldn’t be up to the government to make that decision for them.”
A non-partisan grassroots group of mothers demanding solutions to address the country’s culture of gun violence sees Taylor’s legislation much differently. Missouri Moms Demand Action organizer Kim Westerman of the St. Louis chapter says the proposal would force businesses that don’t want concealed guns on their property to take extra measures.
“This law would make it so everyone has to opt out,” says Westerman. “So, if you’re a bar that doesn’t want guns in your bar, you’d have to post a sign saying, ‘no weapons are allowed’”.
The Missouri House General Laws committee will hear the bill at 12 p.m. today at the state Capitol in Jefferson City. A large turnout is expected for the hearing – limiting testimony to three minutes per witness.